I was twelve years old when I came across my step-father’s deck of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader cards. It was a deck of busty cheerleaders who just looked so happy to be there. Like all good cheesecake, I couldn’t resist flipping through the cards with no real purpose in mind. Beauty in small easy to handle cards just seemed right. You can manipulate cards, laying them out in arrangements that only make sense to you. Women became objects that can be traded, shuffled, laid out and put away.
Man, did my mom have a fit when she found out about those cards.
Which brings us to the wonderful book of ‘Stacked Decks’ from the Rotenberg Collection. It’s an illustrated history of naughty decks that cover the range from cheesecake decks, to risque humor decks to pinup art decks to outright nude decks. Crammed with examples of beautiful cards, the book does a good job of also covering the politics and inspirations of the times.
The historical view is what fascinates me most about this book. The author makes the argument that soldiers from WWII brought home erotic postcards from overseas, and naughty decks are an extension of those early porn treasures. He links it to the sexual revolution and makes a convincing case. Personally I think there were a dozen reasons for the sexual revolution but I’ll add this one to the list. You can certainly see the cards change through the decades as they create a flirty timeline of the American libido.
Humor seems to be porn’s reputable friend and that gets reinforced here. You can see the cards get a little less racy and then comedy becomes the excuse for things to heat up until we get to the pretty much pornographic cards of today. As a porn writer who started with writing parodies, I am also interested to see how humor is the ice breaker for erotica. I’m not sure if humor relaxes people into peeking at porn, or if humor relaxes the porn maker who can distance himself from his creations by saying its just for laughs.
I really can’t express how beautiful this book is. At a sticker price of $24.95, this is a wonderful value. Every page is a delight and some real care went into the layouts. This is a book made for fans by a fan and it shows.