March 3, 2013

"The Harrad Experiment"/"The Herod Experiment."

That last post, about universal pre-school, led to an in-person conversation with Meade proposing such an extreme change from what we have now that, I said, it would have to be presented in the form of a novel — a utopian/dystopian scenario. People would need to ease into entertaining the idea.  It would have to be like "The Harrad Experiment," which was a novel that was based on a 1960 academic paper written by a couple of married sociologists, "outlining a program designed to achieve sexual sanity."
Essentially, our method consisted of teaching a new sexual ethic and moral code by conditioning and indoctrination throughout a four-year period to a select group of male and female college students of unusually sound character and high creative ability. The paper was the result of ten years of work in family and marriage counseling and years spent studying the sexual habits and mores of man throughout recorded history. My wife and I felt that, in order to survive, Western man must take the long step away from primitive emotions of hate and jealousy and learn the meaning of love and loving as a dynamic process. Such a program would counteract the decadence that is slowly infiltrating our society....

Obviously it would be too startling a change in sex and marriage behavior for the average person in our present culture. The point we made was that the time to begin is now. A start must be made somewhere. Too much is at stake to permit our basic social and family patterns to drift on the currents of haphazard marriage and distorted sex relations.

Our paper proposing a Premarital Living Program at the college level met with a great deal of unfavorable reaction....
So they hooked up with Robert H. Rimmer, who turned their proposal into a novel, and in novel form, people were able to engage with the professors' proposal. [UPDATE: I've now skimmed the book and  see that the sociologists are part of Rimmer's fictional story.]

Meade's idea was: Free and compulsory government schooling to begin at birth and to end at age 10. Meade jokes that his book would be "The Herod Experiment." Sounds gruesome!



The quotes above are from the introduction to the novel, which I just bought on Kindle. I had wanted to read a good summary, but Wikipedia only has a short article about the 1973 movie based on the book. I see Tippi Hedren and the young Don Johnson were in it. It looks amusingly cheesy from the trailer — watch out for the (hilarious) nudity:



Here's a more sedate trailer. No nudity, but I laughed out loud more than once (especially at the oh-so-professorial professor, played by James Whitmore, who "represents the past"):

84 comments:

bagoh20 said...

"an in-person conversation with Meade"

That sounds like it would require endless paperwork and approvals, and my people contacting your people... Hell, let's just call the whole thing off.

Chip S. said...

Wiki says Don Johnson first met 14-y.o. Melanie Griffith on the set of that movie and started dating her right away.

Big Mike said...

The 1960's! How'd we ever make it through? On the one hand, The Harrad Experiment and free love. On the other hand, Barry McGuire.

Shouting Thomas said...

The entrance requirements are pretty stiff!

betamax3000 said...

"Western man must take the long step away from primitive emotions of hate and jealousy": good thing the program starts with the easy stuff.

betamax3000 said...

"On the one hand, The Harrad Experiment and free love. On the other hand, hairy palms and callouses."

Chip S. said...

I wonder if that girl in the pool shot was wearing a merkin.

YoungHegelian said...

My older brother had a copy of that book, and I read it surreptitiously. Oh, God, dull. Even the sex scenes for a 12 year old boy dull. The cover was the best thing about it.

Also, aside from the fact that it advocated fornication, it was something the Catholic Church could get behind because, in the novel, the students used the rhythm method as the birth control of choice.

For all the 60's hoopla about how daring it was, it was actually morally quite conservative.

And the author being named Rimmer! Oh, come on! At least he wasn't named Donald Felching!

Robert Cook said...

I vividly remember often seeing the paperback novel THE HARRAD EXPERIMENT on the spinner bookrack at the local drugstore when I was a kid.

The cover was quite eye-catching, and I later learned it was painted by James Bama, who also painted the Doc Savage paperback covers.

betamax3000 said...

Whenever I see a movement like "Free Mumia!" I assume the person in question is in fact guilty. This would then apply to "Free Love."

Let Love rot in prison where he belongs.

betamax3000 said...

Love is Free,

Penicillin is Not.

AprilApple said...

Robert Cook - That James Bama cover is an interesting factoid.

betamax3000 said...

If I am stimulated by Meade's idea does that mean I have a 'Herod-On'?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...
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SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I remember reading the Harrad Experiment when it first came out, and I remember thinking that it should work.

This was before I learned of the mistake I was making in a fundamental but unquestioned premiss.
Like Libertarianism, these utopias assume that people are smarter and more malleable than they actually are, or even can be.

With a mean IQ of 100, fully half of America has 2-digit IQs, many way too low to make the continuous mental adjustments to behavior that most Liberal utopias require and incorrectly assume are possible.

