Saturday, July 19, 2014

Art and the social hierarchy

The occasional Picasso aside, I've noticed that most artists tend to rank very low on the socio-sexual hierarchy, almost a melange of Gamma, Omega, and Lambda. This sort of weirdly childish behavior is so common among them that I soon learned to closely examine every texture in our video games in order to detect and order removed the more egregious portrayals of sex and genitalia:
Fashion chain Next has taken a baby grow off its shelves after customers noticed it was covered in penis drawings. Shane Gallivan, 23, was feeding his 10-month-old twin daughters Evelyn and Amelia at home in Bulwell, Nottingham, when he spotted an unusual shape in their baby grows' 'washing line' design. After looking closer, he uncovered what he believes is the drawing of a penis in the image of a green jumper. He then examined the rest of his daughters' baby grows and found lots of different penis images covering their arms, legs and bodies.
I can't exaggerate how common this sort of thing is. Once your eye is trained to see it, you can identify it everywhere. We were on a flight a while back, and I pointed out to Spacebunny the seven penises that were portrayed in the clouds on the box OF THE FREAKING CHILDREN'S MEAL, including one that was ejaculating. I wish I'd saved it; it was even more egregious than the baby grows pictured in the article.

The manufacturer claims: "This is an innocent mistake that had not been picked up in the approval process."

Innocent on the manufacturer's part, perhaps. Not on the artist's.


SarahsDaughter said...

Bizarre. I am not a trained penis spotter.

Though, I was scrolling through my pretty PG Facebook news feed and did a double take of a large cartoonish penis in action under something posted by Vox Day (Immigration 2014 in a nutshell). Ha! It got my attention...

Remember those Teletubby dolls that would say things when squeezed? My son was given one that didn't so much say Teletubby things. We should have kept it but those things were just so hideous as it was.

JLT said...

My husband [M26] sent me [F26] an immature, inflammatory email as I was driving to the airport for a 10-day work trip. Now he has cut contact.

Husband sends spreadsheet counting the 24 out of 27 times he's been shot down for sex w/ lame excuses. Hilarity ensues.

insanitybytes22 said...

I too have observed the oddly subliminal sexual/genital things hidden in children's toys, clothing, books. Is there a relationship between pedophilia and low status men?

There is a relationship between low status men and the threat they can pose to grown women. Biology may play a strong role in why we find them less attractive, but that is not the whole story. Women instinctually know that these kind of men are potentially dangerous, often prone to violence. They tend to repel, rather than attract us. It's something that makes the feminization of men so insidious, because women are being taught to avoid the "misogynists," men who know they are men, when in fact, that's a much wiser choice. You can observe the conflict women are experiencing all through our culture, women are being pushed in a direction that is counter intuitive and goes against our biology. I know some of the men here express frustration about women's biological imperatives, but they really are like a kind of built in fail safe, intended to help us make good choices.

SarahsDaughter said...

Since I have been critical of many of your comments, GG, I did want to tell you, regardless of the reason, your tone has changed a bit lately (less confrontational and condescending) making your comments much more palatable to read.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

They are now refusing to dress their twin daughters in them.

Because cooties.

Unknown said...

GG -- for the most part this is the first time I have been in agreement with you. I don't think the lack of women makes men into monsters. I think it is the perceived lack of ability to even get a woman that does them in. If a guy is a real man but is obese and sloppy, he knows why he isn't getting any and then chooses to fix it or remain celebate/frequent whores. A man who otherwise should have no natural disqualifiers, but because of character flaws, severe anxiety, aspergers, etc. cannot even begin to get a woman and knows why he can't get one will start to do a lot of mental gymnastics.

It's even worse if he cannot begin see there are things he can do to correct this. He will start raging internally since he is almost certainly conflict averse. His brain will tell him he is too smart and they too dumb. This can lead to severe emotional problems that you see manifest with the high school/college shooters or the Batman shooter/Roger guy.

