Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kinsey (part 4/7): the McCarthy Era

Kinsey and the McCarthy Era

It wasn’t long before the media attacked Kinsey’s books as being a threat to American family values, thus, in their eyes, making a Communist takeover of America possible. The Indianapolis Times ran the headline, “‘Kinseyism’ Aids Reds” (American Experience). Wisconsin Senator (R) Joseph McCarthy (1908 – 1957) requested the Carnegie, Rand, and Ford Foundations to appear in front of the House Investigations Committee in order to justify their grants and ensure that the Communists hadn’t infiltrated their organizations. The witch-hunt didn’t end there, the State Department fired hundreds of employees whom they suspected were gay (Jones 630). J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the F.B.I., (1895 – 1972) maintained a file on Kinsey. Once the Rockefeller Foundation was called forward, B. Carroll Reese (1889 – 1961), who lead the Senate Special Committee on Tax Exempt Foundations, condemned Kinsey’s work. As a result, the Rockefeller Foundation cut Kinsey’s funding in 1954 (American Experience).

Kinsey had in effect been censored. His dreams of completing his research and collecting 100,000 interviews for further volumes on the study of human sexuality were shattered. He fell into a deep depression. He suffered from insomnia: taking sleeping pills at night and uppers in the morning in order to wake up. Kinsey’s health started to deteriorate. He died from a major heart attack on 25 August, 1956. He was 62 years old (American Experience).

If only Kinsey had lived to see the rise of Women’s Liberation, the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1960s, and the decriminalization of homosexuality in America. He would have been surprised, to say the least.

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