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."

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"So you like Gladiator movies?"


Oh, jeez.


Serious reponses are also welcome. I'm really curious whether that's a "pastoral face" ("Come in, my child, what's troubling you today?" You can hear the soft, receptive tone of voice that goes with it, inviting confidences), and it raises the interesting question of facial expressions and mannerisms that go with certain professions.


Seriously...I suppose there is such a face and voice, but just from my own experience it seems more like an "actorly" pose than anything. I've seen that genial demeanor used more to deflect serious discussion than to encourage it, which is a source of frustration, because, growing up, they often assumed a therapeutic function as well as a spiritual one.


I think it conveys "I'm glad that you have come to talk to me, so I cn help you. But I'm also sad, because you are so much less than perfect."

Certainly the facial expression is very common among those men of the cloth who are not primarily showmen. But then, I admit to doubts that the show-boating types are motivated primarily by their faith. Somehow ego seems to be most of what's driving them.


It definitely is a disarming face, of approachability, of gentleness. In animal terms it would be described as an expression of subordination, but on the face of an authority figure -- a very potent combination, I would think. That sort of male motherliness that pastors and maybe rabbis too can exude. (Women ministers are too recent a development to have as ritualized a manner, I think.)


wj... but, sad because you are so much less than perfect? As compared to ... Christ? Adam? Themselves?

Hell, i've never had a priest convey that to me in either look or speech. Do you really feel that you are being judged? I mean, yeah- i had a favourite priest that most folks couldn't stomach because he was such a perfectionist w/a chip on his shoulder. He taught me how to strive to be better- to be more open to the Holy Spirit, etc. Spiritual growth. Yet, he had some kind of forceful relationship w/an 18 yr old kid(18 is a consenting adult, in my eyes, anyway). I say ~some kind~ because i wonder if maybe the kid set him up to get dough(i think that could happen- even as other priests were sick perves in need of castration).

I think the priest looks like Elmo-- warm, open and a little fuzzy.


I think some of you may be reading way too much into two photographs. In the middle of a national dialog about racial divisions, many of which are based on stereotyping, you appear to be assuming two pictures are characteristic of a diverse group of people, then (in some cases) projecting personalities onto the men behind the pictures based on a snapshot. If so, then those projections say more about you than about the men pictured.

I have known two ministers well in my life, and a few other priests and ministers more than casually. Their expressions run the gamut of emotions, and their theology, people skills, politics, and personalities vary greatly. That said, to be a priest, minister, or rabbi is to be constantly exposed to people’s foibles - often variations of the same mistakes -often at the worst times. Perhaps the look you are talking about is nothing more than an attempt to remain open and fresh, and not overreact as we share problems which seem unique and unparalleled to us, but are all too common to a man of the cloth who hears them everyday.


The pictures could also reveal something about the New York Times's choice of pictures, or of ministers.


I think their expressions say, "I'm thinking about my anal discomfort much more than this conversation we're having right now."


I've rarely had a priest give me that look. But then, most of the priests I've known have been friends or acquaintances, not spiritual advisors.

I was trying to evaluate the expression, not the job -- although the job informs the meaning of the expression.


"This fucking collar is going to cut my head off if I nod too suddenly. What do they make these things out of, anyhow? Cardboard or chicken wire? I feel like the fucking Tin Man. Why can't I be in a denomination where I get to wear a dashiki like that Rev. Wright?"

Sorry, as a secularist I'm not much help.


Those pastoral "looks," and the voices that go with them, are why I stopped going to church and probably won't be back. I didn't much care for Mr. Rogers either.

Submitted Soul on the Loose

It is a self-taught if not instinctual (see Chimpanzee Politics by Francis De Waal), often attributed to the osmosis of grace (belief in, or at least a sincere reverence for, miracles). It is a common step in the development of the pastoral personality--the mothering FATHER. Could be perceived as a self-deluding and self-mystifying stance, but again, it is often very sincere (ref. Oscar Wilde); it is the face of acceptance and humility and projection of compassion.

It says: I am a man in submission (like a virgin) to the Holy Commission, the bride of my Lord, I am sent by God. He will help you---HE will help you---perhaps, HE will use me to help you.


That rings true.


Might be totally off-topic, but I got a kick out of this - a poll on 'who's the biggest pig':

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