The January 1961 cover for Mad Magazine

Mad About Nixon

No other personality appeared more often on the cover of Mad during the first fifty years of the satirical magazine’s life.
Close-up of a Man's smiling mouth

The Laugh Track: Loathe It or Love It

The use of a laugh track began with radio, and was taken up by the new medium of television in 1950. Both viewers and critics have loathed it ever since.
Parody English heavy metal band, Spinal Tap

The Mockumentary: A Very Real History

What's the appeal of humor masquerading as seriousness? An entire movie genre stands ready to shed light on that question.
Silhouette of office lady using smartphone in city

Fake News: A Media Literacy Reading List

Compiled by graduate students in a 2016 course on “Activism and Digital Culture,” at University of Southern California.
Mexican film star Raquel Torres, circa 1930

La Pelona: The Hispanic-American Flapper

Flapperismo was no more appreciated by Hispanic guardians of traditional femininity than it was by Anglo-American ones.
Two women speaking beside a water cooler in an office

Streaming Television Might Just Bring Us Together After All

A look at TV watching as a social activity, from the "water cooler" network shows of yore to today's "second screen" live-tweets.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Sor Juana, Founding Mother of Mexican Literature

How a 17th-century nun wrote poetry, dramas, and comedies that took on the inequities and double standards women faced in society.
PG Wodehouse cover

P.G. Wodehouse, Great American Humorist?

Should P.G. Wodehouse, creator of the ditzy Wooster and inimitable Jeeves, be considered an American humorist as well as a master of British farce?

Four Hard Truths about Fake News

Skeptical, self-aware interaction with digital data is the critical foundation upon which democracy may be maintained, explains media scholar Alexandra Juhasz.
A mother and daughter sitting in the living room together.

The One Thing Parents Really Need

The prologue of Catherine Newman’s new parenting memoir Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years, evocatively called ...