Jared Kushner and Alfred E. Newman
There are good reasons that there is a picture here of real estate magnate and key presidential advisor Jared Kushner. Mr. Kushner owns the PUCK building, (the home, on the corner, of PUCK magazine for the better part of its 1877-1917 lifetime) and he and his wife Ivanka made part of this building their home as well.
Alfred E. Newman was the figurative representation of MAD magazine, an intentionally absurdist and nihilistic version of its spiritual father and nearby neighbor. PUCK was pictured in the form of a nearly naked child, as a sculpture on the front of its building. In the place of PUCK’s Shakespearean, exasperated, ”What Fools These Mortals Be”, is a clueless question, perfect for its fatally complacent and self-absorbed time, “What, Me Worry?”.
Born within the womb of MAD, on Spring Street and Lafayette, in 1952, was another infinitely rude, hilarious, and confrontational publication, THE REALIST. Its mascot was a sad shmoe, and its nerve and relentless search for the truth helped mightily in the birthing of a host of art and truth-rich publications across the country in the 1960s and 70s known as the “Underground Press”.
All these publications preached a deep distrust of authority and its pretensions, worked to free us from superstitions and mythologies, used humor and artistry to help us understand the world as it is and as it might be and helped us navigate the currents running through it. We have long depended upon these mediums to clear our visions and give us the courage we will need to survive our current onslaughts and their value can not be overestimated.