The New York Times today has published a pretty succinct summing up by Jake Tapper of the history of National Lampoon—how it started, where it’s been and where it is now. A sad but true story. (I admit to being one of those fortysomethings mentioned in the article who is rather dismayed at what it’s become.) Read it before it gets moved to the NYT pay-per-view archive. (Thanks to Joe and everyone else for bringing this to my attention.)
Update: Or it may be a sad but not so true story. Read what Matty Simmons has to say about the article.
Further Update: It should be noted that there are some factual errors in Mr. Simmons’ letter, such as the the part about Hendra and Kelly not being among the contributors to early issues (which would be true only if you count the first three as early issues). So, a sad but (as far as I know) true story which some people take issue with. Sometimes I wonder if this site is worth the trouble…
And a Clarification: When I called the NYT article “A sad but true story” above, I was not commenting one way or the other about the factual accuracy of the story (heck, a lot of it was news to me), but rather on the main point of it—that National Lampoon isn’t what it once was.
I have no doubt the NYT did their homework, but I also know that peoples’ memories are not the most reliable things. I only know what I read, and much of what I have read about National Lampoon has turned out later not to be perfectly accurate. I was not there, except as a reader of the magazine. I’m just this guy, you know? In any case, I don’t want my site to turn into a forum for debate about the article. Have a nice day.