Ethics Poll: “Ip Gissa Gul”

The New Yorker cartoon above, by the magazine’s iconic cartoonist George Booth, first ran in 1975. I remember finding it strange then. I just ran across it again, and it seems ripe for an Ethics Alarms poll.

14 thoughts on “Ethics Poll: “Ip Gissa Gul”

  1. In 1975 I was but a mere lad of 18 and I really don’t recall life in the mid 70’s as being a time of “me wantum girl, me take girl”. Jim Morrison, the patron saint of male libido, had died 4 years earlier in France. If I recall correctly that period of time was when the late to the game hipsters of the sixties started turning 30, began having real careers, and started caring for their children.

    In 1975, the most desirous thing to have was a full tank of gasoline.

    There might have been some male throwbacks from the free love days just a few years past. So to cast an entire society as some time of brutal male female relationships is a stretch. It might be reflective of the culture in New York at the time as that city was devolving into chaos where people were afraid to be out after dark but I don’t believe it applied nationally.

    Maybe the cartoon simply reflects the cartoonist’s desires only.

    I voted for historic value even though I don’t believe it was historically representative of the period and place in which I grew up.

  2. Adding to your WordPress woes, Jack… the new polling format doesn’t appear to enable one to check the results without entering a vote first. Even if one has already voted.

  3. The cartoon describes, not exactly eloquently, a very fundamental fact about this Reality in which we live. Left to itself, or left to ourselves, without all sorts of different cultural modifiers, the rôle given to men and women is circumscribed by brutality. For the girl (that is to say for the girl-child to be realistic) at an early age she indicates, through what her body does independent of her own desire or choice, what she has been created for. She was created to gestate the proximate generation. She is driven to that rôle (that undertaking if you will) by overpowering normal instinct. She cannot refuse that rôle either.

    Andrea Dworking (militant feminist lesbian) wrote openly about these facts. She *saw* very clearly what was, what is, the *rôle of woman*. Her book ‘Intercourse’ is filled with her thoughts, musing and her ideological program, and her sheer horror of the facts of reality about how propagation occurs, and obviously what part a woman has in this (This is embarrassing for me to write but Drowkin would exclain “She gets f***cked”).

    But instead of understanding that behind what she understand to be the source of her horror and anger about woman’s perennial rôle in human society it is not ‘man’ or ‘men’ that have done this to woman, it is Nature hereself, and if you want to put it like this Mother Nature. Remember that in Lucretius’s cosmological poem De Rerum Natura that the only god that he recognizes is Aphrodite Venus. That means that nature is erotic through and through. In that sense pure sexuality going on all the time:

    Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men,
    Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars
    Makest to teem the many-voyaged main
    And fruitful lands- for all of living things
    Through thee alone are evermore conceived,
    Through thee are risen to visit the great sun-
    Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on,
    Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away,
    For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers,
    For thee waters of the unvexed deep
    Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky
    Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
    For soon as comes the springtime face of day,
    And procreant gales blow from the West unbarred,
    First fowls of air, smit to the heart by thee,
    Foretoken thy approach, O thou Divine,
    And leap the wild herds round the happy fields
    Or swim the bounding torrents. Thus amain,
    Seized with the spell, all creatures follow thee
    Whithersoever thou walkest forth to lead,
    And thence through seas and mountains and swift streams,
    Through leafy homes of birds and greening plains,
    Kindling the lure of love in every breast,
    Thou bringest the eternal generations forth,
    Kind after kind.

    The political aspect of the cartoon is of course relevant, and certainly to that time-period. One of the main thrusts of that age had been — a result of dependable birth-control — to separate sexual expression from pregnancy and birth. A whole range of effects were achieved through this, there were complex cycles of change that resulted from this. A ‘liberation’ you could say, true, but also a complex enslavement.

    In the Occident, in very unique and very distinct ways, the fundamental rôle of woman has been worked with, perhaps I can say, and developed in ways that no other society had been able to do. Even in those times we consider *backward*, Occidental women had avenues open to them that other women did not. And the development of the ethical and philosophy of love and marriage is unique.

    The cave-version in the comic is that man captures woman (girl) and forces her into a compromising rôle of reproducing, and what a looser she is! No, she must be rescued from that. One can examine how these patterns of ideas and interpretation operated in that time. They began in that time and they can be traced from that time in terms of how woman is viewed today.

    • I don’t think cavemen were aware of feminism as it was more alpha males got the best women. The poor betas had to settle for what ever was less or let their genes die out.

      • Wayne, if the notion of motherhood became such an anathema to early women there would be neither feminists today nor men to complain about. If we extend this reasoning, women are the reason for climate change because had they refused to give birth man would have died out long ago and fossil fuels would never have been developed.

      • The most canny cavewomen got the best alphas and/or hunters, thereby assuring themselves status, good eating, slaves, the best accommodations, power, and protection. The others … well, just the b-string Barney Rubbles and Alley Oops of the tribe. Still, better off than the poor gal who “landed” Fred.

  4. I was only a toddler when this was first published, so it’s enlightening to see that New Yorker cartoons were as dull and lifeless in 1975 as they are today…

    Though I admit, it’s nice to see one that isn’t in the wildly-overused “guy on a psychiatrist’s couch saying the punchline” format.

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