More the pity. The Harrod environment sounded pretty awesome to this then young male.

ironrailsironweights said...

Essentially, our method consisted of teaching a new sexual ethic and moral code by conditioning and indoctrination throughout a four-year period to a select group of male and female college students of unusually sound character and high creative ability.

There should be something like that today, where female college students are taught the joys of being full-flavored.

Peter

Chip S. said...

@Peter--Watch the first clip!

Mumpsimus said...

See also "The Island" by Aldous Huxley (1962), another Boomer favorite.

We really wanted to believe that, with a little social engineering, we could create a fun, hedonistic, polyamorous society without bringdowns like jealousy and monogamy.

BTW, "Harrad" was an amalgam of Harvard and Radcliffe.

Surfed said...

Stupid shit does not age well.

Ann Althouse said...

The Harrad Experiment is not a system of free love. It's more of a throwback to arranged marriages, but with neutral experts instead of your parents doing the matchmaking.

Surfed said...

Now take Meade's Harod Experiement. A little drastic but......We had a senior citizen (15 years old in 7th grade) so stupid and troublesome that one of our teachers in a parent meeting (she had three other children by different bby daddies) told the mother that "you should have let it hit the wall lady." She has since retired but her advice is still repeated in reverence.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, good point about the arranged marriages. Frank Herbert's Dune also published in the 1960's, was more of the same except that the cross-breeding was arranged surreptitiously by the bene gesserit.

kentuckyliz said...

That would be in the days of a stronger in loco parentis culture in colleges and universities.

So...did the whores have to get permission slips from their parents?

If your parents arrange sexual encounters for you, it's usually for money, drugs, or to cover the rent.

Chef Mojo said...

Yeah, I remember that snoozefest of a book from when I was a kid. The cover was so cool, and just screamed, "Under the covers with the flashlight, kid!"

Dullsville.

William said...

Free Love. With every purchase of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, free love.

kentuckyliz said...

Yes I know Harrad College is fictional and I am asking way too much of a realistic detail of a story.

Proving yet again that utopia means nowhere.

Does this flick show full Don Johnson porno nudity? Anyone have a copy?

bagoh20 said...

" fully half of America has 2-digit IQs,"

My 87.5 is three digits.

Ann Althouse said...

My link for the movies goes to Amazon where you can stream it -- free if you have Amazon Prime.

I haven't streamed it (yet). But I might. I found the nudity disturbing.

Will Cate said...

Oh wow... what a flashback. First movie with nudity I ever saw. I was 14 & friends with the people who ran our local theatre, who let me in.

edutcher said...

I thought The Herod Experiment was killing all the firstborn male children of Jewish families.

Ann Althouse said...

That last post, about universal pre-school, led to an in-person conversation with Meade

Suddenly, everything since Election Night makes sense.

The Harrad Experiment is not a system of free love. It's more of a throwback to arranged marriages, but with neutral experts instead of your parents doing the matchmaking.

It used to be called stirpculture.

That didn't work, either.

Big Mike said...

The 1960's! How'd we ever make it through?

We didn't. That's how we ended up with Willie "Ah did nawt have sex with that woman, Mizzzzz Lewinsky" Whitewater and I-am-not-a-dictator Zero.

PS Who did the painting, Madame?

Chef Mojo said...

First movie with nudity I saw was The Last Detail. My dad took me with him to see it on base. Rite of passage stuff.

ricpic said...

Commissar Country

"Move away from the hate, people!
Move toward the love.
What iron fist in
What velvet glove?"

Freeman Hunt said...

Who'd want to swim in a pool with all those free-floating privates?

kentuckyliz said...

Never take microbiology.

Harrod/Herod is interesting in stating the obvious fact that killing a lot of babies is the price tag for so-called free love.

Turns out, it isn't free.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

who did the painting, madame?

Artist unknown..

Hard to find any details online, bit I'd guess Italian, 16th century.

Maybe Palladian or someone else who knows his or her art history can jump in & enlighten us.

edutcher said...

Thanks, I thought it was by Someone since Madame used it.

Synova said...

"The Harrad Experiment is not a system of free love. It's more of a throwback to arranged marriages, but with neutral experts instead of your parents doing the matchmaking."

"Western man must take the long step away from primitive emotions of hate and jealousy"

So, um... sort of like the relationship version of "Imagine."

You don't really care, so who cares. There isn't a real connection so there can't be betrayal. Nothing to live for. No future. Nothing to die for. No hate.

Sounds groovy.

Gahrie said...

