Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400


13 December 2012


This page printed from



This presentation deals with the idea that a great amount of anthropological information is available in cartoons (and other visuals).  Anthropology can be a "fun" discipline (as well as "funny") and I like the words of Malinowski (born in 1884), who died in 1942 (the year I was born): "Anthropology is the science of the sense of humour."  In Julius E. Lips, The Savage Strikes Back, 1937, page vii.  I have presented numerous forums since my first one in 1973 (this is now my 38th), and for more information please see "Pacific Travelers" presented with "Sadie" Urbanowicz:

Also look at "Final Words And Cruising Into Retirement" from 2009:

I also ask you to please consider the following words:

"You are what you know. Fifteenth-century Europeans 'knew' that the sky was made of closed concentric crystal spheres, rotating around a central earth and carrying the stars and planets. That 'knowledge' structured everything they did and thought, because it told them the truth. Then Galileo's telescope changed the truth....Today we live according to the latest version of how the universe functions. This view affects our behaviour and thought, just as previous versions affected those who lived with them [stress added]." James Burke, 1985, The Day The Universe Changed (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company), page 9. 

"Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." The character Albus Dumbledore, in J. K. Rowling, 2003, Harry Potter And the Order of The Phoenix (NY: Scholastic Press), page 826.


"[Old] Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth." The character Albus Dumbledore in J. K. Rowling, 2005, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (NY: Scholastic Books), page 564.


"There are many things about life that do not change with age. Older people have some advantage over the young because, having been young and having been old, they know both ages. Young people, on the other hand, can only guess what it must like to be old. I know exactly what it is like to be young and what it is like to be old. I am aware of myself now and remember what I was like then [stress added]." Andy Rooney, 2002, Common Nonsense Addressed to the Reading Public (NY: Public Affairs), page 161.

"Age is no guarantee of efficiency." The character Q, as portrayed by Ben Whishaw in Skyfall (2012).  AND "Youth is no guarantee of innovation."  The character James Bond, as portrayed by Daniel Craig in Skyfall (2012).

The quote from Malinowski reminded me of the following 1897 statement of Mark Twain (1835-1910): "There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages [stress added].”  (Following the Equator:  A Journey Around the Globe, 1897)  I have used the following words before, but is worth repeating for this web page (for those of you who ventured this far on the web page):

"A play [or a classroom lecture or a public presentation] should make you understand something new. If it tells you what you already know, you leave it as ignorant as you went in [stress added]." (The character John Wisehammer. In Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good [based upon the novel The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally], 1989, Act II, sc. 7, page 89.]


Perhaps the term "ignorant" is too harsh but hopefully you have some new ideas and information from the presentation on 13 December 2012.  The above quotation from Keneally was originally used in 2004 and is available at:

That presentation was entitled "The Darwin Project: 1996 to 2004!" and was for the Tenth Annual Conference on Learning and Teaching sponsored by CELT (Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching), October 21-22, 2004, at CSU, Chico. The four Darwin videos created on this campus are available at:

In the 2004 web paper you will see that I used the following words from the 1940 Pulitzer Prize winner and 1962 Nobel Prize winner, John Steinbeck (1902-1968), and those words are still appropriate today; although Steinbeck was writing about Darwin-as-naturalist, they are also appropriate for Urbanowicz-as-cartoon-user:

"In a way, ours is the older method, somewhat like that of Darwin on the Beagle. He was called a 'naturalist'. He wanted to see everything, rocks and flora and fauna; marine and terrestrial. We came to envy this Darwin on his sailing ship. He had so much room and so much time. ... This is the proper pace for a naturalist. Faced with all things he [or she] cannot hurry. We must have time to think and to look and to consider [stress added]." John Steinbeck, 1951, The Log From The Sea of Cortez [1967 printing: Pan Books: London], page 123.

Retirement, or even partial-retirement, provides one with the "time to think and to look and to consider."  I hope you enjoyed this page and the presentation this date (if you were there).

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WHY MAN CREATES / The Edifice: A series of explorations, episodes, & comments on creativity (1970) [CSU, Chico:  BF 408 W592 1970]

Mumble, mumble, roar!.

The lever.

Harry, do you realize you just invented the wheel?

I know, I know.

Bronze, Iron.


All was in chaos 'til Euclid arose and made order.


What is the good life?

And how do you lead it?

Who shall rule the state? 

The philosopher king

The aristocrat.

