I have a new blogspot entry on my “day of infamy” 1961 William and Mary Expulsion, here.
0 (for Introduction): actually, the famous 1890 essay in Harvard
Law Review by Supreme Court justices Brandeis and Warren had said:
"The protection of society must come mainly through a recognition of
the rights of the individual. Each man is responsible for his own acts
and omissions only. The common law law provides him with a weapon,
forged in the slow fire of the centuries and today fitly tempered to his
0 The notion of homosexuality as a “character disorder” (or “character flaw”) is apparently discussed in Roman Catholic and Vatican papers regarding the entries of gays into seminaries or the ordination of priests with “homosexual tendencies” (that is, including “latent homosexuals” as discussed in this chapter). See http://www.doaskdotell.com/controv/catholic.htm (especially the last footnotes).
The recent research into the growth and biological maturation of the brains of teenagers comes into consideration. Boys start the neural pruning process about age 12 or 13, roughly as puberty starts to be reached. I was aware of being “different” at around age 8, when I had conformity problems in grade school (and a third grade teacher pushing me to compete like a boy), about the same time I was aware of my musical talent. The music would provide a world of emotion and feeling but would abstract it in such a way that ongoing and complementary social contacts were not as necessary. I was more aware of erotic interests in “attractive young men” by about age 12. That is about when the pruning starts. From my point of view, normal social interaction, responsiveness and ordinary everyday empathy and the competitiveness that could later be expressed in heterosexuality – girl friends, dating, wife, children, lineage, “pedigree” – all of this was superfluous. I had what I needed, but others did not what from me what they felt they needed or were entitled to in return, reciprocally. The pruning process makes the personality focused and efficient on its “core business” – it is very much analogous to a company’s shedding workers when it downsizes and focuses more narrowly on its strengths. This sort of thing is always morally controversial, whenever done by either individuals or institutions. It is indeed ruthless. Perhaps this is related to what we recognize in medical and development circles as Asperger Syndrome, and what in more extreme forms becomes outright autism, especially in boys.
Christianity (especially in its Catholic forms – even as I was raised Baptist) seems to be trying to address this by saying, neglect of the everyday needs of others, even through one’s own intrinsic nature, is sin (the actual sin of “Sodom and Gomorrah”) and some people are less inclined to respond socially than others, and are thus victims of an “objective disorder” (however offensive this sounds). That is why they need God, why they need Jesus, and why there is salvation by Grace. But then, because of his own demons, whatever they are, anyone needs God. Is this the message of someone like Mel Gibson?
(See “Your Teenager’s Mind” by Nora Underwood, in the November 2006 issue of The Walrus, a Canadian publication.)
1 Evelyn Ruth Duvall, Facts of Life and Love for Teenagers (New York: Associated Press, 1956).
Associated Press provided a story on
1b The bizarre timing of the dean’s calling me in cannot be over-emphasized. William and Mary held classes as usual the Friday (Nov. 24) after Thanksgiving, 1961. I believe that I had an English class in Washington Hall at and a Physics recitation at . The dean probably expected me to find the note on my dorm door around and to report to Wren Hall immediately. I don’t recall where I was from until , when I returned to the dorm and found the handwritten note on the door. I believe that I arrived around and that my meeting with him lasted until around . He must have waited for me in his office for the two hours, and must have been very determined to confront me with something more important than legal patent medicines in a dorm room. So I now believe that he would have “asked” about the possibility of my homosexuality if I had not quickly tried to outflank him with the admission of just “latent homosexuality.” I think now that this was a “No Way Out” (after the 1987 movie) situation. The Dean must have been thinking something like “only child,” and certainly after I “told,” he must have thought of it as a family or lineage death sentence. That is how people saw things, at least until the mid or late Sixties (many people still see things that way today).
