The racy Xmas card

From my friend Steven Levine, in the mail yesterday, this racy vintage Christmas card:

Note the extraordinarily phallic nose, the implied erection, and the lame pun on raise, which caused Steven to write:

This card raises so many questions (about audience, about intent, and context, about culture, about religion) that I can’t even articulate one. So instead I’ll say: How about all those typefaces?

The card was never mailed, so we have no message to provide clues to the questions of audience and intent.

But it’s a commercial U.S. penny postcard, which means that it’s from between 1898 (when commercial postcards were first allowed in the U.S.) and 1951 (the postcard rate went up to 2 cents at the beginning of 1952).


4 Responses to “The racy Xmas card”

  1. The Ridger Says:

    Wow. This speaks to not just the commercialization of Christmas being anything but recent.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      If I recall from my childhood correctly (and am not just projecting back), there were plenty of complaints about the commercialization of Christmas in the 1940s and 1950s. Don’t know how far back these complaints go.

  2. John Baker Says:

    I think the lack of a message here is the dog that didn’t bark. This postcard has no obvious audience, and it is quite likely that postal inspectors would have seized it if it were actually mailed. Rather, it was probably a novelty gag item, meant to be purchased and appreciated, but not used for its nominally intended purpose.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      There certainly are tons of gag postcards from the period. Some of them — gags about vacation spots meant for the folks back home — clearly were meant to be mailed. Then there are wife jokes, fat jokes, and racy jokes on various topics: men chasing women, hookers, nudity (without showing naughty bits), and so
      on. As long as the images and language were suggestive rather than explicit, I’d imagine they could get through the U.S. mails. But of course they could also be purchased as gag gifts to hand to friends (almost always man to man) — as, in effect, illustrated naughty (but not explicitly dirty) jokes.

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