The whole world should burn, since obviously it is broken. The is no introspection just narcissism. I once went through a dry spell right after college and one day I looked in the mirror and realized that I live alone in a dinky apartment, away from my comfort zone, had put on weight since I was working in an office and not getting out as much. I was wearing office type clothes everywhere and had gotten used to watching movies on the weekends with the same two buds from college who lived in my town. I hated clubs. Of course, it hit me then, it was all on me for my issues and I could correct them. Which, I'll save you the how, but I did. The point is, these people are incapable of saying clearly to themselves "I am the problem, but I can fix it". One or both fails and it is always someone else's fault. "Cat-men, comic nerds, etc. result. Sometimes a guy gets a gun.....

Hence why I am in full support of legal brothels. Yes, it is artificial, but for these guys even the touch of woman in any context would be like a touch of heaven. It also would rock some sense into a few of them. I firmly believe these spree killings would dry up overnight.

As to your point about women instinctively being repulsed by these guys, you have hit the nail on the head. Why would a woman want a man who is not in control of his surroundings, much less his own consciousness? Think about it, these guys are as low as you can possibly go and like all the other filth that has been let loose in open society, there are very few controls to restrain it, so it gets embraced eventually in a democracy, especially one where any weirdo can find 50 other weirdos with a quick google search.

I think in thirty years, we'll look at the internet as an even worse corrupting influence than we look at the tv now, despite all the good we have managed to carve out here.

hoigao said...

As someone who spent three years in the gaming art industry I will assure everyone that this example is not an exception but the norm. My understanding was that with the current state of 'art schools' teaching graphic artists that the key to success is their ability to sell their own personal brand, it coincidentally inflates the fragile ego of men and women already prone to excessive emotional instability. Coupled with the fact that most artists are already by nature hyper sensitive, self absorbed and vain in their supposed individuality, they form a community where such immaturity is not only accepted but encouraged. (They're being 'whimsical'?)

My workplace was (un)surprisingly unprofessional with dick pictures not only on almost every white board and post it note, but a few were even occasionally hidden in between the pages of someone's meeting documents or drawn to cover a vacationing coworker's entire desk space, so you can bet trying to sneak penises in-game was just another game for them. Men were the worst offenders with only a few women in on the jokes, but I am not sure if it was because they 'raged' so much as they just never grew up and most of the women at that company were staunch feminists who reviled anything phallic anyways. I know that from their perspective, they honestly think it's funny and do not attribute anything insidious to it. But there is a lack of consideration for other people seemingly built into their world view and I will note that the one who encouraged it the most was a gay guy who liked to collect the sticky notes to keep around his cintiq.

Matamoros said...

They are called subliminal ads. These penises, etc. are supposed to increase sales and make people want to buy the product/service. Wilson Brian Key was a primary researcher into subliminal ads. His book "Subliminal Seduction" was updated and released by Brandon Books in 1992 as "Subliminal Ad-Ventures in Erotic Art by Branden Books".

Various symbols, including death ones, are put into almost everything by ad agencies on purpose, who then deny they are there. Even Disney films have them -

hank.jim said...

I assume the artist is likely a homo. No one else is likely to do such a thing.

Anonymous said...

I assume the artist is likely a homo.

That was my thought too. Wouldn't a straight man draw boobs? I can't see a straight guy bragging to his friends about all the stiff dicks he drew in his work. That's like the episode where Cartman brags to everyone about how he pranked Butters, but it turns out he got it backwards, getting a picture of Butters's dick in his own mouth.

Maybe I just don't understand art.

Doom said...

Ah! I always wondered about that. Is that simply a default thing in some pseudo men? I have a cousin, and a few past friends who... Well... I thought it was simple immaturity. I suppose it is, of a sort, if what you suppose is the deal. Learn something new every day. Oh, but curious. How do you exercise that? My criticisms kept such behavior from my presence, but they would put that stuff elsewhere. Thumb sucking of some sort.

Anonymous said...

I've read that artists make hidden drawings of penises as a form of getting back at employers that they are disgruntled with.

Akulkis said...

