Friday, December 9, 2011

God Save The Beard!: part 2

The following is a continuation from yesterday's post about the Senate Investigation of the performance of the play The Beard in 1967, held in Fullerton City Hall.

[Terry Gordon, the director of The Beard, takes the stand]

Senator Richardson: Mr. Gordon, what were the other plays that you directed?

Mr. Gordon: The Dutchman, and The Madness of Lady Bright

Senator Richardson: What was that play about?

Mr. Gordon: Basically the plot is concerned with a homosexual who is a very lonely man in his old age, and towards the end of the play…he goes insane because of his problems that he has had in the past with his family, society, acting upon him, problems imposed upon him.

[Dr. James Young, head of the Drama Department, takes the stand]

Senator Richardson: There's another play that I see you are going to be putting on soon that I am rather curious about. It's called The Knack. May I read from the Titan Times, which is a publication, I believe. It says:

"Seduction is the knack of 'The Knack,' an eccentric comedy in three acts by Ann Jellicoe, which comes sliding in on a splendid blaze of nonsense Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…A genuinely comic play of antics and random images, 'The Knack' centers on the gentle art of getting girls." What do they mean exactly by "getting girls"?

Dr. Young: I talked to the student who put this particular article in the paper and asked about even the pictures which were superimposed thereto, and he said, "Oh, come on, Dr. Young, this is the way we advertise. You see it in the paper all the time, don't you?" And I said, "Well, yes you do, but don't you think we could have overlooked it at the present time?" And he said "No."

Chairman: I want to commend Dr. Young for his honesty.

Senator Richardson: May I go on: "…the gentle art of getting girls. In a London rooming house, three dissimilar young bachelors exercise their charm on a bewildered, apparently innocent young girl from the country. Tolen is arrogant, hard, a sexual Fascist. Colin is shy, fumbling, and earnest. Tom is witty, cool, tart, and very humane. Into their lives comes seventeen-year-old Nancy Jones, a young fawn of maddening innocence."

Dr. Young: It's a rather old theme.

Senator Schmitz: May I ask what a sexual Fascist is?


[Paul Omar Stilwell, a campus custodian who found a ticket to The Beard in the parking lot and attended it, takes the stand]

Chairman: Do you have anything to add to the testimony we have already heard? Would you sit down, please?

Mr. Stilwell: I sure can't see why anybody would put on a play like that, whether it's free or be charged for or anything else. Sex is sex, but I don't think it should be put in those respects. I think it's a disgrace to the school and to the people that had anything to do with it and also to the City of Fullerton. And anything like that, I can't see it.

[Dr. Stuart Silvers, professor of philosophy, takes the stand]

Senator Schmitz: Dr. Silvers, do you think the hangup on sex, as I believe Dr. Duerr described, the fact that some people are a little, well, shall I put it mildly, squeamish about this type of thing; is that the problem or is the problem the fact that people are getting a little too liberal with sex?

Dr. Silvers: I don't know whether squeamishness at all is an issue. I would say there are any number of events that take place on all college campuses which are, in my opinion, as provocative , but since this one is sexually provocative, it has generated this type of response.

Senator Schmitz: Well, you see, I also teach philosophy, or used to, before going into the legislature. There are two opinions here: One, of course, is that certain things are right and certain things are wrong. The other thing is the relativist's opinion who feels that the absolutist is a disease; the absolutist feels that the relativist is the disease. Which is your point of view?

Dr. Silvers: I subscribe to none of those oversimplified remarks, philosophically.


[Jane Arthur, a student who played the female lead in The Dutchman, another play directed by Terry Gordon, takes the stand]

Chairman: Do you have anything you wish to convey to the committee in connection with what you learned from having been in [The Dutchman]…I assume there was some educational value?

Ms. Arthur: It was done two years ago; however, I do remember the experience that I received from doing that play, as I am sure does most of the audience, my mother included. It was a very moving play. It has a great deal to say about society, about the viciousness of the conflict between the negroes and the whites, and it was brought out, not with the language intended to titillate, but intended rather to expose the viciousness of this particular person that I play.


Senator Richardson: The Supreme Court of the United States discussed a book by John Cleland in the October term, October 1965, and there is a quote in there by Alexander Pope which I think is rather interesting and I would like to have it entered into the record. It's called "Monster Vice":

Vice is a monster so frightful mean
As to be hated only to be seen.
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, pity, and then embrace

I thought it was a rather interesting quote and I would like to enter it into the record and also I would like to move that the full text of the play The Beard and also the full text of the other one we discussed, The Dutchman, be entered into the record and the excerpts from the Free Press we discussed.