1) Compare the Harrad Experiment to Heinlein's adult sci fi novels, Discuss.

2)One of the Bradford girls from Eight is Enough was in that movie. (She was actually older than the actress who played her mother in that series)

David said...

So that's what happened to Tippi Hederen.

David said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Who'd want to swim in a pool with all those free-floating privates?


At Parris Island Marine Boot Camp, just down the road from where we live, every private has to learn to float.

pj (lowercase) said...
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ironrailsironweights said...

That flavorful young lady in the movie trailer is probably 60 years old today.
And likely hairless, as a quick perusal of You Porn's "Mature" category will make clear.
God damn it.

Peter

Paddy O said...

If only people were just less people-like we could achieve peace and harmony!

Paddy O said...

"with neutral experts instead of your parents doing the matchmaking."

So, like match.com or eharmony.com.

What social engineering couldn't do, the internet can.

Paddy O said...

"I found the nudity disturbing." Reading this in in Darth Vader's voice adds a whole new dimension to this blog. Maybe this whole project is a jedi mind-meld.

Renee said...

Would I trust my parents in picking my husband?

I think they would pick a nice man, I doubt I would of loved him in the same way as when I choose my one.

but even today, families do have a lot of sway in making your life miserable if they don't like your spousal choice.

Carol said...

Dear Peter, the problem with the laments you leave all over the blogosphere is that you force the reader to visualize.

Ewww.

chrisnavin.com said...

Me and the lady tried the Harrod's experiment online a few weeks ago.

$300 for a tie!

It failed. At least we were free to choose.

Emil Blatz said...

Jeez, I saw Bruno Kirby in that first clip.

Emil Blatz said...
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Freeman Hunt said...

I'm fairly certain I would have despised anyone my parents would have picked out for me. What sort of a person do you think your college professors would have picked out for you? I am having trouble imagining who mine would have picked out for me.

Kevin Walsh said...

Kirby always turned up where you least expected him.

The Godfather said...

The Harrad book came out in 1962 (per Wikipedia), by which time I was in college and too old for such childish crap. In the '60's we had "Candy" and "The Story of O" and others I've forgotten.

In the 50's in high school we had "Peyton Place" and the "good" parts of "From Here To Eternity". I have a vague recollection that there were also "good" parts of "Brave New World". The closest thing to naked in the movies in the '50's was Brigitte Bardot (she was pretty cute then, but scary for the last couple of decades).

As Maurice Chevalier sang (in "Gigi"?), "I'm glad I'm not young anymore". (Sorry, I don't know how to write the French accent for that.)

Ann Althouse said...

"Who'd want to swim in a pool with all those free-floating privates?"

It's not as if a bathing suit is preventing the water from circulating. It's just that you're not thinking about it. Think about it.

Chip S. said...

But a girl is more likely to bump into some free-floating privates when she's naked.

betamax3000 said...

""Who'd want to swim in a pool with all those free-floating privates?""

If Harvey Keitel and his Magic Balls were in the pool they would sink to the bottom due to the Gravity of their Responsibility.

betamax3000 said...

If you rubbed Harvey Keitel's Balls while in the pool you could make two wishes:

1> Find the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with.

2> Learn to swim, fast.

William said...

I think sexual liberation and decadence are joined at the hip. That's the bad news. The good news is that civilization can flourish and, indeed, thrive in the presence of decadence. Sexuality is just a flywheel and not the driveshaft.....From the evidence of Lena Dunham's Girls we know that young people are far more knowledgeable and sophisticated about sex than those young people. I don't think Dunham's generation is particularly happier. They just have more sex......The selling point of sexual liberation back in the sixties was that it led to a more fulfilled and happy life. I have nothing against getting laid, but the whole thing was completely oversold......What would happen if some current porn star had gotten caught in one of those pesky space-time bubbles in the continuum and had suddenly materialized in the Harrad experiment. My bet is that the professors and students upon contemplation of the tats, piercings, silicone implants, shaved pudenda and bukkake experiences that awaited them in the future would call the whole experiment off and sign a vow of abstenince.

betamax3000 said...

Harvey Keitel: with Great Balls comes Great Responsibility.

rcommal said...

OMG. When packing books to move, I actually came across my cache of Rimmer books, including the Harrad Experiment, which I read at a ridiculously young age. Laughed my ass off and thanked heaven the ideas therein never really took off with me. Honestly never thought I'd see those books referenced again, as I hadn't in probably, oh, the past 25 years or so. And here I am. Ha!

rcommal said...

And no, I didn't throw them out. By that stage, I was past the purge stage and was getting stuff in boxes as fast as possible. Probably by the time they get unburied again, I'll be...well, buried. Or something.

