My introduction to political hypocrisy
Beautiful and brave writing. Thank you.
I was a college student at St.Lawrence U starting in the fall of 67, just a few years later, but ‘in loco parentis’ still applied. One spring night after talking into the wee hours of the morning a classmate and I escaped the freshman dorm by climbing out the laundry room window just to breath in the spring air! The front door was locked of course. We threw stones on the window of a pal in the Junior dorm but he didn’t hear us!! The dorm officer did however. Unable to get back in, we wandered around the town of Canton, NY ( about 10 bars, a supermarket and a few gas stations all closed of course) we discretely returned to the dorm after 8 am, only to find a welcome committee waiting for us. There was a trial and to the prudish senior woman’s question “didn’t you know what you had done was against the rules”, I replied, “Some rules need to be broken!” Just imagine! I was punished with 1hour and a half ‘automatic’ ( my curfew for sophomore year earlier than the others). My friend was smart. She transferred to Columbia. I had a scholarship from the university and couldn’t really leave but I went on the Junior year abroad program a year later in France and never went back. Still live in France....
Ahh. The excesses of youth exceeded only by the excesses of authority.
Glad you survived it.
It's incredible when you look at the changes in society that have happened within living people's lifetimes.
I'm not sure undergraduates today would believe the restrictions that existed on their parents or grandparents. My mother (born 1938) talks about the fact that married women weren't allowed to work in the public service, nor could any woman get a bank account, sign contracts, or get a mortgage without a male guarantor (father, husband etc). Although, to be fair to Australia, it was very early in allowing women the vote. The rights of indigenous people remain a disgrace, sadly, although things have improved for LBQTQI people.
The fact that "fornication" was the basis for college expulsion would be seen as bizarre and a violation of human rights.
On a wider perspective, I still don't think that many people realise that we are still living through an absolutely unprecedented time in human history, thanks to the invention of the oral contraceptive pill.
Never in history have woman, and families, had effective control over if or when they reproduce.
The ramifications of this in the economy, societal and family structure, etc are still reverberating today.
Much of the reactionary rhetoric of the "make America great again" movement is as much a dog whistle to putting women "back in their place" prior of the Pill as it is to racism and xenophobia. The fact they make common cause with their fellow travellers in the evangelical Christian movement who take a (IMHO) frankly misogynistic view of the role of husband and wife in marriage thus comes as no surprise.
I was a freshman in college in 1967. Freshmen had to live in the dorms. Girls had “hours” (I once got a 15 second late slip.) but boys didn’t. Girls had to make their own beds, but boys didn’t. BCPs were for married women only and abortion was illegal. Girls were expected to become teachers and nurses. I had wanted to do something in computers but had been told that the only thing girls could do was keypunch. My daughter graduated from Purdue University with a degree in chemical engineering. She had a really hard time imagining what life had been like for me at her age. btw, I went back to school and became a programmer and retired after 30+ years in all aspects of IT from programming on punched cards through web design and ended my career as an IT director. I have no intention of letting people limit my granddaughters.
I think this article is so sad, even the fornication part and the penetrating question. I know some of you will find it funny. I just think it's horrifying.
I went to Mount Holyoke. Freshman in 1971. I was on one of those busses to Dartmouth for a “mixer” once. Hearing us rated on the scale of 1-10 was both horrifying and disgusting! I got off the bus though. Some young man decided to follow me the entire evening despite my attempts to get as far away as possible. A week or so later, I got a letter declaring his love also stating he would throw himself off if a balcony if it weren’t reciprocated. A year later I decided to transfer to a coed college closer to my home.
A beautifully told, poignant story. While reading it, I thought that although Giff physically survived the Vietnam War, I doubt that he did so without undergoing a painful transformation relative to his own mortality that he wouldn’t have been forced to endure unless he had been expelled from the collegial cocoon. However, it also occurs to me that your role in his expulsion ignited your own inner war--one that compelled you to confront your own fragile humanity. Much respect for having the courage to share it here.
Sir, your stories move me & your daily commentary may even calm me when I fear the state of our country & the world. Thank you for your voice & most importantly, your heart.
I commend you for writing this story. It made me cry as I remembered experiences I had as a woman, just for being a woman. I also remember meeting sweet, shy guys, but as a shy one myself, I cringe at the memory of not having any skills to know how to approach and interact with these guys. I was never supposed to be the initiator in that era, but I somehow recognized it was a mutual challenge. And now, as a parent of a kind, but introverted 19-year-old living on his college campus, I'm not sure we have made much progress with creating opportunities for young people to learn communication skills or in reassuring them that they will get past their awkwardness with more practice. (Alcohol takes that place, unfortunately.) I've tried with my son, but can't compete with social media. And that is another topic altogether. Thanks for your honest and poignant share. As always, your posts/newsletters reverberate for me and touch my heart and brain!
It’s been quite a ride for all of us. I was a young woman who was rated daily 1-10 when I dared to get lunch outside my workplace. We’ve all come a long way (I hope). Thank you for recognizing what a wrong that was and pointing out the ridiculous hypocrisy of that era.
Your touching story warmed the cockles of my heart. I do not believe yours was political hypocrisy, for it is not up to human beings to be of such singularity of mind to fight off and solve every contradiction we are faced with, it’s probably not even possible without destructive bias to one or the other side. Those contradictions belong to life itself; you did not invent them and you cannot resolve them. Ordinarily they are solved by history (as was the case with this issue), not by a young class president. You obliged the students (the busloads), you obliged the handbook (the expulsions), the brutal inconsistency lies in the world, not in your flawed behavior.
A great story brilliantly told. Thanks
Beautiful story, from a beautiful man, and i hope you inform the Moth radio hour podcast so that millions can hear it told. I'd love to hear if you eventually connected more deeply with Giff. Someone should edit stories like this from famous progressives like yourself, with all the profits going to fund organizers to work in swing states through (sorry for this shameless promotion), AdoptAnOrganizer (bit.ly/AAAOA)
And so it appears that outgoes the dictator, and incomes person with empathy! What is delightful transition.
Oh, the times they do change. Wonderful story sir. Thank you.