The Naked Society – by Vance Packard (1964) – part 3

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After writing about specific instances of surveillance and privacy violations, the author followed up with a large segment on the rights of free citizens. Among these rights, he listed: freedom from police mistreatment, bureaucratic harassment, and mind manipulation, the right to a private life, and the right to have opinions that are considered unfashionable.

The final chapter of the book dealt with how to protect ourselves and our privacy. It acknowledged that the average citizen is powerless in many instances. The author suggested:

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The Naked Society – by Vance Packard (1964) – part 2

The Naked Society – by Vance Packard (1964) – part 1

Vance Packard exposed the invasion of privacy that was being imposed on society by governmental agencies, employers, and public schools. In part one, I gave you a taste of what someone in the work force might encounter. Most people are acquainted with government agency’s role in surveillance and loss of privacy. You only need to recall the “Red scare”, which put thousands of innocent Americans on lists as dangerous citizens. They were subjected to lie detector tests, followed by the FBI, and had every part of their lives scrutinized. So I will skip that part. On to the violation of privacy in the public schools.

For some unknown reason, many public schools felt the need to investigate the home lives of their students. Personality tests and psychological tests were given to children without the knowledge or permission of their parents or legal guardians. One popular test to give children was the Blacky Test. Here is an excerpt from chapter 8:

The Blacky Pictures consist of eleven cartoons portraying the adventures of a dog named Blacky. The cast of characters includes Blacky, Mama, Papa, and Tippy, who is “a sibling figure of unspecified age and sex.” The manuel states that each cartoon is designed to “depict either a stage of psychosexual development or a type of object relationship within that development.” The tester introduces each each cartoon with a comment. Here are some of the introductory comments and the “dimension” being tested by the students’ responses to the pictures:

Cartoon I – “Here is Blacky with Mama…” – Oral Eroticism.

Cartoon III – “Here Blacky is relieving himself (herself)…” – Anal Sadism.

Cartoon IV – “Here is Blacky watching Mama and Papa…” – Oedipal Intensity.

Cartoon V – “Here Blacky is discovering sex…” – Masturbation Guilt.

Cartoon VI – “Here Blacky is watching Tippy…” – Castration Anxiety (M) or Penis Envy (F).

Students were also asked to fill out personal surveys, again without their parents’ permission, asking them to check any of the items that afflicted them. What sort of things were on the list?

Continue reading “The Naked Society – by Vance Packard (1964) – part 2”