[still chuckling]

Enjoying Meade's pun.

Freeman Hunt said...

"It's not as if a bathing suit is preventing the water from circulating. It's just that you're not thinking about it. Think about it."

It's not the circulating water that I'd be worried about, though that is pretty gross. Bathing suits ensure that incidental contact with another person in the pool will either be with not private body parts or with fabric.

Ann Althouse said...

"Bathing suits ensure that incidental contact with another person in the pool will either be with not private body parts or with fabric."

Yes, it is bizarrely intimate.

Ann Althouse said...

"The entrance requirements are pretty stiff!"

The pun is intended in the original.

Making it so less funny.

Fernandinande said...

"My wife and I felt that, in order to survive, Western man must take the long step away from primitive emotions of hate and jealousy and learn the meaning of love and loving as a dynamic process."

Those "feelings" are en excellent example of the "blank slate" denial of human nature.

Robert Cook said...

"I think sexual liberation and decadence are joined at the hip. That's the bad news. The good news is that civilization can flourish and, indeed, thrive in the presence of decadence. Sexuality is just a flywheel and not the driveshaft.....From the evidence of Lena Dunham's Girls we know that young people are far more knowledgeable and sophisticated about sex than those young people. I don't think Dunham's generation is particularly happier. They just have more sex......The selling point of sexual liberation back in the sixties was that it led to a more fulfilled and happy life."

Our problem is that we seem so incapable of allowing for a full range of behavior, but seem to insist on only one right form of behavior at a time. Prior to the "sexual revolution" of the 60s, inflamed largely by the introduction of the pill, we were a very neurotic and prudish society. People had sex, if not as freely, and certainly not as openly, but there was a feeling that sex was dirty and those having sex--that is, women having sex--were shameful whores. With the sexual revolution, the promise seemed to be--or should have been--sex is natural, everyone likes sex and has sex or wants to have sex and there's no reason to wait until marriage...if you don't want to. If you want to be sexually free, there's no shame, no condemnation; but if you want to be sexually abstemious, there's no shame, no condemnation. In other words, the "sexual revolution" should have permitted greater sexual freedom for those who wanted it, but left room for those who preferred a more prudent approach to matters of love and lust. Instead, there seemed to be a pressure put on everyone to adhere to the new sexual mores or be seen as hung up and unhealthy. Previously, women who felt sexual desires were were made to wonder if they were abnormal; subsequently, women who did not want to have indiscriminate sex and one-night stands were made to wonder if they were abnormal. The reality is there is no "normal." We each have different drives and should no more assume (or be pressured to believe) we must adhere to one form of sexual behavior than we should all be made to believe we should like the same foods or movies or music.

I think decadence comes where little or no value is placed on one's own pleasures, where having a fuck means no more than having an extra slice of blueberry pie. It's the difference between savoring a glass of fine wine and simply downing a sixpack to get fucked up. It's the difference between eating a small portion of delicious, wonderfully prepared food and gorging on huge double- and triple-sized portions because such meals are cheap and "a good buy." It's the difference between buying what one needs and treating oneself sparingly to little (or not so little) luxuries and feeling compelled to shop and buy endlessly and indiscriminately, where shopping is one's only form of entertainment.

Pete Townshend wrote and sang a song on his EMPTY GLASS album called "A Little Is Enough," and we don't seem to be able to appreciate or live by that truism. It seems we must go all or nothing: total restriction on sexual behavior outside marriage or total promiscuity and sexual license.

It's going to extremes that is unhealthy and makes us unhappy, and in all things moderation is to be preferred, as someone said.

Freeman Hunt said...

A pool full of naked people is like a pond teeming with penis reeds, mammary lily pads, and pubic hair algae. It is a nightmare to be escaped, not a happy dream of perfection in social engineering.

Or maybe those two are really the same thing.

Freeman Hunt said...

(I'm not even going to address bare backsides which probably belong to people who vary in fastidiousness of hygiene.)

traditionalguy said...

We have come a long way baby. E-Harmony picks partners and the Facebook does the advertising.

Back in 1963 this imaginary stuff was the college Professor's Seminar ideas for us horny teens, but only the Professors were taking it seriously.

William said...

@Robert Cook: Thanks for a well thought out response to this troubling issue. Here's my idea for a variation on the Harrad experiment. In the test group, namely me, our test group is lavished with sexual attention by the SI bikini team for a period of five years. In the control group, we place a faithfully married man and his lovely wife. At the end of these five years, an extensive psychological survey is taken to find out which subject reports the greatest amount of contentment. My supposition is that it will be the happily married man who comes out ahead. Such an experiment would finally resolve all these hypotheticals that people have about sex. If there are still unbelievers, I'm willing to go for another five years--this time with the Victoria Secret girls. And I'm certain the answer will be the same. Perhaps we could get govt. or even church funding to carry out this valuable experiment which will prove incontrovertibly the value of monagamous marriage.

rcommal said...

