Sunday, April 1, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Unravished Foolery

An Esquire magazine 1938 color cartoon by E. Simms Campbell seems unusual in how tightly-cropped the image is. We are in a young woman's bedroom, evidently, as she is upright in an adjustable bed wearing—what else?—a sheer nightgown. Yet her hair is still perfect, her makeup is still on, and an expensive bracelet still adorns her wrist. Correction: we are inhabiting a male fantasy version of a young woman's bedroom. That's the point here, really. This isn't just a lewd gag about not committing rape ("fool that I am"); like many an Esquire cartoon, it's about how susceptible we men, the readers, are to overtly sexualized images of women, and the virtual impossibility of being able to act on most all of them.
"All I want is your jewelry, lady—fool that I am[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1938

Note:  Fool that I am, Attempted Bloggery has been surveying the work of cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Readers with access to original Campbell art can assist in this important endeavor by submitting high-resolution scans or photos.

This Esquire cartoon is reportedly from 1938, but the Amazon seller hasn't provided the issue or the page number. No blog post of mine can ever be considered complete without this information. Please pass along what you know.

At press time, this cartoon is available for purchase on Amazon. Just click on the aqua link. 

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