The book text says that my parents met me at Rogers Hall and that we walked
to the parking lot. Actually, I think my Mother me there and we walked to the
corner of Duke of Gloucester Street, perpendicular to the
1c Looking ahead to Chapter 4: If a soldier in the U.S. military today said that he or she was a “latent homosexual,” would the adjective “latent” rebut the presumption that the solider engages in homosexual acts or has a propensity to do so? (This refers to the wording of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy developed for gays in the military in 1993, to be covered later.) The “propensity” gets to be a problem. Actually, while living in Dallas in the 1980s I would meet an ex nuclear weapons officer who would tell me he was cashiered from the Army around 1969 for “latent homosexuality,” but as my experience in Chapter 2 will show, the military generally would care much less about this during the days of Vietnam and conscription than it would later. Sometimes the military was a safer place for gays than many civilian environments.
Lawyers who work on the ban have told me that usually the “rebuttal” would
require that the servicemember show that he or she is
not “gay.” The same would have been true in my situation. I posed this question
at a symposium on
whole chapter seems to echo McCarthyism, but “Tall Gunner Joe” McCarthy,
actually a Democrat from
1e One other haunting question that has prevailed over the decades: why couldn’t the Dean just separate me from my roommate? There probably were, by the end of November, some rooms available. That would have been a common sense “Judge Judy” type solution, and if implemented my whole life could have been very different. Maybe I would have become an MD and an epidemiologist by the time that AIDS surfaced in the 1980s! Ah, for parallel universes and dominions.
2 John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage (New York: Harper, 1956).
The nice thing about math and physics tests in high school was this: you didn't have to memorize anything, you just had to be able to work the problems.
2b Ch 1 P. 15. pr. 3 - general comment
Ironically, the capacity of my "heroes" to carry out the social obligations (like marrying and fathering) made them even more attractive to me.
Today, it strikes us as immoral that hundreds of thousands of young men would be sacrificed over political impasses, such as the "entangling alliances" before World War I (let alone Fascism and Communism). Go see a film like Legends of the Fall and be amazed at the impulse to patriotism over such non-personal ideals. Today, the challenge to make personal sacrifices for people one loves.
3 In a manner similar to Nazism, even the Japanese Empire before World War II had invented theories that Mongoloid peoples were biologically "evolved" at a greater distance from the apes.
4 Published by Garden City, 1928 and 1936.
5 Theodore Reich, The Greening of
6 Sony Classics Pictures, Across the
7 As shown by the three columns of "Comparative Government" of the 1950 World Book Encyclopedia.
7a "Communism" is typically distinguished from "socialism" by the fact that communism advocates the use of force and violence, if "necessary," to seize property and return it to "the people."
8 See Frank Sulloway, Born to Rebel (New York: Random House, 1996), Sulloway predicts that younger children learn from their siblings and take more chances and often turn out to be more politically progressive (or, at times, collective)..
9 A model railroad exhibit on I-76 near Scranton, Pa.
10 Peter Wyden, Growing Up Straight (New York: Stein and Day, 1968).
10a Ch 1 P 18, fn 10: Even as recently as 1985, the American Bar Association has promoted a textbook that presented homosexuality as a pathology (despite the 1973 action by the American Psychological Association).
Interesting is the article “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men,” in American Experiment Quarterly, Spring 2001 (she has authored a book by the same name). Check these out: “boys are politically incorrect…. There is a growing movement to save the males—by making them less masculine.” But this ties into my later discussion of the “Tribunals” (around note 18).
10b The idea that society should rightfully challenge men’s sexual instincts into traditional gender role performance in the context of marriage and family, is found in many older psychology and sociology text books. For example, there is J. Richard Udry’s The Social Context of Marriage (J. R. Lippincott, 1966/1971) with chapter titles like “Development of Sex Roles” and “The Originis and Development of Heterosexuality” (sounds like Masters and Johnson, Heterosexuality??) Udry in fact recognizes the possibility of a biological basis for homosexuality and mentions identical twin studies. Most important, though, seems to be the greatest good for the greatest number, and that means that men learn their “masculine roles” (sometimes from family position) in such a way that their performance becomes habit and is no longer perceived to have a psychological cost. After the civil rights movement and Stonewall, it would take the discrediting of government (Vietnam, Watergate) to set up a social climate that began to question the moral warrant for government to socially engineer the sexual motives of the individual. But this is covered in Chapters 3 (polarities) and 5 (family values).
