• In 2006, South Dakota instituted almost a total ban on abortions. Bill Napoli, a South Dakota State Senator, supported this ban, saying that women should not be allowed to have abortions even if they get pregnant for “simple rape.” (He did say that he would make an exception for a religious virgin who gets pregnant from a brutalizing rape.) Cartoonist Stephanie McMillan saw Mr. Napoli’s words as expressing a belief that women shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions for themselves, so she created a cartoon in which a woman character telephones Mr. Napoli when she is asked to make a decision about which salad dressing to use — the character asks Mr. Napoli, “Roasted pepper vinaigrette or honey mustard?” The cartoon included Mr. Napoli’s work and home telephone numbers, which many other women used to call him. One woman asked him whether her bra and panties should match; another woman asked him whether she should use tampons or pads.
• Fashion maven Sunny Chapman used to go to abortion clinics to protest — as a member of Satanists 4 Life — along with fellow activists Karen Elliott and Monika LaVey. At their demon-strations they wore devil horns and devil costumes and held signs saying such things as “DON’T ABORT YOUR FETUS — IT COULD BE THE ANTI-CHRIST” and “PRO-LIFE IS PRO-SATAN.” This usually made ordinary pro-life protesters uncomfortable enough to leave the immediate vicinity.
• New York City’s Guerrilla Girls use posters to protest art exhibits dominated by male artists. One poster asked, “When Racism & Sexism Are No Longer Fashionable, What Will Your Art Collection Be Worth?” True artists, the Guerilla Girls dress up in gorilla masks to gain publicity for their cause.
• Absolut Vodka once asked lesbian cartoonist Kris Kovick to draw a cartoon to be used in its ads. She drew a cartoon for “Absolut Hurl,” which depicted a woman vomiting while holding a vodka bottle. Not surprisingly, Absolut Vodka decided not to use the cartoon in its ads.
• In many ways, Theodor Geisel, who is better known as Dr. Seuss, was a lucky man. In the 1920s, he created a cartoon for the humor magazine Judge. The cartoon showed a knight in armor lying in bed while a ferocious dragon hovered above him. The caption of the cartoon has the knight referring to a then-common insecticide called Flit: “Darn it all, another Dragon. And just after I’d sprayed the entire castle with Flit!” This cartoon resulted in a contract for Mr. Geisel to create advertisements for Flit because Grace Cleaves saw the cartoon at a hairdresser’s shop, liked it, and convinced her husband, a Flit advertising executive, to hire Mr. Geisel. How lucky was Mr. Geisel? When creating the cartoon, he could have used two insecticides: Flit or Fly Tox. He flipped a coin to decide which to use, and Flit won. In addition, Mrs. Cleaves’ regular hairdresser’s shop did not have Judge. Because her regular hairdresser’s shop was busy, she went to another hairdresser’s shop, where she saw the issue of Judge that contained Mr. Geisel’s cartoon.
• In 1934, artist Salvador Dali designed a window that featured nude mannequins for New York department store Bonwit Teller. Of course, the professional window dressers preferred mannequins wearing the clothing that the store sold, so when Mr. Dali left they put clothing on the mannequins. When Mr. Dali returned and saw the alterations to his window display, he made a major display of temperament, including throwing a bathtub used in the display through a plate-glass store window so that the bathtub made an unscheduled stop on the Fifth Avenue sidewalk. Shortly afterward, Mr. Dali made an unscheduled stop in jail. According to world-famous window dresser Simon Doonan, this situation was win-win for everybody. Mr. Dali further increased his reputation as an eccentric art genius and the store received lots of fabulous free publicity.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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