Perhaps it is Romney's youth that will finally belie the youthful Romney
There are certain things in a person's psyche that are
harder to change than others . A feeling of superiority is one of them. And
when you are bred to believe that you are superior, that feeling is almost
insurmountably hard to dislodge from your mind...and your soul.
to a Catholic boys college prep school, and although it was not exactly the
image of Pencey Prep* because it was a commuter school, it was perhaps the most
elitist school in the Chicagoland area. The most elitist, the most
academic...and the most macho: from our first day of freshmen year we were
referred by the priests/teachers as "men." Our football and swim
teams were considered among the best in the country. So many of our
"men" went to Notre Dame that my going to the University of Illinois
was looked upon as a humiliating apostasy. Because of its proximity to Chicago,
it was certainly an upper class school for sons of the Mafioso. And with its
Dominican priests, it was strict and not for the faint of heart.
even slightly effeminate made for four difficult years. Four VERY difficult
years, in fact.
morning that I knew that I would have a horrendous time in PE, I would upchuck
breakfast. I was a "spaz". Some guys called me "Vo-Queer"
instead of Vojir. I hung out with others like me - other guys who didn't
completely fit in. We simply called ourselves "The Group" (before
Mary McCarthy's book ever came out). By happenstance, we all came out of the
closet in our mid-twenties**, but during our prep school years, we knew what
"homosexuals" were, what they did sexually, and that they had
perhaps the most disingenuous statement made by Mitt Romney after the
appearance of "Lord
of the Shears" is:
don't remember that incident," Romney told Kilmeade. "I tell you I
certainly don't believe that I ... thought the fella was homosexual. That
was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s. So that was not the
knew. He remembered ... and he knew. Bullies always remember their exploits:
they brag about them enough to keep them fresh for a long while. They
especially brag about their exploits in terms of sexuality: beating up fags is
as much of a right of passage as having intercourse with members of the
opposite sex. In extreme cases, sometimes sodomizing (gang-raping) an
effeminate boy was also a right of passage. Showers and locker rooms were not
always the safest places to be, especially if you had a limp wrist.
Romney campaign has predictably back peddled with an "apology",
claims of "change" and "dumb things." Supposedly we should
all move on and look past it to a man who has a sterling character. But the
portrait of Mitt Romney emerging as an insufferably arrogant, preppy kid is
totally appropriate in a world that demands the birth certificate of the
Bully Being Bullied
timing of the expose couldn't have been more hazardous for the Romney campaign,
coming at the heels of Romney's gay advisor Richard Grenell resigning from
pressure from other bullies - the Christian Right. The boyhood
"pranks" are explained away as simply the result of typical teenage
angst, kind of like what waterboarding of detainees at Guantanamo is to Ann Coultergeist . The
irony of the Grenell affair is that some people are sounding like bullies
themselves: admittedly, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association does
think much of a presidential candidate who will buckle under
"yokels" like Bryan
part of the portrait: some of today's bullies - the corporate kind - aren't
particularly concerned about the very poor .
the past twenty years, Mitt Romney has not physically changed - his youthful
visage and energy gave the Republican Party its JFK. The portrait of a man
who's temples are grey contrasting to Obama's increasingly graying hair makes a
difference in politics since so much of politics is based on appearance. But
it's a portrait that may change regardless of Romney's appearance. The
"Lord Of The Shears" affair may start to reveal a hidden portrait -
one which may turn out more like the Picture
of Dorian Grey . How fitting that a story of Oscar Wilde - the most
flamboyant man of his time - could serve as a metaphor for such a man.
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