April 16, 2014

Finland issues stamps honoring an artist whose "sleek sado-masochistic drawings with abundant amounts of beefy male nudity" portrayed "a sensual life force and being proud of oneself."

The first quote in this post title is the way the NYT described the work of Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland, and the second quote is from someone in Finland who chose the particular images for the stamps, who added: "There is never too much [sensual life force and being proud of oneself] in this northern country."

I'm showing more of the stamps than the NYT saw fit to print in its pages, though it did link here, where I got this:



The NYT just had a cropped image of the man on the left, in the center. The cropped image includes the emphatically glistening nipple. As for the image on the right, the NYT says it "depicts a mustachioed man staring out from below a pair of muscled naked buttocks." 

Staring out from below, indeed. "Why is that mustachioed man staring at us from behind a naked ass, Mommy?," I imagine a child asking, as she picks up the mail somewhere in Finland. Mommy says: "Why, darling, it's because we're living in a northern country, and our government cares very much about our life force and our pride in ourselves. Doesn't this make you feel alive and proud, sweetheart, in spite of having to live in Finland?"

I'm sorry. That's a very unrealistic scenario. No child would use the NYT-y phrase "mustachioed man staring out from below a pair of muscled naked buttocks." 1. "Mustachioed" is a silly word, particularly silly when — from what I've seen so far — every man Tom of Finland depicted has a mustache. 2. Are those buttocks particularly "muscled," or is the NYT just mindlessly crediting Tom with making his men even more attractive than he was obviously straining to make them? 3. The bodiless head isn't really in a "staring out from behind" relationship with the headless body. It's more of a surreal image in which the head takes the place of what would be a very large scrotum.

Those are my insights from the northern country of Wisconsin, where blogging random items early in the morning is enough to stir my sensual life force and make me proud of myself.

37 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

I think Italy needs to print a series of stamps that they think "portray a sensual life force" based on the album covers of Fausto Papetti (link NSFW!).

David said...

Imagine the same images with a man and a woman. The woman can replace either figure.

Then consider what the reaction to that would be.

EDH said...

Even their chins have butts on them.

Nonapod said...

Hmmm...I didn't know Titus worked for the Finnish government.

Big Mike said...

You're getting to enjoy making your site NSFW.

PeterK said...

so when will the US LGBTWHATEVER crowd push the US Postal Service to issue a set of these?

john said...

I wonder how such a stamp would fare on letter to, say, Saudi Arabia.

Bob Boyd said...

Good Lord! What's next? Grown men in shorts?

virgil xenophon said...

Nonapod for the win!

Strelnikov said...

Maybe the US can issue a "Cruising" memorial stamp to coincide with this.

Freeman Hunt said...

Racy stamps? Idiocracy.

"Huh huh, porn stamps, huh huh."

Howard said...

PeterK:

I agree, it's only fair and balanced.
Homo Kryptonite Stamps

sydney said...

For some reason that stamp makes me think of Nazis

Mark O said...

San Francisco 1977

Andy Freeman said...

Tom of Finland actually is from Finland?

Is there only one Tom in Finland?

Andy Freeman said...

> For some reason that stamp makes me think of Nazis

Finland was a German ally during WWII but the fact that the Soviet Union invaded them may have had something to do with that.

Putin has said that he'd like to reclaim some of the land that the USSR didn't get to keep from that confrontation.

jr565 said...

And we are supposed to take gays seriously why?

Skeptical Voter said...

Who knew there were homos in Helsinki?

SJ said...

@Andy,
[History_Nerd_Mode]

I think the Winter War between Finland and USSR began when the USSR and Germany were still allies. The USSR and Germany had a secret agreement about "spheres of influence" that put Finland in the Soviet sphere.

The Winter War was over before the Germans turned on the USSR and invalidated the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

I don't know if US/UK/France-in-exile/etc took sides in the Winter War. Thus, it is technically separate from the global War that became World War II.
[/History_Nerd_Mode]

The stamp looks strange. I can't tell whether the resemblance to fascistic uniforms is intentional or accidental.

like @David, I wonder what the response would be if the character in front were a woman.

