When news broke that the Finnish government would be commemorating Tom of Finland on a postage stamp, reaction in the Blogosphere was skeptical. Was it a hoax? True, Tom was a native son of Finland, as his name made clear, and he was undoubtedly the world’s foremost artist in his genre—which is of course the rub, since his genre cannot easily escape the rubric of pornography, indeed a porn subgenre that he largely pioneered whose subjects were men with exaggerated primary and secondary male characteristics going at it in pairs or in groups.
Anyhow, it turns out the stamps are authentic! Needless to say, they stop short of showing tumescent penises, but not by all that much. The decision clearly reflects Finland’s (the country’s) liberal attitudes toward sex in general, but one wonders if the stamps could also be timed as a rebuttal to Russia’s hard turn toward anti-gay intolerance. The country that was “Finlandized” during the Soviet era has rejoined enlightened Scandinavia and might just be flexing its cultural muscles—a good metaphor where Tom of F. is concerned—vis-à-vis its giant neighbor to the east after enduring something of a master-slave relationship.