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”

Almost Friends – by Philip Gulley (2006)

Almost Friends

Life goes on in this 6th book about the little Quaker Friends congregation in the town of Harmony. Sam has been the pastor for half a dozen years now, and he and his wife Barbara are in a comfortable routine. But as often happens, comfort is replaced with rotten tomatoes.

Sam’s father has a heart attack, followed by another heart attack. The Friends decide to give Sam three months off – with pay – to help take care of his father as he recovers. The church requests an interim pastor, and are sent a female! It’s Krista Riley’s first assignment, but she’s dreamed of being a minister since childhood and throws herself wholeheartedly into the job. The congregation absolutely falls in love with her, and Sam begins to wonder if they’ll want him back after his father is recovered.

Krista is on cloud nine – until the day that a church member sees her in a restaurant with a close friend, and mistakenly concludes that their temporary pastor is a lesbian. Rumors circulate throughout the church, and the entire congregation is in an uproar about what to do with Krista.

The author has his usual mix of humor and serious thought in this book. The subjects of homosexuality in the church, gossip, privacy versus the right of the congregation to know, evangelistic tactics to avoid, and jealousy are all brought up in “Almost Friends”. This novel will definitely give the reader many things to think about.