11 "Program music," such as a lot of the tone poems of Liszt and Strauss, attempts to "tell a story"; abstract music follows established forms and communicates feelings in a structure. Opera, of course, is the most programmatic of all music.
11b I want to elaborate further on the “lashing out” incident where I returned the taunts by spreading rumors and making fun of (verbally “bullying”) an epileptic student. Some of the horrific high school shooting incidents—Columbine and Santee (Santana High School)—apparently involved perpetrators who had been ostracized and sometimes bullied by other students for non-conformity, small size, or physical ineptitude. Generally these boys had access to guns and parents who were not properly attentive. (My parents were very attentive, but there was one 22-caliber rifle in the attic, which I had fired only once before the Army—so my immature retaliation was fortunately just verbal.) I must point out a couple of observations to anyone who happens upon this comment. One is that teenage boys often view physical size, sexual development and athletic capacity as indicative of a social “hierarchy” or “pecking order” or “food chain” that is broken up only by marriage in early adulthood. The other (particularly present in my situation) is that less “physical” boys are sometimes regarded as potential “burdens” on others (and idea that contributes to homophobia and may have contributed to the murder of Matthew Shepard).
The Santee incident is bound to stimulate “collective” arguments for gun control and Internet regulation (where the ability to publish worldwide with few resources and no supervision is viewed as a problem), whatever the constitutional provisions today.
President George W. Bush (March 2001) suggested that the Santee tragedy was engendered by a social climate of disrespect for life. I would regard this tragedy as having little to do with abortion, cloning, assisted suicide or similar issues and more with a badly, almost sadistically, misplaced idea of “meritocracy.”
Even so, the influence of violence in the media is disturbing enough. I can remember being shaken by the rather tame Saturday morning “Movies for Kids” in the early 1950s, like The Clutching Hand.
11c The violent Chopin G Minor Ballade (used so effectively in the 50s horror film Mill of the Stone Women) figures into the denouement of Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (USA-Focus films), here Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), while in tatters from surviving Warsaw by his wits (no sissy boy “artist” here), plays his way out of battle to freedom, to the screams and outbursts of the last scales and octaves.
Regarding the piano lessons: had the political climate of that era been
kinder and gentler (that is, had there not been a Cold War pressuring boys into
math and science if at all possible and with the stick of the draft over their
heads—nobody assumes a “fundamental right” to grow up in a carefree era, as
with Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation) – I might well have worked
hard enough at piano to make music my “life’s work” indeed (which the first
piano teacher had once implored me to do). Could I have been like TheWB Everwood’s
precocious teenage character Ephram (Gregory
Smith)? Well, I don’t know if I ever
learned the Beethoven Appassionata or Tempest
sonatas or the Chopin “black key etude” (episode
Ephram has encouraged one of his students, Kyle, to audition for a scholarship at Julliard. On an earlier episode Kyle had effectively “come out” to Ephram in a private scene when challenged, and Ephram told Kyle that he should not deny himself the life that “he deserves.”
