A recent study may have found an increase in ads using sex to sell, but using sex to sell has been around a long long time. Perhaps the study didn’t go back far enough? The study looked at 30 years of magazines, but this promotion for Pliofilm, featuring a sexy nude woman behind the see-through Pliofilm shower curtain decorated with swans and flowers, was published in the 1930s. Which begs the question… Who the hell was this targeting — men or women?
I’ll admit I knew nothing about this retro joke book when I snagged it at an antique shop; all I needed to pick it up was a stork on the front, and the $1 price penciled inside allowed me to bring it home.
(Son Of A Son Of… 101 Aggie Jokes, Vol. 3, copyright 1969, Gigem Press (my copy is a First Printing, September, 1969) was created to be a postal piece.)
The front cover birth control gag goes like this:
Do you know what Aggies do with birth control pills?
They feed them to storks.
And that should be enough to satisfy a dollar purchase — but I’m obsessive, remember?
First I had to learn what an “Aggie” was or is: students (current and former) at Texas A&M University are called Aggies after the school’s agricultural roots. Then Barry Popik had to educate me on what turns out to be a rather fascinating bit of history about these very books:
Aggie jokes became legendary because of two events in 1963 and 1965. In 1963, Texas A&M started to admit women. The University of Texas (already co-ed) and others saw humor in this situation. In 1965, the book 101 Aggie Jokes was published. The book would go through several reprintings and new editions.
And so it seems this little joke book was destined to find its way into my feminism collection. Even if the book isn’t all about gender or the sexes, it fits the bill; here’s Exhibit B:
Did you hear about the Aggie who thought a sanitary belt was the first drink out of the bottle?
I’ll couch my estimation of this kitschy book’s value with the publishers sentiments on the title page:
This collection of jokes has been assembled from general public sources. It is not the intention of the publishers to ridicule or degrade any institution or individual. The purpose is to chronicle an important chapter in American humor.
To cover my own ass, I’ll also include “gender” along with institutions and individuals. *wink*
OK, I know I’ve posted a couple of times already today; but while unwinding from writing a really in-depth post of the non-frivolous variety (hence the necessary unwinding frivolity), I spotted this 1930’s dress with an amazing vintage penguin print & I just had to show it to you! How could I not?
Just a collection of what I’d call A-Nesting Fashion Hats — “bad bird hats,” if you prefer. Enjoy — and don’t have chicken for dinner. *wink*
And remember kids, a dead bird in the hand is worth two on your head!
More vintage sheet music owned by Sister Patricia; this time, Story Poems with Musical Settings by Phyllis Fergus.
The song, The Woodpecker (copyright 1925 by Clayton F. Summy Co.), takes its lyrics from an anonymous poem previously published in The Millgate Monthly, and is dedicated to Fergus’ niece, Elizabeth Clifford. Something which likely makes poor Elizabeth cringe — roll over in her grave? — why couldn’t her aunt just pat her on the head and exclaim, “My haven’t you grown!” and give her an ugly frock like the rest of the relatives? Because this is one racist little song:
A woodpecker picks out a great many specks
Of sawdust when building his house.
He works like a nigger
To make the hole bigger,
He cuts thru’ the wood like a mouse.
He doesn’t bother with plans of cheap artisans,
But there’s one thing can rightly be said;
The whole excavation has this explanation
He builds it
By working, Well! by using his head!
Can’t you just imagine a classroom full of students with bright shining faces who, at the urging of Sister M. Patricia, are happily singing the n-word as part of their religious dedication?
Singing their way into heaven? Hmmm, more like sinning their way to hell.
Ah, but it was the times… The roaring, racist 20’s.
But if the image of a nun leading a choir of earthly angels in singing the n-word doesn’t illustrate how entrenched and insidious racism is, then what will?
If the name Clayton F. Summy sounds vaguely familiar, it likely is due to the Happy Birthday hullabaloo. (See also: Google Answers.) Which means that the same folks who claim to own the rights to Happy Birthday likely also own this racist little ditty.