Parody Of: Local entertainment guides. Title: “Why Leave This Room?”
In: National Lampoon, August 1982, pp 51-55. By: Michael Reiss, Al Jean “and Staff”
Availability: Right here; issue common on eBay.
There’s a whole subset of parodies that claim to bring news from the future, usually bad. The grandaddy of them all, “The New Times” of 1794, showed Britain in 1800 reduced to starvation and civil war by French-inspired radicals. In 1884, the Boston Globe ran a four-page “Women’s Daily Globe” from a time when “women have taken over … and have left the beaten-down and defeated male to tend the home fires” (periodyssey.com); its date: 2002. Esquire’s fake “New York Times” in 1969 foresaw a narrowly divided Supreme Court voting along partisan lines to settle a disputed presidential election — though the year it gave was 1976 and the winner Spiro Agnew. The “Post New York Post” in 1984 ran nuclear war through the tabloid news grinder (“Michael Jackson, 80 Million Others Dead”). Others have set World War III in motion and Donald Trump in the White House.
Not one, however, has said anything about pandemics, viral or otherwise, which leaves this outlet with nothing to say about You Know What. (Except wash your hands, especially before handling old magazines.)
So instead of dwelling on disasters real or parodic, here’s some first aid for folks suffering from cabin fever. National Lampoon’s “Why Leave This Room?” purports to be “A Complimentary Guide to Local Places, Events, and Happenings” courtesy of “New Western Motels,” though exactly which locality is unstated. Like many early-’80s NL spoofs, it’s funny but one-note: Every “attraction” in the surrounding hellscape is either mind-numbingly generic or flat-out deranged — a sure cure for wanderlust. So if the itch to go out is rising, read these five pages. Pretend they describe the world outside your current bunker. Then ask yourself, “Why Leave This Room?” — VCR