I’m thrilled to have Obscenity Rules featured today on Vintage Sleaze, one of my favorite blogs, and a tremendous archive of images, texts, and stories from the sordid midcentury smut world. I’m not sure exactly what Jim Linderman’s research methods are at VS, but they’re impressive—we’re not talking Google image searches here, we’re talking deep collector knowledge. So it’s an honor to be included in its ranks; for my part, I shared a few images that were previously unpublished, to the best of my knowledge, including mug shots of David Alberts and his wife, Violet Stanard.
Alberts was the Los Angeles smut-merchant whose local case was fused with Samuel Roth’s federal case in Roth v. U.S., so that Justice Brennan’s opinion would apply at all judicial levels. I sent Jim a mugshot of Alberts without glasses, which I found in the records of the smut-busting Kefauver Committee at the National Archives; for variety’s sake, here’s one with glasses:
Speaking of Brennan, I discussed him a bit more in an interview last month—apparently I’ve been doing a somewhat crummy job of updating here, because Obscenity Rules was the December pick of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, which was a delight. Interview here, talking about Roth, Brennan, and the ongoing, if dormant, threat of obscenity laws.
While I’m getting caught up, one more moment of real personal excitement came last month when I contributed a guest post at Temple of Schlock, the long-running zine-turned-blog. I’ve been a reader for years, so when I came across some archival material related to the lost 1968 Citizens for Decent Literature antiporn film Target Smut, I compiled it into a long-form narrative piece for TOS. I submitted archival images from my years spent chasing CDL’s paper trail around the country for my dissertation, and editor Chris Poggiali (a stone expert in lost films and their paper trails) added some great images, too. I was pretty happy with the piece, “Target Smut: In Search of a Lost Anti-porn Classic.”
It’s one thing to publish a peer-reviewed academic journal article (I actually considered trying to spin Target Smut into one, but then decided to just have fun with it), but a whole different (and frankly, more satisfying) level of squee to write for places like Vintage Sleaze and Temple of Schlock (and their “endangered list,” at that—my favorite posts there!). My thanks to Jim and Chris, and the folks at the ABFFE.