This is all pretty uncanny for me. The family neglect thing
rings true, as work v. family became a very serious issue even for a single
person. But the idea of 18-year-old Ephram having a
whole class blows me away. When I took piano lessons, the first music teacher
(who would die suddenly of cancer in 1957 when I was in ninth grade; I would
have a second teacher in north Arlington with a much more laid back style, and
she would wind up losing her hearing) had Wednesday afternoon classes, in which
we sometimes played for each other, but the main focus was teaching music
literature. She would play records and taught us the rudiments of record care
and high fidelity, 1950s style. Some of her records were large old 78s. Somehow
the Thais Meditation by Jules Massenet, the brittle old 78, still plays in my
mind. Later, I would take organ lessons from a Peabody (
In substitute teaching I had some music assignments. A few times I encountered students (particularly vocal) capable of performing professionally, as good and mature as "the kids" in various films and series (TheWB and otherwise) today. One regular class had a tenth grader who actually wanted to start piano. But in middle school, discipline problems in a couple classes proved fatal. Being a music teacher in public school would be an enormous challenge; the teacher will have his or her performing choruses, madrigals, bands or orchestra (even jazz and guitar), and will encounter students with professional potential, but will also have classes with students with many learning problems. Teaching people to play or sing together in lower grades is a tremendous challenge and a pedagogical issue in itself. Future seasons of Everwood or a movie could do a lot with this situation.
12 Rick Weiss, "Scientists May Have Identified a Cause for
Anxiety; Gene Seems to Influence Whether Bearers Are Chronically Worried or
Confidently Calm," The
12a Christina Hoff Sommers, “Victims of Androgyny: How Feminist Schooling Harms Boys,” American Enterprise, June 2000, p. 20, deals with the issue of educating rambunctious “pre-heterosexual” boys. Interesting the criticism of “forcing” boys to deal with feelings or comparisons of themselves to others. All-male environments for boys’ educations are supported (particularly for boys from fatherless homes).
13 The College of William and Mary, 1961. It was a truism in high school and college that if you cheated on a test or paper, you “cheated yourself.” That notion makes sense today when we talk about athletic cheating scandals, such as what rocked the University of Minnesota in 1999. But during the Cold War days, education was somewhat of a screening process (as it had long been in Europe), to determine who was meritocratically “qualified” for the good life, and for favored treatment with respect to the military draft.
13a. During recent years, we’ve
heard a lot about academic cheating, such as with the basketball scandal at the
13b Related to honor is the issue of homework. I started having regular homework in the 7th Grade (first year of Junior High School), when on a few occasions television programs were actually assigned (which I resented as infringing upon my own choice of entertainment). Now there is the new book by Etta Kralovec and John Buell, The End of Homework: How Homerwork Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children and Limits Learning. In 1901, homework was made illegal in California but became common after the Sputnik scare. The authors feel that homework works against disadvantaged children, especially boys with ADD or dyslexia, and disrupts family life. We could consider here home schooling, though, and the idea that homework really should be expected after grade school. Regular homework (both math and humanities), done honestly, helps teens at least begin to learn critical thinking, to look into an issue from the point of view of various ways different people would approach the issue rather than from finding a simple solution that gratifies immediate comfort needs.
14 In "The Achievement of Love" in The Art of Loving (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956) Erich Fromm had already characterized my kind of hero-worship as "symbiosis." See the excerpt "The Achievement of Love" in Stone and Hoopers, Form and Thought in Prose (New York: Ronald Press, 1960), p. 505. This freshman college English anthology also includes Fromm's controversial "The Illusion of Individuality" on p. 198 (from Escape from Freedom, New York: Rinehart & Company, 1941), which had predicted that America itself was vulnerable to Fascism.
14a For a review of Splendor in the Grass, and another film/play Rain (“Miss Sadie Thompson”) that we discussed, see this file.
14b In the freshman English 101 class (not advanced placement), which I had at MWF and my roommate had already had with the same instructor at (those dreaded classes!), the instructor made a lot of the implications of “sexual impotence” in the T.S. Eliot poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. The text is at http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.html. Consider the opening: “Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table.”
