Friday, August 26, 2011

What, My Lai?

I can hardly believe it's been 40 years since this magazine issue came out, although it's been some 43 years since the My Lai Massacre itself. Those of you too young to have any idea what that was about should really Wiki it, to get a perspective on comparatively recent history.

This NatLamp cover by Kelly Freas, after his great run on Mad magazine, is brilliant for its Alfred E. Neumanesque caricature of William Calley. Yet it belies the horrific My Lai backstory.

My experience in the army, shortly after this time, gave me some perspective on how such a crime could occur. It was a very bad time to be a soldier, as if there is ever really a good time.


Daniel [] said...

This cover was offensive, but not gratuitously so. Sometimes offense is exactly what is needed.

Some years ago, I listened to interviews of soldiers who'd been involved in the Allied intervention begun in Russian during the Great War, in an attempt to aid the anti-German White Russians. One of the stories sounded an awful lot like the indiscriminate killing of half-a-century later.

Perhaps war is ever thus.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Daniel, as you well know, it was the National Lampoon's mission to be offensive—in every direction, with no holds barred, no quarter given.

Not only were they good at being offensive, they were brilliantly offensive.

mike weber/fairportfan said...

I'll point out that Kelly's run on MAD ended in 1962.

He once said he tried to avoid overtly political art, and i reminded him of this one, and he said "Oh, that one was just too god to pass up."