The Press: Lampoon's Surrender

The National Lampoon's jejune penetrations of the frontiers of bad taste have earned it a devoted following (800,000) and hilarious profits. But a mock advertisement in Lampoon's 1973 Encyclopedia of Humor brought the magazine's madcap staffers some serious trouble. "If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he'd be President today," said the realistic-looking ad copy under a photo of a Beetle floating hubcap-deep in water. The text explained that Volkswagen's watertight construction—a selling point in genuine VW ads—would have prevented the 1969 drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne. Volkswagen of America began receiving outraged...

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