Happily, It’s Still a MAD, MAD World

Alfred E. NeumanAs a kid, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on each new issue of MAD Magazine. Alfred E. Neuman and company had a lot to do with shaping (warping) my sense of humor. One of my favorite features, and the first thing I looked at every month, was the folding back covers, which showed one picture unfolded but ingeniously formed a different, wacky picture when folded.

I’m glad to see that MAD has not been forgotten, even in the hallowed halls of justice, as shown by Cabiness v. Town of James Island, South Carolina Supreme Court case.

The case involved a third failed attempt by the Town of James Island to incorporate itself. The complicated facts aren’t important for our purposes. Suffice it to say that one of the biggest issues was the “contiguity” of certain property.

In considering this issue, the court said the most convincing evidence were the courtroom exhibits of maps, which apparently, resembling MAD fold-in back covers, showed the all-important contiguity of certain properties at issue in the case:

Perhaps the most convincing exhibits illustrated the “but for” concept of contiguity in a “MAD Magazine” style back-page folding manner, where a map of two areas alleged to be contiguous was folded in such a manner as to eliminate the previously-annexed publicly-owned property.

Perhaps worried, as I am, that this great literary device is being forgotten, Justice Hearn, in a footnote, directed readers “not familiar with this reference” to a New York Times interractive compilation of MAD Magazine fold-in covers.

Cabiness v. Town of James Island, Opinion No. 26989, S.C. Sup. Ct, June 20, 2011. Thanks to Jim Bogle.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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