There's a simple way to stop this in a workplace... start firing offenders, and make the first done in the middle of a group meeting with the offender and the rest of the his peers.

"This is a problem. It's deliberate, and inexcusable to be putting obscene imagery in our company's products. Therefore, Mr. X., I will ask you now to go back, pack your things, and GTFO. Security is outside the door, and will escort you to what used to be your desk, and after you pack your stuff in the boxes which they will provide to you, they wil escort you out of the building. Now, do I have everyone else's attention? Is anybody here unclear on the consequences of putting obscene imagery in our company's products?"

The more "respected" the illustrator is within the department, the better (regardless of job-title and rank on the org-chart).

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Agreed, observant.

Maybe or maybe not, along with triangles and the one eyed pose are the phallus pics. Then again, its easy to call every skyscraper phallic.

Prof. Spudd said...

Here's a link to the 1974 book that Matamoros mentioned:

Makes me wonder how many cases of this are intentional subliminal advertising and how many are just weird artists being weird artists.

High Arka said...

"Graphic designers" who have to go to expensive trade schools to learn how to design corporate logos, and to pattern designs on drapery and sleepwear, are not necessarily "artists." There may be some overlap, and an idiot might look at those kids' PJs and say, "Oh, fine art!" But that's not the case.

Here's an example: if a high school chess club committed an act of vandalism, would you complain that all "athletes" were vandals? That's how comparatively stupid your association of clothing designers with "artists" is. It almost seems like you'll take any news item where someone has done something bad and blame it on one of your favorite pseudo-Grecian dating terms.

Anonymous said...

As an artist, let me say yes, absolutely, we totally do this. It's mostly the men but not always. And it isn't necessarily something we learn in school, my 14 yr old artsy son has been refining his penile reproductions for several years now (contrasted with my 12 yr old budding engineer who is appalled). Personally I think a large part of it is the contrarian nature of almost every artist I've met. (for me this is close to a compulsion and it has been for my entire life) As soon as we know something is verboten we want to do it. The more it bothers people, the more we want to. If you were to make punishments severe for doing these sorts of things all you would do is drive out the most divergent thinkers of your creative staff. You'd end up with compliant workers yes, but not necessarily creative ones. This is something Disney has known for a long time. Multiple penises have found their way into Disney products in the past (the most publicized being the cover of the Little mermaid), yet no ripples of 'X got fired for that' went through the industry, and I don't think it ever will.

Anonymous said...

It's not childish, but rather a pathological fixation of some kind. And they get off of drawing stuff for kids (TV cartoons, cereal boxes, etc.), so that's where you have to look for these guys.

High Arka said...

That's cute, madcontrarian, but are you a paid artist? If you're paid, are you a full time art professional, or do you just sell sketches on etsy? If professional, are you a fine artist, or someone who designs internal policy logos and contributes to movement programming on dancing CG carrots for Monsanto commercials? Or are you regularly selling your oils for $9,500 at a local gallery?

Even when you do see this stuff on "professional" art, it's on professional corporate art. It's not done by independent artists who sell their own product to publishers and get named credit for it. It's done by "teams" of artists who produce, uncredited, "art" for major backers like Pixar or J. Crew as a way of striking back at having been marginalized--just like the Windows programmers who put in messy security vulnerabilities that their bosses aren't intelligent enough to understand when they glance over the code.

Also, American football players spend a lot of time talking about and referring to dicks and (male) asses before their games. Does that make them just as infantile as artists? Or is it the sketching of a penis, rather than a five minute discussion about whose has more girth, that makes it childish?

High Arka said...

aeolipera, wouldn't you say that it's more childish to "look for these guys" and their penises than it is to ignore it? Feminists see penises in the Washington Monument and city buses; are you going to get angry about every tubular structure? The kids aren't noticing the penises. Instead, it's adults who are worried about penises that are noticing them.

Anonymous said...

That's a dumb question. Is it more childish to seek out pedophiles or to ignore them? Presumably, a child does neither unless they're already amygdala-damaged enough to eventually become SFWA grandmasters.

