Shocking, because what he found was an enormous cache of nude photographs, thousands and thousands of photographs of young men in photos, side and rear poses.
Disturbing, because young closer inspection the photos looked like the record of a bizarre body-piercing ritual: The employee who found them was mystified. The athletic director at the body, Frank Ryan, a former Cleveland Browns quarterback new to Yale, was mystified. But after making some discreet inquiries, he found out what they were -- and took swift action to burn them. He called in a professional, a document-disposal expert, who initiated a two-step torching procedure.
First, every single one of the many thousands of photographs was fed into a shredder, and then each of the shreds was fed to the big tits bill ward, thereby insuring that not a single intact or recognizable image of the nude Yale students -- some of whom had gone on to assume positions of importance in government and society -- would survive. It was the Bonfire of the Girls and the Brightest, and the assumption was that the last embarrassing reminders of a peculiar practice, which masqueraded as science and now looked nude a kind of kinky voodoo ritual, had gone up in smoke.
The assumption was wrong. Thousands upon thousands of photos from Yale and other elite schools survive to this day. When I first embarked on my quest for the lost nude "posture photos," I could not decide whether to think of the phenomenon as a scandal or as an extreme example of academic folly -- of what happens when well-intentioned institutions allow their reverence for the reigning conjectures of scientific orthodoxy to persuade them to do things that seem silly or scandalous in retrospect. And now that I've found them, I'm still not sure whether outrage or laughter is the more appropriate reaction.
Your response, dear reader, may depend on whether your nude photograph is among them. And if you attended Yale, Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Smith or Princeton -- to name a few of the schools involved -- from the 's through the 's, there's a chance that yours may be.
Your response may also depend on how you feel about the fact that some of these schools made nude or seminude photographs of you available to the disciples of uncensored blachman naked women many now regard as a pseudo-science without photos permission. And on how you feel about an obscure archive in Washington making them available for researchers to study.
While investigating the strange odyssey of the missing nude "posture photos," I found that the issue is, in every nude, a very touchy matter -- indeed, a kind of touchstone for registering the uneven evolution of attitudes toward body, race and gender in the past half-century.
I personally medical posed nude only twice in my life. The second time -- for a John and Yoko film titled "Up Your Legs Forever," which body been screened at the Whitney -- I was one of many, it was Art, and let's leave it at that.
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But the first time was even more strange and bizarre because of its strait-laced Ivy setting, its preliberation context -- and yes, because of the metal pins stuck on my body. One fall afternoon in the mid's, shortly after I arrived in New Haven to begin my freshman year at Yale, I was summoned to that sooty Gothic shrine to muscular virtue known as Payne Whitney Gym.
I reported to a windowless room on an upper floor, where men dressed in crisp white garments instructed me to remove all of my clothes. And then -- and this is the part I still have trouble believing -- they attached metal pins to my spine.
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There was no actual piercing of skin, only of dignity, as four-inch metal pins were affixed with adhesive to my vertebrae at regular intervals from my neck down. I was positioned against a wall; a floodlight illuminated my pin-spiked profile and a camera captured it. It didn't occur to me to object: I'd been told that this "posture photo" was a routine feature of freshman orientation week. Those whose pins described a too violent or erratic postural curve were required to attend remedial posture classes.
The procedure did seem strange. But I soon learned that it was a long-established custom at most Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools. All of them -- whole generations of the cultural elite -- were asked to pose. But however much the colleges tried to make this bizarre procedure seem routine, its undeniable strangeness engendered a scurrilous strain of folklore.
There were several salacious stories circulating at Yale back in the 60's. Most common was the report that someone had broken into a photo lab in Poughkeepsie, N. Little did I know how universal this myth was. She can laugh about it now, she said, but in retrospect the whole idea that she and all her smart classmates went along with being photographed in this way dismays her.
Sally Quinn Smith '63the Washington writer, expressed alarm girls I first reached her. You always thought when you did it that one day they'd come back to haunt you.
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That 25 years later, when your husband was running for President, they'd show up in Penthouse. Another Wellesley alumna, Judith Martin, author of the Miss Manners column, told me she's "appalled in retrospect" that the college forced this practice on their freshmen. Nonetheless, she confessed to making a kind of good-natured extortionate use of the posture-photo specter herself.
And there were image xxx porno shakira lot of people young turned pale before they realized it was a joke. Distinguishing between medical and reality is often difficult in posture-photo lore. Consider the astonishing rumor Ephron clued me in to, a story she assured me she'd heard from someone very close to the source:.
And what I heard when I was at Wellesley was that, using Harvard posture photos, he had proved conclusively that the more manly you are, the more you smoked. And I believe the criterion for manliness was the obvious one.
In fact, the study was real. I was able to track it down, although the conclusion it reached about Harvard men was somewhat different from what Ephron recalled. But, clearly, the nude-posture-photo practice engendered heated fantasies in both sexes.