🔞 Exclusively Fanatics (1857)
Onlyfans made headlines last month after announcing a policy change to appease puritanical payment processing companies, a move that would imperil the livihoods of performers on the service.
In 1857, 164 years earlier a similar dynamic played out. The early days of photography saw the emergence of enterprising women selling admiring men erotic photographs, in response puritanical governments treated them as petty criminals, fining and even jailing them.
We found the above report titled ‘Abuse of Photography’ covering a Paris police bust and arrest of two men and eight “more or less pretty” women for trading in ‘obscene photographs.’ The judge in the case said the fines for the offense “would certainly be paid by their admirers” so the women were jailed instead.
🕰 Too Many Clocks (1886)
In the early 18th century Eli Terry pioneered mass clock production, Seth Thomas would be an early hire and would eventually start the famous Clock Company bearing his name. Both men would help usher in the “era of cheap clocks” turning them from expensive luxury items to abundant commodities, some didn’t think this was a good thing.
We found an article decrying the abundance of clocks in 1886:
”A man or a women is in luck if they do not have a clock sawed off on them once or twice a week… ….clocks come with baking powder, dry goods, cigars, and about everything that is sold… …none keep the time.”
We did a longer breakdown of the piece here:
🎺 Jazzonomics (1920)
In the 1920s there was a labor shortage, in many fields of work. In this clipping from 1920, Jazz was blamed for a labor shortage in farming. At the time Jazz was accused of causing many societal ills, including: suicide and promiscuity - so why not labor shortages too? Has anyone blamed the current labor shortage K-POP yet?
📖 Screamtime (1888)
Worrying about screentime is a cliche parental worry of the 21st century, but what did parents worry about before screens? Screams! This 1888 article posits that children sing too much, too loud and too often:
“They are encouraged, even forced to sing, when they should be resting, or waiting for the voice, that is, the vocal organs, to develop naturally.”’
It calls the songs sung in schools and churches “little better than screaming” warning that their voices would ruined if they were encouraged to “Holler.” The author would no doubt have appreciated TikTok a service that encourages kids to lipsync instead.
💉 An Absurd Prejudice (1875) • 🎙 ARTICLE READING
📝 We had one of our favourite pandemic related articles read aloud by a voice actor, we’ve shared this article before - a recap for our new subscribers below:
164 years ago this New York Times writer couldn’t believe people were still against vaccinations, because they’d already been in use for almost a century:
"One might suppose that the popular prejudice against vaccination might have died out by this time, considering it has been practice for nearly a century”
It describes the anti-vaxx community of 1875 and it sounds awfully familiar, history doesn’t repeat, human psychology does:
“It seems useless to quote science, and a long and successful practice, against such dense stupidity as this. The ignoramus has a prejudice against the regular practitioner, and, with cruel kindness he kills his friend while trying to protect him against the art of a learned physician”
🎙 Hear the entire article read aloud by a voice actor in the newest episode of our podcast Pessimists Aloud:
🚑 Dr. Death (1918)
As reports of medical workers refusing measures to slow the pandemic gain attention, it is worth remembering this happened in 1918 too. The below report noted that 106 people had been arrested for failing to wear mask, among them two doctors:
🎙 Pessimists Aloud Podcast
Hear article readings from the archive, performed by a professional voice actors with old digitized records as backing music, crackle and all!