Anarchist! Sexual Rebel! Children’s Book Artist?
He won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award for his cartoons; an Obie for his plays; an Academy Award for the animation of his cartoon satire, Munro; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Writers Guild of America and the National Cartoonist Society. Feiffer has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Northwestern University, Dartmouth, and presently at Stony Brook Southampton College. He has been honored with major retrospectives at the New York Historical Society, the Library of Congress, and The School of Visual Arts. His memoir, "Backing into Forward," was published in March 2010,
Question: What was it like to work on “The Phantom Tollbooth”?
Question: What was it like to work on “The Phantom Tollbooth”?
Jules Feiffer: Well, I had never done a children’s book. Early on, shortly after I had gotten out of the Army in 1953, I put some samples together hoping to get some children’s book illustration, but I ran a **** of somebody named Sendak that was starting out, and his work was so devastatingly impressive that I thought I’d better get out of the way and let him have that field and find something on my own. So, in a way, I gave up children’s books because of Maurice and dedicated myself as a Cold War cartoonist trying to overthrow the government. So, it was by default.
And with The Tollbooth, Norton Juster, who wrote it, was first a young man who became a friend because we lived in the same building in Brooklyn Heights, and then we moved into a duplex apartment together with a third roommate, and that’s where he started writing the Phantom Tollbooth and he would read to me sections and I’d start doing sketches. So, it was all by accident, by proximity. Norton was there, I was there, he loved early 19th and 20th century English line drawing illustration. So, that’s what I tried to give him, my version of it, because his whole writing style was basically geared to the early 20th century. So, again, it was one of those things that I backed into. And it was accidental and it was great fun to do. But, once it was done, I had no intention of doing more children’s books. This was in the ‘60’s, and it was another 30 years or so before I decided to write and illustrate my own. And I’ve actually just completed, 50 years later, my second book with Norton Juster, called The Odious Ogre, which will be coming out in the fall of 2010. And that’s a big picture book in color, and very different in style from The Phantom Tollbooth.
Question: How did you transition from cartooning to the world of the theater?
Jules Feiffer: Well, I found it was my good fortune to somehow be able to work in these forms that I loved when I was a kid. I love movies and I could write screenplays. I love theater and I could write plays. I mean, they would be my own, I could never write what was used to be called the well-made play. But my first play, “Little Murders,” turned out to be a great success and a great influence on plays at that time. “Carnal Knowledge,” which was originally written as a play, still resonates and people still talk about it. And Mike Nichols’ production of the film is the best collaborative work I’ve ever done with anybody. So, I’ve had enormous luck and enormous pleasure in working in these forums and I just – because I could always write dialogue, because I always had a sense of how people spoke. And because I had a strong narrative sense; growing up and loving stories, loving novels, I just seem to know how to tell a story and I read a lot, I went to a lot of movies, I went to a lot of plays, and it rubbed off on me. And that’s all. It just rubbed off on me.
If Edward Albee had not been writing in the ‘50’s, just when I was coming along and getting interested in theater, I might never have written a play, but Albee suddenly opened these doors because he was doing stuff in a form that I found terribly inviting, and god knows I wouldn’t have ever thought of it on my own.
Recorded on February 22, 2010
Interviewed by Austin \r\nAllen
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Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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