Guardian of Morals

Louis Croteau (seated, holding the magazine) was Secretary of the New England Watch and Ward Society, which was initially known as the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice. It was this society's self-appointed job to identify and root out filth wherever it reared its ugly head. These were the folks responsible for getting Lady Chatterly's Lover banned.

During the 1930s, the focus of the Society shifted to burlesque shows. A Washington Times article (reviewing the book Banned in Boston) notes:

The downtown entertainment district, including the Old Howard, one of the most celebrated burlesque palaces of the city, became the society’s glittering new target. Watch and Ward investigators diligently made weekly visits to various shows, documenting each shimmying and grinding performance in detailed reports.

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

In the picture above, taken in 1943, Croteau critically eyes a Varga girl illustration in Esquire magazine, as the attorney for the magazine looks over his shoulder. Surprisingly, Croteau testified on behalf of Esquire, arguing that the magazine was decent fare. Perhaps all the burlesque shows he had sat through had, by then, made him more appreciative of a little skin.
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 25, 2014
     Category: Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No’s

I think I've mentioned this before but the fine, upstanding, church-going, law abiding folk of Hannibal, Mo once sought to ban Adventures of Tom Sawyer from their public library which is/was just down the street from Becky Thatcher's house and the infamous whitewashed fence.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/25/14 at 09:34 AM
I always ask the question about what such "moral guardians" do within the privacy of their own homes. If they have the "right" to ask such questions of me, I have the same.

Think For Yourself - Question Authority
Posted by KDP on 02/25/14 at 10:47 AM
Varga was awesome.
Posted by F.U.D. on 02/25/14 at 12:35 PM
Maybe by this time he had figured out that the Varga girls were - well - "Artwork" comparable to Peter Paul Reubens' work.
Posted by tadchem on 02/25/14 at 01:28 PM
You gotta love that little smirk of a smile on his face.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 02/25/14 at 02:04 PM
I think it's more likely that he was slid a large enough bribe.
Posted by Sebastian on 02/25/14 at 05:07 PM
These "Moral Guardians" often had their own list of sins to cover-up.
Posted by Gator Guy on 02/25/14 at 07:28 PM
The most critical 'moral guardians' are generally the ones with the most experience with immoral behavior.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/25/14 at 08:34 PM
I guess they weren't able to save me from myself.

Oddly, I didn't think that Vargas had any redeeming qualities (I hated the "witticisms" tossed in), so the guardians of public purity parted company with me in that regard as well.

Those guys are turning in their graves now.
Posted by Harvey on 02/25/14 at 09:56 PM
Freedom of the press?! :coolsmile:
Posted by Tyrusguy on 02/25/14 at 10:05 PM
Like many other areas, zealots give censorship a bad name.

Good censorship (and yes, I believe there is such a thing) creates a kinder, gentler, better society.

Want to look at naked women? Buy a magazine which shows them -- don't demand the 'right' to have those those pictures plastered on every street corner.

Want to provide adult entertainment? Open an adult theater -- don't advertise it near schools so you can make 36% more by raking in the lunch money of 12-year-old boys.

It's wrong to think decent censors aren't human -- what they find inappropriate for public display has nothing to do with what their activities in the privacy of their own homes.

Sadly, overzealous censors who are indiscreet freaks ruin the concept of maintaining basic decency in public.
Posted by Phideaux on 02/26/14 at 07:45 AM
"Good censorship (and yes, I believe there is such a thing) creates a kinder, gentler, better society."
The above could have been written by any "good" Nazi!
Free people want and need a free press!
:coolmad: :coolsmile:
Posted by Tyrusguy on 02/26/14 at 10:19 AM
Who guards the guardians?
Self-appointed guardians or other zealots are the scum of the earth!
Posted by BMN on 02/26/14 at 01:46 PM
Anyone with the capacity for rational thought understands the difference between freedom of the press and foul-mouthed gits pandering to perverts for a paycheck.

The real problem with self-appointed guardians is that the alternative is institutional ones who can't be ignored when they go too far.
Posted by Phideaux on 02/26/14 at 06:55 PM
It is the censors job to make sure you think and like what society approves and nothing else. 1984 1984 1984 1984 1984
Posted by F.U.D. on 02/27/14 at 04:37 AM
"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." - Robert Heinlein
Posted by tadchem on 02/27/14 at 02:19 PM
Anybody here do Pinterest? They have a nasty habit of removing pins that they find objectionable. Too many of those and you're history! Art, however, gets a pass. So a pornographic drawing will remain while a topless lady will be removed. A censor's job must be tough...
Posted by Dave Plechaty on 02/28/14 at 03:38 AM
Pity those thrust into the role through no fault of their own. Like NFL referees who might have to censor the use of "nigger" and "faggot" on the playing field. Or the IRS agent who has to try and determine whether a potential tax-exempt organization is using the correct type of political speech.
Posted by RobK on 03/03/14 at 12:21 PM
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