15 In my own high school English, we had actually memorized the eight parts of the Elizabethan theater, including the proscenium doors! Another teacher admonished us, "Learn your facts about your authors!" as if we needed them for a popular children's card game. I wonder if I could remember a single question from a high school English test. (Other than 10th grade: Name the eight parts of the Elizabethan theater!, including the proscenium doors.)
the cases McCollum v. Board of Education (1948) and Zorach v. Clauson
(1952) the law allowed public
school religious classes only “off campus.” The practice still occurs in some
communities, as in the Virginia Shenandoah Valley. See Carol Morello, “Bible Breaks at Public Schools Faces Challenges
15b See Daniel J. Wakin, “In Van Cliburn’s
16 Edward Pruden, Interpreters Needed (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1951), p. 29. But the main factor, besides economic hardship and scapegoating, was probably Germany's inexperience with constitutional government.
17 The closest I can come to it is Merton Thompson's poem, "True Friend," on p. 106 of Poetic Ramblings (Nebraska: Morris Publishing, 1994).
17a. I have reconstructed the 1961 “friendship definition” theme at this link: http://www.doaskdotell.com/content/friend.htm
17b I befriended
another freshman student from
As the Everwood series on TheWB would show after 2002 (with the Ephram character), it’s very hard for most teenagers to follow through on musical gifts. The visitor can think about some examples in the media. That would be a good thing for a successful pop star or musician to do, to start a scholarship foundation, wouldn’t it.
In the summer of 1962, a high school friend sent me a huge postcard with Irish folk song melodies on it, and signed it “Hippolyte”. It has long since been lost, but it could turn up.
18 Tootsie, a 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman; directed by Sidney Pollack.
18A Ch 1 P 27, pr. 2: Tribunals? This was probably more a rite of passage than hazing in the usual sense of the concept. Check out the photoflash chamber and subsequent "body analysis" from Michael Crichton's 1970 novel and subsequent movie, The Andromeda Strain, or John Travolta's behavior in the 1985 film Staying Alive. Maybe Chricton will give the 21st century's practice of infection control in surgery some silly ideas: laser beams ("Epilight," or more recently, the dermal-static LightSheer, which has actually been approved by the FDA in 2000, as well as “TransDermal”) could do some very thorough (and, compared to electrolysis, quick) scrubbing. Actually, none of this phases people today like it did the 50's generation that, however moralistic, secretly saw a person's body as his potential residue. After, consider how competitive cyclists and swimmers "peak." Or actors, who see changing their appearances as like a mouse-click selection of manipulative behaviors, for a customer audience who doesn't need to know the original person to have its feelings extracted. Actually, if these claims of easy permanent (or, as with “Hairaway,” gradual) depilation without shaving really are certified as working and “safe” (as by the FDA), would they eventually be required of surgeons, nurses, even food handlers as a “public health measure”? (There are recent complaints that most physicians and nurses don’t do thorough hand-washing between patient visits in hospitals and nursing homes, a possible subtle source of nosocomial infections.) Promises of long-term to permanent body hair removal have appeared in gay rags for years, but they haven’t been much believed so (outside of the circuit party crowd perhaps) they’ve been pretty much ignored by gay male consumers. Perhaps not now. The billboards are going up, especially in gay neighborhoods.
Also, check the essay "Notes on the
Hairless Man" by David Skinner, The Weekly Standard (a
Skinner never mentions that a lot of guys go bald in the legs as they get older. (So do gals.) So, I confess my secret shame: I must never wear shorts in public! Then, there is that chilling scene of chagrin and self-discovery on the beach of the policeman character (his “years of chafing”) in Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws, when he pukes.
Actors (my roommate wanted to be an actor) often change their bodies for the
movies. Robin Williams gets shaved for Mrs. Doubtfire
and Hook. (A lot of actors got shaved in the 1950's;
that was "common decency.") Matt Damon lost about 30 pounds to
appear gaunt in Courage Under Fire. Comedian Adam
Sandler (The Waterboy and Big Daddy)
There is also not-often-discussed subject of what some pro athletes put themselves through: the “peaking” for competitive swimming and cycling, and the physical abuse of contact sports (ranging from boxing to football) that relate back to the “group warrior” paradigm of young masculinity. The death of Minnesota Vikings’s Korey Stringer from heat exhaustion in July 2001 after a routine practice focused attention on the brutality of the preparations: men often vomit during practice, and have to be hydrated intravenously at times.
