No? Well, me neither! But some stories are just too bizarre not to take note of.
Boing Boing has this story about an article from a 1995 edition of the New York Times Magazine. One of her reader describes it:
"It's completely insane. It involves nude photos of George Bush, Sally Quinn, Miss Manners, Hillary Rodham, Bob Woodward, Brandon Tartikoff, and Meryl Streep, among thousands of others. But not just nude photos of these people. Photos of them with metal pins glued to their spines. Taken during their freshman orientation, at the direction of a eugenicist and somatacist who once wrote that "Negro intelligence comes to a standstill at about the 10th year."
As the original article points out, this eugenicist took many of these photos in the 50's and 60's and it was "a long-established custom at most Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools. George Bush, George Pataki, Brandon Tartikoff and Bob Woodward were required to do it at Yale. At Vassar, Meryl Streep; at Mount Holyoke, Wendy Wasserstein; at Wellesley, Hillary Rodham and Diane Sawyer. All of them -- whole generations of the cultural elite -- were asked to pose."
If you think that is strange, get this juicy tidbit:
"George Hersey, a respected art history professor at Yale, wrote a letter to The Times that ran under the headline "A Secret Lies Hidden in Vassar and Yale Nude 'Posture Photos.' " Sounding an ominous note, Hersey declared that the photos "had nothing to do with posture . . . that is only what we were told."
Hersey went on to say that the pictures were actually made for anthropological research: "The reigning school of the time, presided over by E. A. Hooton of Harvard and W. H. Sheldon" -- who directed an institute for physique studies at Columbia University -- "held that a person's body, measured and analyzed, could tell much about intelligence, temperament, moral worth and probable future achievement. The inspiration came from the founder of social Darwinism, Francis Galton, who proposed such a photo archive for the British population."
And then Hersey evoked the specter of the Third Reich:
"The Nazis compiled similar archives analyzing the photos for racial as well as characterological content (as did Hooton). . . . The Nazis often used American high school yearbook photographs for this purpose. . . . The American investigators planned an archive that could correlate each freshman's bodily configuration ('somatotype') and physiognomy with later life history. That the photos had no value as pornography is a tribute to their resolutely scientific nature."
A truly breathtaking missive. What Hersey seemed to be saying was that entire generations of America's ruling class had been unwitting guinea pigs in a vast eugenic experiment run by scientists with a master-race hidden agenda."
YIKES! For God's sake, let's not let the truthers get a hold of this!
Now, where are these photos? Many were burned, but the author of the NYT magazine article found the negatives at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington at the National Anthropological Archives. But the negatives aren't marked, so unless one could make prints of the thousands of negatives it would be almost impossible to find the famous ones.
Not that we would want to..
Isn't this just the most bizarre story ever?