[Dr. Miles McCarthy, Dean of Medicine and Science, takes the stand and makes this statement]:

Dr. McCarthy: My name is Miles D. McCarthy. I am before you today as a representative of the California State College at Fullerton Faculty Council and the Chairman of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Ethics. The committee recommended to the Faculty Council and Council approved the following statement:

We, the faculty of California State College at Fullerton, have a common concern, cause and purpose with the community at large; namely, the operation of an institution to discover, analyze and disseminate knowledge, and to educate our youth. The fundamental method, or tool, used in this process is freedom of intellectual inquiry. While it has been often challenged, such freedom has repeatedly been upheld as a method which is absolutely necessary to the pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, in consideration of our obligation to society, we, the faculty of California State College at Fullerton, reaffirm our determination to encourage the free pursuit of learning, and to seek and state the truth as we see it concerning ideas, art forms, issues and controversies within the framework of law. The responsibility to assure, insofar as possible, peaceful demonstrations and assemblies when ideas clash and contend is also recognized. As responsible scholars, we pledge our energies to the enrichment of society. As a fulfillment of our pledge, academic freedom is the single most important condition we require of society…It must be recognized that seeking the truth is sometimes hazardous but that all avenues of approach are meritorious as are all pieces however small and awkward in completing a puzzle.

Senator Richardson: And this group and organization you are talking about of teachers, professors, et cetera, they should have the final word?

Dr. McCarthy: I believe that in order to maintain the kind of institution that you and I want, they must have.

Senator Richardson: If my understanding of a dictatorship is correct, those who have the final word on all situations, thus comprise that sort of a group; is that not correct?

Dr. McCarthy: Say that again?

Senator Richardson: What I am trying to say is that all the characteristics that I have ever known of a dictatorship is when a few people have the final say so on anything.

Dr. McCarthy: That is exactly what I hope will not occur. In Russia, as you may remember, they were prohibited by law from examining genetics…

Senator Richardson: But this is the point I am trying to make: People of the United States of America and the State of California decide by representative government what should happen. That's the free system. That's my understanding.

Dr. McCarthy: Right.

Senator Richardson: What I gathered from your testimony is that you are saying that a small group of people in the state, numerically, and the educators and the professors have a right and should have a right to have the final decision. Now, that isn't the mass of people in this state, in my opinion. Do you see my point?

Dr. McCarthy: Yes, I see your point, but it seems to me that what I want, and what I hope you want also is that we, as tax-supported institutions, have a very real challenge and also a very real purpose in examining everything from as objective a point of view as we can…

Senator Richardson: But you said that you thought the professors should have the last decision.

Dr. McCarthy: Not just one, but the body…

Senator Richardson: In other words, the oligarchies…

Dr. McCarthy: The oli-who?

Senator Richardson: I do believe the power of this state still rests within the people and to their elected officials.

Dr. McCarthy: That's correct.

Senator Richardson: And they have a great deal to say about what happens in the state college system. I do not believe that the sole and final decision rests with the instructors only.

Dr. McCarthy: Well, that's probably not a very fair statement to make. I would say that if this be the case, perhaps maybe the people should run the institutions and not seek professional help.

[Dr. David Malone, English professor, takes the stand]

Chairman: If you would be seated there, your background…perhaps you could tell us.

Dr. Malone: Yes, sir. I am professor of comparative literature and chairman of the English department at the University of Southern California. By way of explaining possible relevance, my being here, I regularly teach courses in European drama. I have been asked by the district attorney's office in Los Angeles County and Orange County to testify as an expert witness in pornography trials.

Chairman: We have asked the witnesses here to confine their testimony to about five minutes.

Dr. Malone: Yes. All of the issues in this case are at the very center of my own professional life…It seems to me that in yesterday's questions and answers that three essential issues have been a concern of these hearings: First whether or not the plays, which predictably would offend many people, such as The Dutchess and The Beard, should be used in college instruction. Second, whether or not responsibility for academic decisions is properly placed and exercised at Cat State Fullerton. And third, whether or not in public institutions the institutions should not act in accordance with the will of the taxpayers who are paying the bills. You've all heard a great deal of testimony about The Beard and The Dutchess and whether or not they should be included in the instructional program. I would argue that their inclusion as performances in classes in play directing was justified. There is no way of knowing whether a play is any good or not unless it's put on. It's possible to depict all kinds of offensive things tastefully on the stage. Sexual intercourse is depicted in the movies constantly, and frequently with considerable taste.

Senator Richardson: Mr. Malone, what do you think would happen on the Southern California campus if you put on the play The Beard?

Dr. Malone: There would be great public outcry.

Senator Richardson: Do you think you would lose your job?

Dr. Malone: No.

Senator Walsh: Mr. Malone, I would like to ask you as an expert witness…

Senator Richardson: First of all, I would like to bring up…I don't know if he's really qualified as an expert witness…

Senator Walsh: These pictures were introduced yesterday, and I'd like to know your opinion as to whether or not, as a pornographic expert, these pictures would be classified as pornography.

