Still à propos:
In 1967, the veteran CBS journalist Mike Wallace did what today would seem revolutionary: he hosted a 43-minute documentary that exposed the stark truth about homosexuality, speaking openly of well-established facts that have since been consigned to the memory hole of political correctness.
Wallace’s documentary, The Homosexuals, is a frank examination of the self-destructive behavior of sexually-active homosexuals, the underlying psychological causes of their impulses, and their troubling influence on American culture. It also discusses curative therapy for homosexual orientation, which had a success rate in the 1960s of about one third, a result similar to that yielded by modern therapeutic methods.
“The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous,” Wallace states matter-of-factly. “He is not interested in nor capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits, and even the streets of the city - the quick one night stand. These are characteristic of the homosexual relationship.”
During the course of this pioneering work, Wallace and the CBS’ news team interview four homosexuals, two psychologists, a district attorney and a judge. Although Wallace allows two gay activists to air their arguments in favor of decriminalizing sodomy, he also gives time to others who speak of the devastating impact of homosexual behavior on their lives.
Beginning with the pseudonymous “Warren Adkins” (in reality, Jack Nichols), a representative of the polished Mattachine Society who advanced many of the arguments still used by homosexual activists today, Wallace moves on to the testimony of a 27-year-old man whose sexual misconduct had ruined his career and landed him in jail several times. He describes his formative years in terms familiar to therapists who treat same-sex attraction.
“I had a very domineering mother, a tyrant. A very sweet tyrant, but a tyrant nonetheless,” he tells Wallace. “It was a love that I had that was kind of killing me.”
Overweight and taunted by children, he was never allowed to develop independence from his overbearing mother, of whom he was “scared to death.”
“I know that inside now, I’m sick,” he says with simple directness. “I’m not sick just sexually, I’m sick in a lot of ways. Immature, childlike. And the sex part of it is a symptom, like a stomach ache is a symptom of who knows what.”
Dr. Charles Socarides, a pathbreaking psychologist who for decades led the way in treating homosexuals rather than simply prosecuting them, is equally frank before the CBS camera.
“Homosexuality is, in fact, a mental illness, which has reached epidemiological proportions,” says Socarides during a lecture. When asked by a student if homosexuals can be happy in the gay lifestyle, Socarides is unequivocal: “The fact that somebody is homosexual—a true, obligatory homosexual - automatically rules out the possibility that he will remain happy for long in my opinion.”
“The stresses and strains the psychic apparatus is subjected to over the years will cause him in time, I think, to have increasing difficulties. I think the whole idea of saying ‘the happy homosexual’ is to again, create a mythology about the nature of homosexuality.”
Wallace’s cautionary note on Socaride’s teaching resonates with irony only a few decades later, informing us that “It should be pointed out that Dr. Socaride’s views are not universally held. There is a smaller group who do not consider homosexuality an illness at all. Instead, they regard it as a deviation within the range of normalcy.”
We are reminded even more of the almost total inversion of sexual morality that has occurred in the last 45 years with the following remark by Wallace: “Most Americans are repelled by the mere notion of homosexuality. The CBS news survey shows that two out of three of Americans look upon homosexuals with disgust, discomfort, or fear. One out of ten says ‘hatred’. A vast majority believe that homosexuality is an illness, only ten percent say it is a crime. And yet, and here’s the paradox, the majority of Americans favor legal punishment, even for homosexual acts performed in private, between consenting adults.”
The documentary examines other politically-incorrect facts about homosexual behavior, including the high frequency of public sex acts associated with the orientation (three thousand arrests in one jurisdiction alone in 1964). It also examines the draconian penalties for homosexual sexual acts in existence at the time, which included sentences of up to 60 years for a single conviction.
Perhaps the most insightful portion of the documentary are two juxtaposed interviews of the libertine novelist Gore Vidal and cultural critic Dr. Albert Goldman. Vidal begins by insisting that the family is not under threat from the homosexual subculture, and then proceeds to argue that marriage and sexual fidelity are “obsolete.”
In contrast, Goldman dissects the phenomenon of cultural homosexuality, and its relationship with the general corruption of modern society, with ruthless concision.
“It seems to me today we are in the course of gradually rolling back from our former cultural values or cultural identifications, to a more narcissistic, to a more self indulgent, to a more self-centered and essentially adolescent lifestyle,” says Goldman. “The homosexual thing cannot really be separated form a a lot of other parallel phenomena in our society today.”
“I mean, we see this on every hand. Forty percent of modern marriages end in divorce. We have a very widespread tendency to live lives of nonstop promiscuity. This is played up in a kind of playboy philosophy which is celebrated and sugar-coated and offered to the masses and received with pleasure. We have all sorts of fun and games approaches to sex. We have rampant exhibitionism today in every conceivable form.
“We have a sort of masochistic sadistic vogue. We have a smut industry that grinds out millions of dollars worth of pornography a year. We have a sort of masturbatory dance style that’s embraced as if it were something profoundly sexual, whereas actually all those dances do is just grind away without any consciousness of other people or their partners. And homosexuality is just one of a number of such things, all tending towards the subversion, towards the final erosion of our traditional cultural values.”
Wallace died on April 7 at the age of 93, recognized as one of the most substantial and hard-hitting journalists in American history, and famous for asking difficult questions other interviewers avoided. Unlike the majority of his colleagues, he regarded himself as a political moderate. He was a personal friend of Ronald Reagan.