Please, say more dumb things. The internet awaits.

High Arka said...

Wait, I'm genuinely confused about what you're saying--are you saying that the supposed drawing of the penises correlates to pedophilia?

You're giving me flashbacks of the 1980s satanic cult bullshit. Well, there's always something new for you big, tough alphas to be afraid of. Look behind you! An Arab!

Anonymous said...

You seem to be debating an imaginary person.

High Arka said...

The question was, "[A]re you saying that the supposed drawing of the penises correlates to pedophilia?"

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. I'd be committing a statistical fallacy if I were saying that.

Anonymous said...

@High Arka

"That's cute, madcontrarian, but are you a paid artist? If you're paid, are you a full time art professional, or do you just sell sketches on etsy? If professional, are you a fine artist, or someone who designs internal policy logos and contributes to movement programming on dancing CG carrots for Monsanto commercials? Or are you regularly selling your oils for $9,500 at a local gallery?"

Yes, Yes, I don't sell on etsy but I have dabbled online, I make my own fine art and commissioned illustrations for a variety of clients, No, I don't do Monsanto commercials. I have sold one Oil painting but I don't like working in Oil very much, I have had gallery shows, but I'm not a fan of the gallery crowd so I don't do it anymore. I'm not nationally known or famous and I'm not really unhappy about that. Seriously though, that was quite an obnoxious diatribe above. I was just trying to give my own perspective, maybe a little insight into the mind of someone who makes art and works with a lot of people who do, what's your problem? Are you an artist who thinks penises are childish? If so... I don't know... that's great for you.

"Even when you do see this stuff on "professional" art, it's on professional corporate art. It's not done by independent artists who sell their own product to publishers and get named credit for it. It's done by "teams" of artists who produce, uncredited, "art" for major backers like Pixar or J. Crew as a way of striking back at having been marginalized--just like the Windows programmers who put in messy security vulnerabilities that their bosses aren't intelligent enough to understand when they glance over the code. "

Disney is the big one for not crediting their artists, Pixar isn't so bad. And I agree with you in general, an independent illustrator would be less likely to try to hide anything subversive in an illustration for a client they valued. That's bad business and you don't get repeat business if there are questions surrounding your work. However that doesn't mean they don't think about doing it. It takes a certain kind of crazy to go to art school even though your parents told you they'd never talk to you again, although when I was a kid we didn't have a gaming industry with steady work that's significantly bigger than Hollywood. Yes a lot of art people starve or work at Starbucks, but some of us, the dedicated, the skills obsessed, can do pretty well. Even without selling 9500$ oils in NY galleries.

High Arka said...

Hey, good job, buddy. You're the kind of guy I'm defending--if all artists are penis-obsessed perverts, than that includes you. And even if all the friends you know are that way, that doesn't justify saying all other artists are. Since everyone here is so big on concepts of independence, they should appreciate the idea that you get a better product when the creator of the product is personally invested in it. The "drawn dick" issue, as you appear to agree with me, comes up most often when someone is being treated like a drone, rather than when someone is selling their own thing. My problem is just that I don't want all professional illustrators to be called "weak" or "pervy" or "gamma" or whatever else, just because of a few people trying to get back at Disney/whatever.

(Do you do anything CG? I have a couple people waiting for CG commissions. Email me a deviant gallery or some other sample if you feel like some work.)

Anonymous said...

@High Arka

I guess I just don't care what people think about artists. I've been called a ton of names by lots of people in my past, I'm kind of used to it. And I'm not saying artists are penis obsessed, just that when we see something that makes other people cringe, we're likely to take a look and some of us might even enjoy making people cringe. I definitely do. However, you're right I probably shouldn't speak for all artists. I just have my own experience with them which doesn't (nor can it ever) include every single one. Also, I'm not an animator, I do digital concept work: environments, creatures, characters. The more insane the concept, the more I like it.

High Arka said...

(That's perfect; I need illos for print, not anything animated.)

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