Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Read my blog, or I’ll shoot this dog

My younger brother sent me an e-mail a week or so ago telling me I was “famous” in the north Kansas City bike scene. A rider there had picked up the new Dirt Rag and saw my Pugsley photo in “The Rider’s Eye,” recognized the last name and then posted a copy on their local forum. Now everyone there knows I'm Matt's bro. Yeah, baby! Fame!

I finally found a copy on the newsstand in Anchorage, so I read it today at lunchtime and was annoyed by a couple of letters to the editor. It seems someone is always whining about some picture in a magazine.

In bike mags, it’s usually along the lines of, “You showed someone riding without a helmet!” or “That picture of a woman in shorts is degrading to women.”

The newest whiners complained about this recent subscription ad: “Subscribe, or we shoot the dog.” This is a joke, folks. It’s funny. And not just because I like seeing canines portrayed as hostages (and I do). It’s funny because of its history. It has comedic roots. It pays homage to what came before it.

I was 10 years old and doing menial jobs in my father’s drugstore when National Lampoon published the historic cover showing a dog with a gun to its head, and text telling readers to buy the magazine or the dog would get killed. This was a parody. Nobody at the Lampoon intended to cap Rover, and they didn’t expect anyone with half a brain to think they would. (And they were irreverent enough that they didn’t really want their magazine to be read by anyone too stupid to understand.)

The cover was funny, it jumped off the newsstand and it got attention. I still remember standing there in Dad’s store, staring at the cover and laughing at the joke. It has been copied by many magazines in the 35 years since it first appeared, and probably every one of them endured complaints, with the possible exception of Texas Monthly, which ran this great cover last year and explained it in an editor’s note at the front of the magazine.

Buy this magazine or Dick Cheney will shoot you in the face? Now that’s funny shit! It’s probably the all-time best knock-off cover inspired by National Lampoon’s original from 1973.

Sadly, not all Dirt Rag readers are as hip as the editors would like them to be. One guy called it “an incredibly insensitive ad.”

The next letter writer went even further, blasting the magazine for ... (read this twice, because it’s really good) ... “threatening to kill an animal over an inconceivably minor financial transaction.”

Who would write that? Ned Flanders?

Dirt Rag’s editors replied with a note saying the joke isn’t funny anymore. Screw that. They should run the ad again in their next issue.

Stand up for humor with an edge, Dirt Rag. Don’t surrender to the same patsies who think Wile E. Coyote turns kids into serial killers.


Grill Meister said...

Dude! The cover of the National Lampoon (NL) brought back some long lost memories.

I can remember the first time seeing a NL issue on the newstand at a Mom & Pop grocery on Muldoon. I was 19 then and went to buy some comics, Mad Magazine, and some snacks to spend a rainy Saturday reading and eating junk food. That's when I spotted the NL, thumbed through it and decided it was time graduate from Mad to NL. Some of the funniest stuff I've ever read was by Michael O'Donoghue in NL.

I picked up the "kill the dog" issue while I was in the Army stationed in N.J. I can remember many times laying on my bunk in the barracks and just splitting a gut and always have guys coming up to me and asking what the hell I was reading.

Anonymous said...

Nice bit of synchronicity, despite being in vastly different time zones we both include:

i. bicycles
ii. dogs in our blog content.

Great minds often think alike, small ones seldom do.


Unknown said...

The dog in NL even looks scared. The DirtRag dog doesn't even realize it has a a gun pointed at him, could be becasue he has the IQ of some of the readers.....?

Bujiatang said...

I bet its because they didn't have a gun or a dog, and just put two stock photos together.

Bujiatang said...

crap! I missed the apostrophe!

Crush the Commonwealth said...

Thanks for the support! And to be clear there was no Photoshop going on with that photo, and yes the dog(who is a she) is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she doesn't bite my children and refrains from reliving herself in the house.

Best Regards

Eric McKeegan

Anonymous said...

Actually, I believe that there may be a Constitutional Amendment being drafted right now to ban all public attempts at humor, in order to avoid offending anyone, especially Muslims. As we all know, making fun of anyone is just irresponsible, as anyone who feels upset or insulted is almost certain to become violent. When humor is outlawed, only outlaws will have a sense of humor. Val

Unknown said...

OMG did you hear me laughing from the next office? That was funny!

Jeff Moser said...

I noticed your photo within the first minute of reading the issue. Congratulations. Again!

I also saw the complaints against the dog ad. Ridiculous! With over 6 billion people on the planet though, I guess it's hard not offend someone. I say continue with the dog ads.

Having said that, I would have been deeply offended if they would've run a chimpanzee in that ad. Like that little chimp, "The Bear", with his cute little hat and funny t-shirt. That would've been just too much to take!

Tim said...

Val just gave me an idea: The next ad should say, "Subscribe, or we'll shoot this dog, Mohammed."

lemmiwinks said...

Holy shit the cover of Texas Monthly made me laugh!

Michelle said...

I see that your recumbent stalkers still haven't been able to put a stick through your spokes as you ride along, so why not make life more exciting by pissing off other "genre's"? Maybe they will all unite to create an international GET TIM group.

I laughed so hard I snorted.

I love Dirt Rag and tape a lot of the subscription cards to the wall of my bike shop because I like the art and/or smarmyiness.