MadisonMan said...

Tom of Finland actually is from Finland?

Coming soon to a theater near you

Jim said...

I just hope they are self-adhesive. No way I could lick that. NTTAWWIT

Ann Althouse said...

"And we are supposed to take gays seriously why?"

For the same reason you should take heteros seriously despite Vargas.

Ann Althouse said...

It's just some illustrator's cartoon vision of what is physically attractive in a sexual partner.

What if you were about that good at putting onto paper what your idealized sexual partner would look like?

Do you not think it would be equally sentimental and ludicrous?

n.n said...

Clearly the Finns enjoy too much dissociation of risk. To evolutionary dysfunction and beyond.

jr565 said...

For the same reason you should take heteros seriously despite Vargas.


I should have clarified by saying And we are supposed to take gays seriously why? When those promoting gayness as something we're supposed to be tolerating and/or assuming is a civil right make stamps of a guy who looks like he's about to give another guy a blowjob, or a picture of a guy dressed like one of the Village People dominating a sub. That's the best they can come up with for promoting gayness?
Have a stamp of famous gay person looking normal

jr565 said...

How about a stamp of a guy with a massive erection and his lover getting pumped in the butt with it?

Lydia said...

About that Nazi "feel" of Tom of Finland's drawings:

"He later attributed his fetishistic interest in uniformed men to encounters with men in army uniform, especially soldiers of the German Wehrmacht serving in Finland at that time. 'In my drawings I have no political statements to make, no ideology. I am thinking only about the picture itself. The whole Nazi philosophy, the racism and all that, is hateful to me, but of course I drew them anyway—they had the sexiest uniforms!' "

No official in Finland knows this? If they do, why on earth would they approve of using them for stamps?

Robert Cook said...

"How about a stamp of a guy with a massive erection and his lover getting pumped in the butt with it?"

There are plenty of Tom of Finland drawings that depict just that.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Well, the USPS could honor the YMCA with a stamp....

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Insight? More like hindsight.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
There are plenty of Tom of Finland drawings that depict just that.s

Is Finland going to turn those into stamps?

Alex said...

Cook - ugh.

Paul said...

Next they will issue stamps showing the Christian Cross of Jesus being pissed on (but never ever will they do that to any Muslim holy object.)

Slowly Europe goes down the decadence drain.

No wonder Putin thinks he can take the Ukraine.

Freeman Hunt said...

So are we going to have R. Crumb stamps with naked women anytime soon?

Carnifex said...

The Wehrmacht gets a bad name for the abuses carried out by the Nazi's. The professional soldiers of the Wehrmacht were some of the finest ever. Rommel, Clausewitz, Guderian, etc. And their uniforms were some of the snazziest. The moral of a finely turned out troop cannot ever be underestimated.

Why queers have such a fascination with the Wehrmacht mufti is their conflating the professional with their sadomasochistic fantasies about Nazis in general. I think it indicates a very deep self loathing, probably instilled by a society that rejected them as youths. I would hope, as they tend to become more normalized, that the leather/nazi crowd would diminish. But in truth, what i hope for and what i believe are two different things.

But that's why God made chocolate and vanilla.

Was that a deep enough thought for and ol' right wing atavist carpenter with no edumacation to speak of?

ps. apologies to Hans Guderian if I mispelled your name...to lazy to look it up.

Robert Cook said...

"So are we going to have R. Crumb stamps with naked women anytime soon?"

That would be a great idea! (They wouldn't necessarily have to be of naked women...he draws plenty of other stuff.)

Unknown said...

Freeman Hunt: So are we going to have R. Crumb stamps with naked women anytime soon?

Headless naked women, if you really want to go for maximum psychosexual "ugh" power in R. Crumb's work. I definitely wonder about Aline's psychological stability, given some of the material.