Althouse, there is no way I'm going to purchase "The Harrad Experiment" or any other of the author's books in that series/area via Kindle. But in one of the those books--it might be "The Harrad Experiment," or it might be one of the others--there was this whole conversation going on that was either inspired by, or led to, a discussion that involved a hypothetical pimple on one of the guys' asses. I don't remember which. What I DO remember is having a reaction which--anachronistically enough--would now be shorthanded on the Internet as "WTF?!?". And, all kidding aside, thinking back to and over--in hindsight to be sure--that time, it sure probably did help plant one of the seeds that spawned inveterate skepticism in me in and over the following decades since then. I mean, I wouldn't call that a pivotal thing, and I certainly wouldn't characterize it as an epiphany, but it sure was quite a salient (and obviously memorable) point along a continuum.

Althouse, perhaps you would consider searching for that in your Kindle version of "The Harrad Experiment"?

rcommal said...

In my memory, which of course means in my mind now, that was right up there with that great marrying scene (among other great scenes, but they're not on point as much) in the movie "Serial," starring Martin Mull.

Youness, meness,
Usness, weness
Yourness, mineness,
Ourness."


...and in irreverent response...

Sickness!

***

Heh. In searching for a linkable video, I came upon not just this time but also this time when I referred to that scene here at Althouse, in 2006.

Heh. Also, yeah, uncle: I am boring.

rcommal said...

Oops! Here's the link to a video clip of the scene.

Paul Ciotti said...

Nowadays they teach kids to put condoms on cucumbers. And a few years back here in the Los Angeles School District, the schools were passing out dental dams to junior high school students for safe lesbian sex.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear in a few years that some schools have abandoned noon time dances in the gym (which we had when I was in junior high) in favor of safe sex classes where boys and girls would pair up in little cubicles and practice obtaining clear permission before unbuttoning anything and ending with the need for discretion and maturity if you're so lucky as to score a home run.

rcommal said...

Noontime dances? We had lunchtime shifts, back in my day, in middle school, and they amounted to something like 35 minutes from the ending bell of the preceding class to the starting bell of the following one. Including lines for lunch and at the bathroom, there wasn't a whole lot of extra time for anything other than moving, waiting, eating and--you'll pardon my explicitness--"going to the bathroom." Dances at lunchtime? Well, I guess you could it that.

; )

***

We still had regular, old gym at the time. Please don't make me jealous retroactively, to think others got lunchtime dances, in its place, even then.

rcommal said...

Well, I guess you could it that should be Well, I guess you could call it that.

rcommal said...

"We don't like to be ostentatious."

rcommal said...

Ostentatious

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Ha! I read that book when I was a kid. As I remember it the wise sociologists picked the room mates he expected would be good sexual matches. It had a slightly creepy "we've STUDIED this with TOP MEN so shut up" vibe to it combined with undergraduate naivete about the actual facts.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Ha! I read that book when I was a kid. As I remember it the wise sociologists picked the room mates he expected would be good sexual matches. It had a slightly creepy "we've STUDIED this with TOP MEN so shut up" vibe to it combined with undergraduate naivete about the actual facts.

Paul Ciotti said...

It seems to me there was a paragraph in the Harrad experiment about the need to drink tea out of narrow tall glasses so as to better conserve heat and prevent the spills and rapid cooling one gets with cups and saucers.

More than a little over-prescriptive I thought. Kind of like the mayor of New York and his ban on jumbo soft drink containers.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Freeman: I have to disagree with you on the nudity-in-a-pool thing. First, the issue of "contact" does not really come up unless you are actually hugging, or similar.
For me, the thought that "OMG I'm in the same water as other strange peoples' (naked) bodies!" literally never crosses my mind. (Maybe it's partly because I spent uncountable hours in pools in my youth?)
The main thought in my head was always about how fantastic the amazing unchlorinated fresh water pool was. Even made swimming laps fun. (It was sanitized of course, just with a scheme that left no residual chemicals in the water. I'm a paranoid engineer kind of guy - that was the first thing I checked when I heard about it.)

William said...

I,like most men, would favor sex experiments that are crafted to resemble a wet dream. Women apparently would prefer sex experiments that didn't involve any carnal contact, however attenuated.

pj (lowercase) said...
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