Skip to main content

View Diary: Romney doesn't remember, but 35 years later I still do (213 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  sorry to bother you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson

    Yes, Jack Layton's humanity and vision - rising above his own fears(?) to cope with his chosen responsibilities in the world is very appropriate to dealing with this subject matter.

    What's been nagging at me is how could the very people who are still trying to cope with what they did could have been so brutal?

    The answer that popped into my head is that the person who lead the group may have become attracted to you and that frightened him beyond all measure and he could not cope.
    Why he would respond like he did is a concern but I don't think he's the only one who has done something horrible out of fear....not that that's an excuse, it isn't.
    I have some sadness and heartache in my life that I have not talked about here, but I cry with you and wish you the very best.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun May 13, 2012 at 09:12:00 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it was about attraction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eve, melo

      I obviously can't get inside of their heads to know for certain what prompted it, so I can't say for sure.

      That said, based on the whole string of events, based on the communications with members of the group (including the one who came out as gay later), and based on my understanding of the direction of their lives, I tend to think that the sexual aspects of the attack were part of the brutality of it, but not that sublimated attraction was what was motivating it. I can't describe exactly why I think that is the case, but on several "intangible" levels, I strongly feel it to be about something very different than sexual or emotional attraction misdirected.  

      In classic "Lord of the Flies" style, there is a dynamic that takes over sometimes when groups of ill-prepared young people are thrown together. When you're talking about a bunch of 17-19 year old males, sexuality is going to be part of it. Their need to enforce sexual role norms, to establish dominance, to draw lines between the in group and the "other" create a very volatile and dangerous dynamic. It is one that often feeds on itself and escalates quicker and further than even those involved envision. They don't automatically understand where those boundaries should be, and they get crossed often - although usually in manners less extreme than this, but sometimes in even worse ways.

      I can tell you from my communications with these guys is that understood immediately afterward that the attack was unacceptable and that it caused all of them to engage in internal examination about their behaviours. Some of them told me that they talked about it as a group very soon after the fact and acknowledged how completely out of bounds the whole thing was. When they realised I was gay, it added another level of examination to their own attitudes.

      While I can't excuse what they did, I think I have come to some understanding about it. And perhaps because it took place in a university in a diverse tolerant city (Montreal) that was rapidly evolving on gay issues (Quebec was the first province/state to pass a gay rights law, in 1977), they had the opportunity to become educated and sensitized when they were still rather young and impressionable.

      To the best of my knowledge, all of these guys have gone on to be accepting of gay people in their lives and today hold inclusive beliefs. One of them is quite openly gay, others have gay friends and family member. Some of them have taken pro-gay public political positions.

      I hope and believe that, just like me, they have achieved some perspective on the whole thing - that they view it as an isolated incident that they regret deeply, but one that they examined and learned and grew from, that helped shape them into becoming better men in the long run.

      My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

      by terjeanderson on Sun May 13, 2012 at 10:18:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's a small world (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson, melo

        even though I live in Texas, I was born and grew up in Montreal.

        It's a wonderful city.
        My youngest son lives there with his family.

        What is so horrifying is the tribal behavior you describe that overwhelms any rational thought.

        I saw Jane Goodall on the Daily Show and she was talking about a film that Disney of all studios(?) has just released. In this film, that was shot in the wild, according to Goodall the alpha male of a tribe of chimpanzees unexpectedly and spontaneously adopted a recently orphaned baby male chimpanzee whose mother was killed. (when the mother was killed Goodall and the crew thought the film was over and they had spent over a year ending in a very sad event and no movie)
        The alpha male enjoyed playing with and caring for the baby so much so that he neglected the threat from a competing tribe of chimps but supposedly all ended well. (I haven't seen the film).

        I did read Lord of the Flies, maybe 50 years ago???
        I am sure your sense of things is on point. And thank you for taking the time to share with me the dynamic as you yourself have come to understand it. Lord of the Flies is definitive, then. It is a scary aspect of who and what we are.

        Speaking for myself, life can be very painful.
        Thank you for your kindness, honesty and courage.

         

        Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

        by eve on Sun May 13, 2012 at 11:02:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site