Have you ever seen postage stamps celebrating bondage? What about homoeroticism? This September, Finland’s postal service Itella Posti Oy will showcase both in a series of stamps celebrating the “confident and proud homoeroticism” of the pornographic artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland.
Laaksonen, who died in 1991 at the age of 71, was a master of the male form and eroticism.
Not only is Itella Posti Oy releasing these stamps for public use this autumn, the country’s Postal Museum is simultaneously featuring a number of works by the artist. This is especially shocking for me, given that I live in the United States, where the most brutalizing enforcer of censorship was the U.S. Postal Service, which was empowered by Congress in 1873 to suppress “obscene” and “immoral” literature and other “articles.” The nonsense was so deeply rooted, it lasted well into Generation X.
And though we have done better than Finland in areas such as marriage quality, the U.S. is, in many ways, still dealing with the legacy of Anthony Comstock.