Monday, July 9, 2018

Blog Post No. 2600: Peter Arno—You're Welcome?


Lord Byron understood that seduction requires consent, and he described as skillfully as anyone how a woman's answer could turn suddenly from a no to a yes. The nuance of a woman saying no while coming to mean yes was handled brilliantly by Byron, but that very suggestion is something of anathema to us today, and for decades at least it has proved thorny for many a humorist not quite as gifted as Byron.

An original published cartoon by Peter Arno is an unfortunate case in point. It appeared on eBay in 2016 and looks to be an example of Arno's College Humor magazine work from the 1930s. A woman is seen consulting her attorney to complain about an incident of sexual assault implying, it should go without saying, a lack of consent on her part. The hand-written caption reads, "And then he assaulted me without so much as a thank you." The line doesn't quite work, but the gag is supposed to convey the impression that she isn't as unwilling as she claims or she wouldn't have expected a thank-you. An awful lot of male-oriented humor suggests that women either want sex even when they say they don't, or they enjoy sex even when they have not agreed to it. This cartoon can be included in that regrettable tradition.

"And then he assaulted me without so much as a thank you."
Peter Arno
Original art
[College Humor, c. 1930s]









The H code at the lower right, as we've seen before, indicates publication in College Humor.



Peter Arno
eBay Listing Ended September 27, 2016


Peter Arno
eBay Item Description

Peter Arno
eBay Bid History
There's an anomaly here. Are there really four bids or only two?

"And then he assaulted me without so much as a thank you."
Peter Arno
Original art
[College Humor, c. 1930s]



Note:  There are now quite a few posts about Peter Arno here in the blog archives but there are still many unseen originals out there deserving of our consideration. Readers with access to rare or forgotten art by Arno are urged to send scans or photographs for probable inclusion in a future post.

Any humor magazine aficionado who recognizes this College Humor cartoon from among the many published should step forward with issue date, page number, and perhaps a photograph or two.
02600

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