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Magazines and Newspapers, U.S.

  • By: David E. E. Sloane
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

U.S. humor magazines have tracked American political and cultural history since 1765, when The (Philadelphia) Bee, which lasted for three issues, scourged the colonial governor of Pennsylvania. Federal, Civil War, industrial, jazz age, wartime/postwar, and contemporary periods of humor magazines can be differentiated in literary style, topical matter, and, notably, in graphics and visual formatting. The orientation toward social satire, economic critique, and cultural and literary burlesque has been consistent. As of 2013, the humor magazine as a physical artifact is in decline, although MAD magazine continues its half-century-plus run, but online avatars seem vibrant enough to sustain accompanying print versions, including The Onion and Humor Times. This entry explores the various styles of humor periodicals throughout U.S. history and examines their future outlook.

Federal Era

The ...

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