The people. 

You mean all the people?

What is the nature of the good?

What is the nature of justice?

What is happiness? 

Hail Caesar!

Roman law is now in session.

Allah be praised, I've invented the zero.


Nothing, nothing.

What is the shape of the earth?


What happens when you get to the edge?

You fall off.

Does the earth move?


The earth moves.

The earth is round.

The blood circulates.

There are worlds smaller than ours.

There are worlds larger than ours. 

Hey, whatya doing?

I'ma paintin' the ceiling.

Whatya doing?

I'ma paintin' the floor.

Darwin says man is an animal.


Man is not an animal.






Shall we start from the beginning?

I'm a bug, I'm a germ.

Louie Pasteur!

I'm not a bug, I'm not a germ. 

Think it will work Alfred?

Let's give it a try.

Whatya think

It worked.

All men are created equal....

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit....

Workers of the world....

Government of the people by the people....

The world must be made safe....

The war to end all wars....

A league of nations....

I see one third of a nation ill-housed....

One world....


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2005 [Reflections: For Professor William Loker's CSU, Chico ANTH 600 (Core Seminar in Anthropology), October 19.]

1991 I-1957.pdf [Sputnik 1, The First Artificial Satellite is Launched. Great Events From History II: Science And Technology Series, Volume 4 - 1952-1969, edited by Frank N. Magill (Pasadena/Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press), pages 1545-1550.]

1990f [Perspectives on Science Fiction and Science Fact, For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, March 8.)

1984a [The Role of "Good" Science Fiction and Space Applications and The Future. Space and Society: Challenges and Choices, edited by Anaejionu et al. (American Astronautical Society, San Diego, CA), Vol. 59: 309-329.]

1978 [Cultural Implications of Extraterrestrial Contact and the Colonization of Space. The Industrialization of Space: Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, edited byRichard A. Van patten, Paul Siegler, and E.V.B. Stearns (American Astronautical Society, San Diego, CA), Vol. 36, Part 2, Advances In The Astronautical Sciences, pages 785-797; originally presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the American Astronautical Society, San Francisco, CA, October 18-20, 1977.)

1977a [The Philosophical Implications of Science Fiction For The Teaching of Anthropology. The University Journal [CSU, Chico], Number 9, Fall, pages 16-20.]

1977b Evolution of Technological Civilizations: What is Evolution, Technology, and Civilization? (For the Symposium on "The Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence at NASA/Ames Research Center Moffett Field, California, February 24-25.)] Some specific words appeared in the program brochure and they have stayed with me ever since 1977. Stated by Dr. Lee DuBridge, President of CalTech, the provocative words were: "Either mankind is alone in the galaxy-or he is not; either alternative is mind-boggling."

1976 [Cultures: Fact or Fiction? For the California State University, Chico Anthropology House Forum known as "El Mundo" on November 11.)

1973 [Science Fiction. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, November 7, 1973.)

1968 [Comments on Bronislaw Malinowski. For a University of Oregon ANTH 507 Graduate Seminar, October 29, 1968.]  Utilized for ANTH 296 (History & Theory) at California State University, Chico, 1998.]

ADDITIONAL WEB SITES THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING (but first, consider these words from Gary Larson (born 1950):

"[If you don't understand a cartoon's joke], turn the page. Go on with your life. It could be that the cartoonist tried to be creative and blew it. Sometimes, when I hear the analysis people come up with [about Far Side comics], I think, 'They're shooting way too high. I wasn't trying to be that deep.'" []

On this page Larson also wrote:

"…please, please refrain from putting The Far Side out on the Internet. These cartoons are my "children," of sorts, and like a parent, I'm concerned about where they go at night without telling me. And, seeing them at someone's web site is like getting the call at 2:00 a.m. that goes, "Uh, Dad, you're not going to like this much, but guess where I am." I hope my explanation helps you to understand the importance this has for me, personally, and why I'm making this request." [Wikipedia] [] [GoComics][azcentral] [STU's Comic Strip Connection][Funpic] [Daryl Cagle's The Cagle Post:  Cartoons & Commentary][Dilbert by Scott Adams][Absolutely a MUST read for anyone who is currently teaching; or just interested in information "about the past!"  DO TAKE A LOOK at the 2016 list}  "This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree….."]

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to California State University, Chico

Copyright ©2012; all rights reserved by Charles F. Urbanowicz.


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