Dr. Malone: In my opinion, no.

Senator Walsh: Would you say they were more or less art?

Dr. Malone: I can identify it as the ending of The Beard…

Senator Walsh: What act is assumed in that, answer me that!

Dr. Malone: It assumes an act of cunnilingus.

Senator Richardson: Dr. Malone, would you consider that a pornographic act in that picture?

Dr. Malone: If the act were the actual act, it would obviously be a felony.

Senator Richardson: I'm asking if you believe that is act of pornography if called as a witness on it. It's my understanding that experts have opinions.

Dr. Malone: This is a picture, not an act. Now, the act itself, I would have to see staged. I do not believe those pictures are pornographic.

Senator Richardson: You do not believe those pictures are pornographic?

Dr. Malone: No.

Senator Walsh: Using the inserts or the excerpts and fact summaries of both plays, The Dutchess and The Beard..

Dr. Malone: Yes, sir.

Senator Walsh: Would you call the terminology used in these plays, in the scripts, would you call this a superior form of education?

Dr. Malone: No, sir, I would not. I might point out that all of those statements are taken out of context.

Senator Walsh: Do you feel that academic responsibility was properly exercised?

Dr. Malone: Yes sir, I most certainly do.

[James Clancy, an attorney, is called to the stand]

Senator Richardson: Mr. Clancy, would you give us your background, please?

Mr. Clancy: I am an attorney, licensed to practice in California. I have been interested in the obscenity field for approximately 10 years. I was special prosecutor in a charge of a special section looking into the pornographic situation in Los Angeles County during the year 1964. i have been Assistant City Attorney of Burbank for five years. I have participated in approximately 10 amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court, 26 of them in this last term, and I have written several documentaries or commentaries on laws of obscenity.

Senator Richardson: You are recognized by William McKesson's office as an authority in the field of pornography because he has employed you in that line of work?

Mr. Clancy: Yes, I was a special counsel.

Senator Richardson: Would you mind giving your statement on what your opinions are relative to The Beard? Do you believe that it would be considered as tending toward pornography or a proper subject for a state college to present?

Mr. Clancy: Yes, I've read The Beard and it is my personal opinion that it is an obscene play, and it's also my personal opinion that it fits within the California definition of obscenity. I base this upon a recent California case, Landau vs. Fording, involving a similar situation up at California at Berkeley campus. There, Mr. Landau wanted to show a film which was known as Un Chant D'Amor. This was a 26-minute, what they would call an underground film. He was told that if he did show it, he would be prosecuted. Thereupon, he went into the Superior Court in Alameda County, and after a full trial in which many experts testified, Judge Phillips held the matter to be hardcore pornography and enjoined its showing. I, in connection with preparing this documentary filmstrip, the clerk of the court showed me this 26-minute film, and I would strongly recommend that the senators in this investigation take a look at it as it is a matter of record in the superior court in Alameda County. It is nowhere near the offensiveness of The Beard…

…Of course, this goes back to the year 1716, the basis of the obscenity crime and the purpose of it is to exclude from public showing those types of conduct which are regarded as private. This is what our civilization, based on our Judeo-Christian norms, requires, or the majority requires…

…People say you can never drive it back to what it was before, but the same situation existed in the 1700s, and strangely enough, the result of the reaction was to drive society in the other direction toward Puritanism…You've got the same situation today, but unfortunately there are very few Alexander Popes to speak out against playwrights who are pushing the line…

[Dr. George Forest, assistant professor of drama at Cal State Fullerton, is called to the stand]

Dr. Forest: Throughout the testimony, there has been an assumption that somehow political freedom and the ability of the public to manifest its rights politically has something to do with the educational process in general. I think this is an awfully murky area for many people, but I think we have to face the fact that people are going to be offended no matter what we do in the college system. There are people who last spring came around to me personally, outside the school, who objected to our teaching the theory of evolution. There are people I know who object to the use of live nude models in the art department. There are people who object to teaching of the anthropological proof or disproof of the existence of God, who object to reading Chaucer…

[Henry S. Samuels, a resident of Fullerton, president of a group called the Fullerton Improvement Association takes the stand]

Mr. Samuels: I have children, one which is graduating from high school this June, that I expect to go to this college. I have two more within the next three years, and I must state that under terms of types of programs of The Beard and The Dutchman, I would not want any of my children associated with this college…

[President Langsdorf is called again to the stand]

President Langsdorf: May I make one statement for the record? I have been a member of the board of the Chamber of Commerce of Fullerton for some several years, and I have never heard of Mr. Samuels or the greater Fullerton Improvement Association.

