Pete LaBarbera

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Comstockery in the 21st Century

If we can thank Anthony Comstock, founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and famed censor, for nothing else, there is this: much of what we know about the sexual subcultures of 19th-century New York is thanks to the efforts of Comstock. Much of the Society's intelligence on the moral depravity of the time came from the personal efforts of Comstock, who went to the fleshpots of the city himself to observe the offenses to common decency and recorded them in meticulous detail to be included in the Society's reports. For this, at least, we can thank him, and perhaps advocate that he be let out of whatever hellpit he's roasting in now, for a few seconds each millenia.

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