MS-NBC reports that, according to instruction manuals captured by the FBI, the hijackers of
Military bonding rituals have sometimes included shaving, especially in the Navy (the Village People’s song to boot) as when ships cross the equator, or Plebe “hazing” at Annapolis. There were various stories like this in the mid 1990s as the military gay ban was debated.
And film writers Joel and Ethan Coen made clever
use of leg shaving as a metaphor and plot twist in the delicious, garish
black-and-white film noir, The Man Who
Wasn’t There (2001, USA Films, with Billy Bob Thornton). And there was that line in Aliens
Even so, columnist Kin Crow, from the Pittsburg Post Gazette, wrote a piece (May 24, 2003), “The new standard? It’ll put hair on your chest?” Even given all the new technology boasting of easy permanent depilation, chest hair, she writes, may be coming back. She claims that unspecified statistics show that 30% of all men 18-34 shave some chest hair (a questionable claim) but that now the hairy “natural” look is coming back. The smooth chest, she says, came into fashion in the late 1980s, perhaps after macho-man John Travolta waxed his chest, arms and legs to do ballet in Staying Alive (1985). (He had been hairy enough in Saturday Night Fever (1978).)
It gets worse than that. In 1990,
Then, check out the new coined term “metrosexuality” in the article “Real Men Get Waxed: A New Male Market Emerges” in the July 5 The Economist, p. 57 (the “back, crack, and sack” waxing for straight men).
And the idea of the “Tribunals” comes back as a last night bachelor party in the American Pie film American Wedding (2003, Universal, with Chris Moore from Liveplanet—normally associated with Miramax and Project Greenlight—producing) when one of the boys has his chest and arms taped up by aggressive women, and then when Jim (played by Jason Biggs, egged on by sexually ambiguous buddy Steve Stifler, as played by Seann William Scott) shaves his own crotch (the hair-fall from the resort hotel room on camera) as a way to “peak” and announce his commitment to marriage after years of philandering.
Finally, The Ultimate Tribunal took place on the Donald Trump-a-Dump show The
Apprentice on NBC
On the second episode of Season 2 of The Apprentice, (NBC,
18b Here’s another gig about all this. The first episode of TheWB’s Smallville, Season 1 Pilot, which features the 9-11-like meteor shower and was aired first about a month after 9-11, features a sequence where teenage Clark Kent is “crucified” on a scarecrow for not being part of the football team (also for being seen with Lana), and there is a flashback with another character who had been going through the scarecrow “tribunal” in 1989 when the meteor shower started. The incident draws from other current incidents, including Matthew Shepard, perhaps, as well as Columbine. But the writers appear to be making the point that “different” high school students are sometimes hazed for not playing group sports, especially football, and that the practice is still a problem, related to bullying, today. (Almost the very first image after the strapping teenager Clark appears in the Pilot is the permission slip for football that his father refuses to sign, to protect his “secret,” and Clark doesn’t want high school to be a “complete disaster.” I am not aware if this appears in the Marvel comics.) That did not happen to me at all at Washington-Lee, as “nerds” were also valued in the Cold War environment, but when I got to William and Mary with a mixture of more rural students, my situation was indeed different. One morning shortly after the Tribunals which I had skipped, a football player, in half-length jerseys with shaved legs, approached me in the cafeteria at breakfast and taunted me for not playing sports. So this does happen. How much did this sports thing contribute towards what would happen later with my “confession” (of latent homosexuality to the Dean of Men) and expulsion?
So it goes on. On “Smallville,” Clark Kent’s spaceship laser-burns his chest, disfiguring it with the S-scar that rather looks like keloids; Warner Brothers follows with “Elimidate,” where on one episode the girl offers to let one of the male contestants have sex with her only if he will shave his chest, and he retorts, “Real men have hairy chests,” and insists that she love him as he is.
