Saturday, February 17, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Life Net Leering

Even pin-up girls need to be rescued sometimes. An original Playboy cartoon from 1962 by E. Simms Campbell shows a firefighter taking advantage of what ordinarily would be considered a life-threatening situation but is not presented as a danger to anything but the woman's modesty. Cartoons of this sort attempt to make us co-conspirators in a preposterously elaborate scenario concocted for the sole purpose of allowing us to leer at an attractive woman. At the same time, we are dared to imagine the view the firefighter on the left must have. The tone is meant to be playful and the message  to men is meant to be reassuring: "We enjoy looking at what you enjoy looking at." It has been repeated time and time again in countless men's magazines and pin-up calendars. 

E. Simms Campbell
"Wow....let's toss her up a few more times!"

Original art
Playboy, March 1962, page 61

E. Simms Campbell
Christie's Sale 2367, The Year of the Rabbit:  The Playboy Collection, Lot 30

New York, December 8, 2010

Things haven't changed all that much in the last 200 years.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard
The Swing, c. 1767
The Wallace Collection, London

Note:  Let's keep looking at the art of cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Attempted Bloggery seeks scans or photographs of original Campbell art or rare published works new to the internet.

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