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Mad Cow

Revision as of 03:17, November 6, 2005 by (talk)

The Mad Cow is Williams' premier humor magazine, and its second oldest student publication (Literary Review being the oldest). It puts out issues once a semester, hopefully before finals, and can be picked up for free at a dining hall near you!


It started in 1907 with a group of literary gents and that infamous poem. The Purple Cow, the original Williams humor magazine with the harlequin and holstein cover, was loved proudly for half a century. Somewhere in the 40s, it paused for WWII, and somewhere in the 50s picked up a few colors of ink beyond the original purple. In 1960, all vestiges of a humor magazine at Williams mysteriously went extinct. They stayed that way into the early 90s, which briefly served up the spoof magazine Beeph.

Jump ahead a few years to Winter Study of 1998. Inspired by Paul Park's parody class, an intrepid band of idealistic young whippersnappers with time on their hands decided to try and bring back the glory days of old. Sure enough, later that spring, an elite cadre Scotch-taped their idea of a humor magazine over the depths of cyberspace. And there was much rejoicing, among the three people who read it.

These words come to us from the ancestors who lived through the historical days of the inception and birth of the first Mad Cow. The Spring 1998 issue was published only on the internet, and the first printed issue was published in Winter 1998. After that, there has been an issue published on nice shiny paper every semester, with perhaps one exception. We can’t really figure out which semester went Cow-less, because some issues have the unfortunate tendency to print years on the cover that don’t necessarily match those on the title page.

It was for the Mad Cow that the word "derecognize" was coined in 2001. In the Spring of that year, the magazine published a list of departmental pick-up lines that were of questionable taste. The staff worried that campus would not take kindly to this crude humor, and to some degree they were right. However, most concentrated on an article (written by the now-infamous 'Hans Oji') that satirized the then-new position of College Council MinCo Rep. For this, CC threatened to derecognize the whole organization. While the magazine continued the next year, it began publishing a disclaimer in the front of every issue. In addition, the Cow began seeking volunteers to test-read its articles. If you would like to test-read for the Mad Cow, please e-mail the editors' listserver at to volunteer.

The Mad Cow has gone through several editorial dynasties, beginning with the reign of David Ramos '99, who soon turned the reins over to Seth Brown and Art Munson (both ’01). Their illustrious reign was followed by Josh Ain, Rachelle Hassan, and Jenny McElroy (‘03s), who passed control to the ’04 triumvirate of Neil Anderson, Al Gordon, and Dan Bahls. Upon their graduation in Spring 2004, responsibility passed to Amanda R. Van Rhyn '06 and Katherine L. Dieber '07, who will soon add some names to their administration. Watch this space for exciting editorial developments!

The Mad Cow accepts submissions from the entire campus: articles, illustrations, funny quotes from professors, and anything else original and funny. Submissions should be e-mailed to for consideration. Any and all students are welcome to join the Mad Cow staff and help in writing and formatting of the final publication.