18c, Pg. 28, pr. 7. But my parents did pay my way through George Washington (in 1965 $800 a semester tuition was considered a lot of money), and I never personally faced the student loan problem.
18d. In a debate called “The Connection” on
National Public Radio on
Y1 (18e) It’s important to me that younger readers understand the way teenage boys often feel about their expected “roles.” Even a person with a professed interest in the arts and drama like my roommate had made a large psychological investment in his notion of “performing” the way a man is expected to with respect to women (and in the “double standard.”) The idea of homosexuality can suggest the destruction of a man’s ability to perform, or it may be used as a way for young men to taunt or bully others in their quest for social approval or “power.” The relationship to bullying and late problems with school violence cannot be overestimated. Also important is the way young men crowded together feel about their roles, an idea that becomes important later when they must bond together to protect others, as in the military. And even at this age, young men may suspect that family performance is likely to matter to them later in life, when they will not always be able to compete on their own.
18f I had never heard of what male homosexuals “do” (i.e., fellatio) until my roommate told me. I passed this information on to a chum with whom I shared music interests there and he had never heard it mentioned. The tone of these discussions (as well as of the “urban legends”) could be embarrassing.
18g It is conceivable that he could have actually witnessed some kind of incident at the camp that really was horrible. I sounded like an urban legend to me.
18h Another “theory” would be that he could have felt that he was being compared to other men that I presented as past “friends” (or “boyfriends”). Young men in those days (and sometimes today) were very conscious of the idea that they would have to compete with other men for “women” (in order to have a “lineage”) and were easily rattled by indirect suggestions that they were physically inadequate. This sort of observation is well known from debating gays in the military and the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, an attempt to get around the compromise of unit cohesion and cooperation when men live together in conditions of forced intimacy.
This idea is subtle but may be one of the most important. Young heterosexual men sometimes are very sensitive to the possibility that they could have sexual performance problems of their own when they date or (perhaps preferably) want to get married and start a family. They may resort to “groupthink” to “defend” themselves, even though libertarians see this as logically an admission of one’s own weaknesses.
18i I have another blogger entry from
August 2007 on a USA Today story about parents checking roommates (including
sexual orientation) of their kids on Facebook and Myspace, or even with Google elsewhere on the Internet. The
blogger link is here.
The USA Today story (
18j On April 3, Reuters had a stoey Adam Tanner, “Straight or gay? Court says website can’t ask. Roommates.com cannot ask applicants to disclose their sexual orientation,” the Ninth Circuit ruled, link.
19 I eventually learned to swim the width of the YMCA pool in GW's gym class; in better public schools today, swimming is mandatory PE and nobody gets out of it.
19a My behavior as a pre-teen particularly could now be viewed as a variation of Aspberger’s Syndrome, which some psychiatrists describe as the mildest form of autism. What seems to happen is that the brain becomes excessively concerned with its own short-term interest (as seen from an immature perspective), so the person does not develop the spontaneity and instinct necessary for athletic coordination or facile social interaction and intimacy. The person remains attached to possessions or to mental processes that he can control. Why learn to swim if you are an air-breathing mammal? The Syndrome is probably both genetic and environmental in origin.
19b Regarding my stint of six months at the National Institutes of Health mental health ward from July 1962 to Jan. 1963: The mildly reparative therapy was partially based on the idea that I did not “see people as people” and instead saw them as aesthetic objects to be mentally manipulated in a kind of imaginary masturbation. Normal heterosexuality, and the ability to have a woman in a relationship of complementarity and have children, stemmed out of an ability to “empathize” with people at some level of “real emotion” or “real life” (later an idea that would be called “aesthetic realism” (discussed in Chapter 3). This concept has remained troublesome, as some do not like the visibility of my pen when I do not share their emotional attachments. But later this would become a “chicken and egg” problem. Should be following their own self-expression in life before they attempt “relationships” (marriages or otherwise), or is it the other way around. Putting self-expression first comports with modern individualism, but it also risks leaving a lot of people behind; so this leads to the “pay your dues” moral thinking.
