Mad #425 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Dumbest People 2002 - January 2003

With inexpensive and generally awful reality shows dominating the airwaves, and the incompetent Bush administration ruling the country, the Mad editors had no problem creating a dumbest 20 list.  The year 2002 was indeed ugly and filled with dumbness.  Holding the list down to twenty was certainly the biggest problem for the editors.  It is interesting to note how those dummies have fared in the past dozen years.

1.  Martha Stewart went to prison for five months in 2004-2005 for insider stock trading.  Meanwhile, hundreds of bankers and Wall-Street mavens were engaging in risky financial activities that almost crashed the world's economy by the end of the Bush administration in 2008.  What Martha did was certainly dumb but she did not belong in prison.  After her months of hard time, Martha went back to her potpourri empire.

2.  The INS issued student visas to Al Qaeda suicide-terrorists after they had died in those airplane crashes.  That was dumb.  Huge government bureaucracies do such things almost every day.  The INS is now part of an even larger bureaucracy - Homeland Security.  This is the U.S. government version of failing upwards.

3.  Mike Tyson retired from professional boxing in 2006.  Tyson won millions of dollars and lost it all with a really dysfunctional lifestyle.  He is a high school drop-out.  Go figure.  Since retiring from punching people, Tyson has appeared in over twenty movies and television series.  He is a really bad actor and he has a large face tattoo.  It pays to be dumb and famous.

4.  Anna Nicole Smith continued her downward spiral and died of a drug overdose in 2007.  She was also a high school drop-out.  Her real name was Vickie Lynn Hogan.  Did the world really need another Smith?

5.  Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol in 2002.  Since then she has become an extremely-popular recording star while American Idol continues to be the most popular television show in human history in spite of the fact that it is really just a glitzy Ted Mack's Amateur Hour.  I have never heard of Justin Guarini.  He is a loser.

6.  Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) and Ariel Sharon (1928-2014) are dead.  Palestinians and Israelis will continue to hate everything about each other until global warming causes all of their lands to be one hundred feet under water.  Most of them are not sure why this hatred exists.  I try not to spend much time thinking about this endless hatred because it makes my brain hurt.  Mad writer Jeff Kruse could write this story every year until he stops writing and it would always be true and dumb.

7.  Ken Lay (1942-2006) is probably dead and Dick Cheney (1941-????) is probably alive.  Both are partially responsible for some really terrible energy-related decisions during the twenty-noughts.  Cheney thinks to this day that torture is OK as long as he is not the one being tortured.  His daughter Liz is also a selfish jerk.

8.  Some judges cheated during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Nobody remembers this.

9.  Condoleeza (Italian for "sweetness" in a musical sense) Rice is the erstwhile piano player and amateur golfer who was totally unqualified to hold any national executive position, especially "National Security Advisor".  The lack of advising action by Ms. Rice was partially responsible for the murder and torture of thousands of innocent Iraqis.  But who am I to quibble about the blatant disregard for international law?  On the positive side, the never-married Ms. Rice will never procreate any little national security advisors.  Tom Ridge is on the board of directors of The Home Depot.  Good place for him.

10. Some Catholic priests are perverts.  What else is new?

11. Professional baseball had some growing pains at the turn of the millennium regarding labor unrest and the widespread use of performance-enhancing-drugs.  But we still paid to watch this children's game and we created more and more multi-millionaires who play the game and sell the television rights to huge cable companies.  The masses must be entertained.  I know that this is the year that the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the World Series!

12. John Ashcroft is the super-religious politician who received seven deferments during the Vietnam War and lost his seat in Congress to a dead man (Mel Carnahan).  He also likes to sing inspiration music ("Let the Eagle Soar" etc.).  He was the ideal choice for Attorney General of the U.S. in that wacky Bush administration.   

13. Bob Guccione died in 2010.  His magazine, Penthouse died in 2003 and ten again in 2013.  Guccione once operated a chain of laundromats in England until he saw a better opportnity in the semi-porn business.  Anna Kournikova never won a professional tennis tournament but she looked really good not winning.

14. Jayson Williams, who had not played pro basketball since 1999, shot his limo driver in 2002.  In 2010, he confessed to the crime and started an 18-month prison sentence.  In 2005, Williams played a few games for the Idaho Stampede while his trial was going through the courts.  He is tall, dark and dumb.

15. Robert Sylvester Kelly was acquitted of all charges in 2008.  Therefore, he is not a pedophile or a pervert.  According to Wikipedia, Kelly "... is considered to be one of the most successful R&B artists of the last 25 years."  There is no accounting for taste.

16. America West Airlines was sold to U.S. Airways in 2005.  During 16 years of service, the airlines never had an accident resulting in the death of a human being.  Two of their pilots went to prison is 2002 for drinking and flying.  Most of their pilots were smart.

17. David Letterman has been a late-night television host since 1982.  He is a multi-millionaire and he is not dumb.  Ted Koppel retired in 2005.

18. The drawing of "Ronald McDonald" and "The Jury of his Peers" by Dale Stephanos is the best of this issue.  The nutritional value Ronald's fast-food has been criticized for many, many years but let's face it - with seven billion people on Earth and the probability that the world population will grow to ten million in my lifetime, we need all of the crappy food that cartoon characters can deliver.  Give him a break!

19. Ted Williams was probably the best hitter of baseballs the world has ever known.  Unfortunately, his family had his head cryogenically frozen after he died.  Ted would not have wanted that.  Artist Michael Koelsch has captured this situation with his excellent parody of a Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) painting.  Let this be a lesson to us all.  It is not enough to place your assets in a living trust.  You need a legally-binding will to prevent your stupid relatives from parading your remains around the internet.  Get a good lawyer before you die!

20. President George W. Bush choked on a pretzel while serving as the Leader of the Free World.  He really did.  [JAM 4/10/2014]

Color Pages: 41 of 56 pages (73%)
Humorous Content: 48 of 56 pages (86%)

Honey, I Kid the Shrink - Satirize That
Cheesy Doodles - A Mad Exclusive!  George W. Bush's Notes from his Last Cabinet Meeting
Do You Hear What I Fear? - Christmas Carols for Post 9/11 America
The Wizard of Odd - Duke Bissell's Tales of Undisputed Interest
Angster's Paradise - Monroe and ... Wedded Bliss
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Look Who's Tolkien - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Outtakes
All Bidding Aside - Mad's Ecchbay Item of the Month
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Golf
Pope Fiction - If Quentin Tarantino Ran the Vatican  [fake department]
The Mad 20: Our Fifth Annual Review of the 20 Dumbest People, Events nd Things of the Year

Fold-In - Pretzel