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Category Archives: “Decency”

New York Times, July 3, 1871. There are only two ways to get a significant pay raise in academe: accept an offer from another university, or use such an offer to shake down one’s current employer for more money. Judging from this story, the principle goes back a good ways, but there was a time when one had to pretend that one’s motives were other than pecuniary.

Fort Worth Gazette, June 28, 1891. Classic exhibitionism is sometimes referred to as the “hands-off” paraphilia, but this Jack was that exceptional weenie wagger who couldn’t keep his mitts to himself.
I was bemused to discover this Wikipedia page whose discussion of exhibitionism is almost exclusively devoted to women flashing their breasts. I’m like, huh? But then I got to thinking about the idea of female exhibitionism and I started wondering whether the gender distribution of this ultra-common paraphilia isn’t closer to even than common sense would suggest. Unlike men, women can get naked for pay, and the “victims” of female flashers would be much less likely to report the incident, or even register it as an expression of sexual deviance for that matter. Then there’s the whole issue of Halloween to consider. Perhaps the female of the species is hiding in plain sight. I suppose the whole question ultimately hinges on the intent of the exhibitionee (—ess?).

Columbus Inquirer, September 24, 1908. “Possessed of unlimited resources for the gratification of his pleasure”—hot dog! This is another item ripe for adaptation for a handlebar-mustache version of Law & Order. The episode would cold-open with an Italian balloon vendor stepping into the bushes to relieve himself and tripping over the murdered monsignor, natch. Read more.

Grand Forks Herald, May 8, 1910. The Edwardian era had its garden variety libertines and seducers, but Oom the Omnipotent was operating on an entirely separate plane. Though it was also a pretty crowded plane, according to this reportage. Read more.

Kansas City Star, December 5, 1905. “Flashlight camera” was the original term for a camera equipped with a flash. The light was generated by the explosion of an exposed quantity of magnesium powder. It was a loud, smoky and dangerous technology. Photographers were known to set themselves on fire, or start fires when shooting indoors. But flash photography itself was widely seen as an intolerable invasion of privacy. Read more.

The Daily Inter-Ocean, May 22, 1879. In today’s history lesson, we trace gay nightlife in Chicago back to the first term of the Hayes administration. Read more.

Norwich Courier, November 8, 1826. I love the white-gloved, pornography-for-Puritans delicacy of that two-sentence preamble. “We shall barely mention some particulars as we understood them” is also quite good. Read More »

The [Columbia, S.C.] State, April 28, 1897. A fashion faux pas sets off shock waves among the quality of Columbia, South Carolina. Read More »

grand rapids eve press march 22 1907Grand Rapids Evening Press, March 22, 1907. This strikes me as legislative overkill. Seems like there’d be less economic derangement and dislocation if Senator McKnight simply brought his missus to live in Little Rock full-time. Or if that would cramp his style too much, maybe the railway could build her a special rail car with a lily-white hydraulic lift.

It’s a weird thing about coverage of Jim Crow stuff in old papers–some stuff arbitrarily gets lampooned, but it’s no crazier than the stuff that doesn’t.

I wonder if there’s a hidden meaning to the billing being “referred to the department of agriculture”?

tucson cit 6 4 06Tucson Citizen, June 6, 1904. I’m surprised to learn that Youngstown once had an “aristocratic” sector. I got stranded there once and it struck me as an undifferentiated shit hole.