19c I do have my patient records, copied on an old 60s era thermafax and faded. There are detailed medical records, and a diary made by the staff of every day I spent there, and of all of my interactions with the staff and other patients. The psychiatric referral letters to be sent out in following years (in security clearance investigations) refer to various diagnoses such as “compulsive character disorder” and “schizoid personality.” (As we learn in Chapter 3, psychological feminines are “compulsive” and masculines are “obsessive.”) The nurses typed and handwrote notes, and seemed concerned about conversation about homosexuality, about attempts to touch other male patients, and visibly inappropriate body manipulations at times. They were watching me! That is what was going on in the government in 1962. The social worker’s writeups (based on family therapy and interviews) are interesting, as they show a misguided concern with extended family image that is uncool by today’s individualistic standards and that distorts the objective understanding of what could have caused this catastrophic incident at William and Mary in 1961.
Chapter 1: General: CNN, on
In December 2002 an eighth grader in Banning, CA sued her school district after she was forced to sit out gym class for over a week after rumors that she was a lesbian surfaced (despite the absence of any inappropriate conduct) on the theory that other students would be “uncomfortable.” This fits in with what happened to me at William and Mary and what will be discussed later in Chapter 4 on gays in the military. Her attorney is Martha Matthews and the CA state statue at issue is the CA Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000.
In July 2003 the New York City public school system said that it would open
a special high school for gay students, the Harvey Milk High School, in
September 2003. Critics point out a parallel to segregation (“separate but
equal”), a failure of school officials to control harassment, and the lack of
learning experience for both homosexuals and heterosexuals if they learn about
each other, as well as the notion of using public funds for “special
privileges.” However proponents feel that oppression in some high schools is so
great as to justify the measure. Many gay teenager
today seem to do quite well compared to my generation, and the experience is
In October 2003 a high school student, Jeffrey Woodard, was expelled from a private Christian school (the Jupiter Christian School) in Florida after being coaxed by a teacher to state his sexual orientation in s supposedly confidential discussion. The school did not state an official reason for his expulsion, and there was no actual conduct that violated any school policies. This was covered on CNN by Paula Zahn (http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/10/28/cnna.zahn.access/index.html). Florida does not have a sexual orientation discrimination law, but their may be other grounds for lawsuit according to his attorney, Trent Steele, because of the way the matter was handled (which somewhat parallels my own 1961 expulsion from William and Mary). In summer 2003, at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church (AGCMCC) in Minneapolis, a congregation member, in a lay speech to the congregation recruiting volunteers to Metrodome fundraising events, related a similar story of his being fired as a teacher at a Christian school.
Many colleges now have systems for assigning dorm roommates. See Amy Argetsinger, “In Dorms, a Method to the Matches: Colleges
Pushing Selection of Roommates to a Science,” The Washington Post,
Anne Hull provided an article “Young and Gay in
Theology student Matthew Bass was stripped of a scholarship
and expelled by Baylor University (Waco, TX) when it learned that he is gay.
Bass subsequently was awarded a similar scholarship by Emory University in
Atlanta, GA. However, there are complications. On
Regarding the general social tone of McCarthyism (“Good Night, and Good Luck”), from which society had been gradually emerging in the late 1950s, the National Archives has some significant commentary, at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ref-info-papers/107/#still It is my belief that all of this material helps shed some light on what happened to me in the early 1960s, especially at William and Mary and later at NIH.
The whole “William and Mary” story in Chapter 1 resembles in
some measure the plot of the 1956
My “commitment” to NIH was “voluntary” but it would be an interesting
question if it could keep me from purchasing a handgun in some states if I
wanted to; I have no intention to purchase one now. Recent changes in
There was another urban legend in college dorms, that colleges put saltpeter (potassium nitrate) in cafeteria food to keep men control, a practice with no scientific basis; link.
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