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The Curious Case of Toulouse Le Grandfig, Graphic Designer (Part Two)

Entry 2: Dictated: April 26, 1951 (continued from Part One)

For our first session, I thought I would try to understand Grandfig’s psychosis through the medium of his art. I brought in the artwork he had been working on for a hat-maker, and had him role-play what the characters were saying to one another. [Figure 8]

Hat dudesFrom recording of patient interview, April 26, 1951:

Dr. Cornelius: So what are the men in this first panel saying to one another Mr. Grandfig?

Gradfig’s voice: Hey Bob, how are things going with the new job?

Great Jim, I’ve just been assigned to CEO cleanup in sector 6.

Really, how’s that going?

Not well. They keep eating everyone. But at least I have this hat. Of course, it would be nice if it had a laser defense net too!

Dr. Cornelius: What is a laser defense net?

Grandfig: Something to keep the CEOs at bay. Long enough to find a baby or something to throw at them anyway.

Dr. Cornelius: What?

Grandfig: Should I do the next one?

Dr. Cornelius: Uh, I haven’t fully absorbed the first, but yes, let’s.

Grandfig: “Hey Steve how’s that hat feeling. Is the laser defense net uncomfortable?”

“Mrfpp, mdhgtr, pank mawlk … mipe.”

“Yeah, I had a cerebral embolism once too.”

Dr. Cornelius: So you think the man with the pipe had a cerebral embolism?

Grandfig: Of course not. Jones is an idiot.

[sound of heavy sigh]

Dr. Cornelius: How about this last one?

Grandfig: Oh, they’re in love.

[recording stops]

Apparently, Mr. Scott’s amateur diagnosis is correct. Clearly, there are repressed issues afoot, so for our next session, I asked Grandfig to create a painting of his family, and he produced Figure 9:

the family of T le G.

I administered 150 mg of thorazine immediately.

When Grandfig had calmed, I asked him why he was so obsessed with anthropophagy. Had he eaten people?

He was groggy, but he answered. “Not in this timeline Doctor. And in the Land of the Future, all I ever ate was one foot. One foot! You can’t be a cannibal if you eat one foot. Especially if you didn’t know it was a foot. You know I don’t mind telling you, I wish I’d never had my tail removed, then none of this would ever have happened.”

Entry 3: Dictated: April 27, 1951

Thanks for the thorazine!When I dropped by Grandfig’s secured room to see how his night went, I was surprised to see that he was gone. All that was left was a postcard and a small can of food. I ripped off the label, for the record.

The content of the postcard is clearly indicative of some kind of deep paranoia, probably brought about by eating a foot and/or being abused by homosexual Nazis. I must say, I was worried about the veiled threat that I would see Grandfig “in the future.”. The food was clearly mislabeled, as it turned out to be some kind of canned meat.

It was, however, delicious.

You can finds all sorts of canned meat here. My apologies to the authors of The Big Bus. Originally published June 2008.

The Curious Case of Toulouse Le Grandfig, Graphic Designer (Part One)


File #: 12-23571-X
Dr. Abe Cornelius
Bellevue Hospital — Psychiatric Triage Center

Entry 1: Dictated: April 25, 1951

The patient was brought into the hospital by several co-workers, including his immediate supervisor at Vandelay, Alderson, Pentergrast, Ilterton and Deckard, a mid-sized advertising company on Madison Avenue.

The Creative Director, Mr. Hillary Scott, introduced Mr. Grandfig to me, and said he was not only a renowned Dadaist, but that he had been working at his firm since late 1949 as a graphic artist.

It is worth examining Mr. Grandfig’s work history to get a sense of the progress of his current disorder.

When Grandfig began working at Vandelay, Alderson, Pentergrast, Ilterton and Deckard (VAPID), he claimed to have arrived in New York from “distant lands” and needed to earn some money. He began working on the Petri account, which needed an “offbeat” touch. According to Mr. Scott, “Toulouse had a great feel for the material, and the odd touches tickled the fancy of our client.”

[See Figure 1:]
Figure One: Rodents in cowboy boots

Mr. Scott added: “The Petri campaign was quite successful, though frankly, all those rodents wearing cowboy boots were kind of disturbing.”

Next Grandfig was put to work on the Arrow Shirts campaign, which was not as successful. Though he did not actually write the copy on this ad, Mr. Grandfig did inspire it with his artwork.

[See figure 2:]
Repressed homosexuality

According to Mr. Scott: “This ad was trying to show how free you feel wearing Arrow Shirts, but frankly, it just screams to me of repressed homosexuality. That’s probably why our client liked it so much.”

Side note for later: examine possibilities of paper exploring how psychiatric terms have entered common parlance to the denigration of our profession.

From there he was put on the Jantzen account, for which Grandfig painted a number of lovely women sporting Jantzen’s clingy (and to this psychiatrist’s mind) deviant bathing wear. This went well up until sometime late in January, when Mr. Grandfig replaced the copy on the ad with his own.

[See figure 3:]
Terrfied sunbather

What other survivors is he writing of? Survivors of the war? Are these troubling images the result of some kind of trauma suffered under the Nazis? I must explore this issue in depth.

After this gaffe, Grandfig was not given any more lettering work. Left with no actual language, Grandfig clearly subsumed his rage and paranoia into his actual artwork. One glance at these paintings for the Van Camp corporation will reveal the sinister and depraved undercurrent to his thoughts.

[Figure 4:]

None as alarming as this actual artwork, which Mr. Scott mimeographed for my records. [Figure 5.] Notice the label. Instead of saying “Van Camp’s Pork and Beans”, it clearly reads “Van Camp’s Long-Pork and Beans”. Luckily, Mr. Scott caught this artwork before it went into production.

“Actually, I was torn on whether to stop it or not,” Mr. Scott told me in our interview.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes, I thought it would be amusing to see what would happen. To see if anyone caught the reference.”

“But you decided against that?”

“Yes, but I have the original hanging in my office. It’s quite brilliant.”

Putting Mr. Scott’s artistic proclivities to the side for the moment, it must be pointed out that long-pork is a reference to cannibalism. Has Grandfig been a participant or witness to such a morally proscribed event? Perhaps the other “survivors” he spoke of have done such a thing. I have heard it was difficult in Europe after the war, but I had no idea it was so serious. Perhaps it only happened in Belgium.

Next, he was caught sneaking into the lettering room to change the text on this advert for some grocery firm.

[Figure 6:]
Your Meat Team

According to Mr. Scott, the issue was brought to a head when this advert for a Chase & Sanborn product went to press, was put on the product, and very nearly went to market.

[Figure 7:]
You can smell the rich baby flavor!

Mr. Scott felt it was safest to bring Grandfig to the hospital for his own safety as well as that of his firm, VAPID.

According to Scott: “I’m pretty sure the copy writers were going to kill him if he changed any more of their work.”

Continued in Part Two.

Many health care professionals are concerned about the proclivities of this funny firm.Originally published, June, 2008.

Still time to enter the Vintage Ads of Fictional Futures contest

There have been lots more great entries — I’ve got a sample below. You have until midnight on October 4th (that’s Monday) to get your entries in. Details on the contest and the full gallery can be found at the Vintage Ads of Fictional Futures page.

Title: Enjoy Slurm
Based on: Futurama
Title: Gonzo
Based on: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Soylent greent
Title: The Exciting New Soylent Green Bar
Based on: Solyent Green
Title: RealCrave: the small difference between mecha and glamour girl
Based on: AI
Alltop is already vintage.