picked up this funny paperback whilst thrifting a few weeks ago and was going to add it to the shop, but decided i better keep it for awhile. white collar zoo by clare barnes, jr. published by doubleday & company, inc in garden city, new york, 1949.
"attention, animal lovers! mr. clare barnes, jr., an art director in one of the larger manhattan advertising agencies, was, in line of duty, rummaging through a bunch of animal photographs one day when an interesting thought struck him. "they reminded me of people in our office," he says. he dismissed this notion as not germane to his task - something to do with a cigarette campaign - but came back to it later, as the starting point for a far more valuable project. he ordered several thousand pictures of animals from photographers who specialize in zoological portraiture and, from these, winnowed seventy or eighty on the basis of resemblance to office types, faithful reflection of office life, variety, humor, and all-round social significance. this book, which take the reader, or beholder, through an unusually rice nine-to-five working day, is the result...
the prevailing temper, it must be confessed, is bearish, but barnes is a yale man, and there is a gleam in the darkness. for one thing, he has dished up a number of pretty girls, generally disguised as cats or chickens, and generally in fixes that make you want to tickle their alarmed whiskers or smooth their ruffled feathers. for another, by presenting his personnel as animals, of which everyone is notoriously fond, he has, paradoxically, humanized them. sympathy is the paramount reaction to a board chairman represented as a lion, a department head as a bear, a rich client as a hippopotamus, or a senior partner as a hog. even george gallup seems lovable as a bewildered guinea pig - a nice reversal of roles, by the way. still, it is hard to say whether mr. barnes has struck a blow for or against american business. ambivalence is the hallmark of journalistic integrity....these business beasts posed in all innocence, and the sociological treatise which they animate is the better for it.
all of the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely intentional."
barnes published a few more along the same lines. i'd love to come across the other two in my thrifting travels.