Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

  • 74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

  • Google

Blogs I love and/or learn from

« Tapas for Shoppas. | Main | He Makes Me Laugh. »


Ruth Anne

[T]he ones I've known have also, without exception, been into running around like maniacs, riding bikes, climbing trees, getting dirty, sledding, hanging upside down from the jungle gym . . . even the odd acted-out fantasy adventure.

And your streak continues without exception. I was the ultimate girly-girl [still am as a Mary Kay consultant] who loved those things, too. I was enamored of Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci and took up gymnastics. I was extremely proud of my ripped palms and my bruises on my hips [back when we could do belly beats on the unevens]. My Dad ran out of sons early on and became what I've heard called a Title 9 Dad--a great advocate for us girls at the school. Why did the gymnasts always have to practice after the wrestlers? He asked and got some equity for us. And his son and daughters qualified for state-level athletics competitions. [2 in track, me in gymnastics]. My dad, the original 98 pound weakling who was a great dadvocate. Let me not forget Mom, either...still a jock even in her 70s, who played against Grace Kelly's sister in field hockey at the all-girls' Catholic school league in Philly.


Ah, I love it.


And don't let anybody knock field hockey for rough-and-tumble. I still remember clashing sticks and running in the October cold till my lungs hurt.


It was always more acceptable for girls to act like boys than for boys to act like girls, and I'm sur that's still true. I wanted to be a boy and was very physically active. I hated frilly dresses. I think that's natural for a lot of girls. On the other hand, not always. My sister always dressed up as a bride or princess on Halloween, and she loved playing with Barbie dolls.

Maybe there's an ultra-male morphic field and an ultra-female one, and most of us resonate to some extent with both.

But even though I resonated with the male field, it was only partial. I never had any interest in war or violence, and I was never interested in cars or machines. And later on I caught the girl disease of caring about how I looked to others.

Both sexes have a lot more freedom now to do what they like, rather than what their sex dictates. But sex roles are still very powerful. Even though women want to be equals, they want to be pretty and do NOT want to be mistaken for a man. They have twice as much to worry about. And men are supposed to learn compassion and empathy, as well as continue being strong and smart and protective.

So it's all just a lot more complicated and confusing now. There was a reason our species divided everything into male and female -- it was simpler.

rick robotham dvm

Just ordered one for Rhett, my daughter (23 yrs old)
who has just finished pre-med at USC. Figured it be interesting for anyone for many reasons.

Peter Hoh

Well, I think that both boys and girls need some rough and tumble, daring and dangerous stuff in their childhoods. Not all boys and not all girls have an appetite for that, and I don't think it should be forced on children no matter their gender, but those who thirst for it ought to be able to avail themselves of it.


Females in other species know how to fight, as far as I know. In "Chimpanzee Politics" the females do a lot of fighting, but not the ritualized fighting males do when competing for alpha status.

Female mammals are famous for using violence to protect their babies.

I'm sure human females evolved with the ability to fight, alhough males were always, or almost always, the official warriors.

According to "Our Kind" by Marvin Harris, as societies became larger and more complex, and needed ever more land for agriculture, they became more warlike. As war became more important, the status of males increased and women eventually became oppressed.

An obvious example is traditional Muslim society, where women have no power and contribute nothing except sex and offspring.

But in more primitive societies, women had some power and value. The ones I have read about, however, were all relatively peaceful internally and fighting was mostly verbal. Maybe that's because human weapons are so deadly internal fighing becomes taboo.


Fascinating. As far as anticipating the underlying message for girls that might be present in this movement, I think you should really write the book you called "The Harmless, Helpless, Demure Book for Girls." Imagine the opportunities for powerful commentary!

And just to show a bit of my own gender assumptions based on certain behaviors or language, I was shocked to discover that your commenter 'realpc' is a woman. During all the previous discussions on your blog, I assumed a male identity!


Because male is the default. Everyone assumes everyone is male, and I just let them.

My intellectual "self" is not female -- I am not a pacifist or a feminist -- so I don't really want my web identity to be female.

On the other hand, I am definitely an advocate for holistic philosophy, which is definitely non-mainstream. Men are drawn to the influential mainstream ideas, where you can get power and money.

So in that sense, being a dissenter from non-holistic science and medicine, I might be a typical female.


I grew up in the 1960s in a working class neighborhood. I couldn't tell you what the girls did -- boys stuck with boys and we never gave a single thought to what the girls were doing. We boys had a blast though.

It is obvious that "Dangerous Book for Boys" is selling so well due to baby boomer nostalgia for the "good old days, when boys were boys." But it strikes a chord with the kids too. I have two sons who are in the target market and they love it.


Actually, on reflection, I do remember what the girls were doing: skipping rope. They alwasy seemed to be skipping rope.


Danny -- interesting idea, to actually write "The Harmless, Helpless, Demure ..."


I'm sure Gabe (and I) would love the book... ;)

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

New on FacTotem, my Natural History Blog

Jacques' Story: Escape From the Gulag

The AmbivAbortion Rant

Debating Intelligent Design


  • Listed on Blogwise

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2004