[Applause from audience]

Chairman: First of all, the audience will confine their applause to something reasonable. Would you rather be excluded, ladies and gentlemen? I have the sergeant and staff here ready to do it. Take your choice.

Senator Richardson: Do you believe that a play like this, The Beard, is corrupting to the youth?

President Langsdorf: Is simulated sex any worse than simulated murder? We see that portrayed before young people, before children on television every night, and I assume that this is part of the background and culture of our society that regards sex as somehow evil, whether its normal or abnormal. So, philosophically and logically, it's hard to understand this, even though my own background revolts at something like this.

Senator Walsh: As far as I'm concerned, the fish smells from the head and I can't seem to find the head around here…

President Langsdorf: I think it is the function of higher education to investigate and challenge everything. I think that which is valid would stand up. I think the primary authority of the professor is not the indoctrination of the student, but to educate the student to look and examine and use logical means to determine what is truth, the search for truth…the one thing that the college should insist on is intellectual honesty.

[Dr. Duerr is called to the stand again]

Senator Schmitz: I called you up because we had TV time together last night and I wanted some more.

Dr. Duerr: I didn't see that.

Senator Schmitz: Seriously, Dr. Duerr, how many hours per week do you teach?

Dr. Duerr: I think I teach about 13 to 14.2 or something like that.

Senator Schmitz: You indicated there is a difference between an experimental play and one that you put on for public consumption?

Dr. Duerr: Many of the experimental ones are open to the public. All of them could be.

Senator Schmitz: The one you showed last week…what was that production?

Dr. Duerr: The Swamp Dwellers.

Senator Schmitz: Was that an experimental play?

Dr. Duerr: That was put on directly in class.

Senator Schmitz: One thing that struck me, and I say this in all seriousness, have any of these experimental plays ever had a theme other than sex?

Dr. Duerr: Other than sex?

Senator Schmitz: Yes, I mean, all of them that we have talked about here so far have had sex as the theme.

Dr. Duerr: Well, that was your choice, wasn't it?

Senator Schmitz: I didn't bring up the title for this discussion.

Senator Schmitz: We asked the director what plays be produced and Senator Richardson said that the only one that didn't seem to have sex was Shakespeare, and he said that Shakespeare had sex too.

Dr. Duerr: Senator Richardson was in error because the Moliere play was not a sex play.

Senator Schmitz: Excuse me

Dr. Duerr: The Moliere play was not a sex play, so he was wrong.

Senator Richardson: Then I stand corrected.

Dr. Duerr: I am saying that you can call everything sex plays.

Senator Schmitz: Not Walt Disney.

Dr. Duerr: Sometimes it seems to me, after listening for a couple of days, that you are not investigating a state college, but you are investigating drama.


Former CSUF history professor Lawrence de Graaf writes:

"At the end of the hearings, the committee issued a public statement calling for the dismissal of Duerr and Young from the Cal State Fullerton faculty. If such action was not taken, the committee would offer legislation requiring the dismissals. The senators introduced 10 legislative proposals in April 1968, 'aimed at calming campus turbulence and upholding moral standards,' through internal control of the Board of Trustees and the college president. Senator Schmitz warned budget cuts to higher education could emerge as one means to handle 'flagrant moral corruption and revolutionary violence planned and carried out behind the cloak of academic freedom.' The California State College Academic Senate call for for defeat of the proposals, which could 'lead to a trend toward autocratic, dictatorial control of College Trustees and every student and faculty activity on campus.' Although several of the bills introduced by [the committee] passed in the senate, all died in the State Assembly.

Dr. Young later reflected on the episode, 'Academic freedom is perhaps stronger here for having been tested.'"


Here's a little bio on Senator John G. Schmitz, taken from the Arlington National Cemetery web site. He is buried there.

Schmitz first made the headlines in 1962 while stationed at El Toro as a Marine officer teaching other Marines about the dangers of Communism. Using nothing more than the sheer authority of his voice, he disarmed an assailant who was stabbing a woman by the roadside near the Marine Corps base. Although the woman died, Schmitz's reputation as a hero--and the roots of his political career--were made.

The next time his picture was on the front page was in 1964 as Orange County's newest Republican state senator, a position to which he was reelected in 1966. By then, Schmitz had attracted the support of such wealthy conservatives as fast-food magnate Carl Karcher, sporting goods heir Willard Voit and San Juan Capistrano rancher Tom Rogers. So when the county's longtime conservative Rep. James B. Utt died and local Republicans needed a successor, Schmitz--by then a national director of the ultraconservative John Birch Society -- was a natural choice. Using such slogans as "When you're out of Schmitz, you're out of gear," a parody of a well-known Schlitz beer commercial, the Wisconsin native who had grown up scrubbing beer vats won easy election in 1970 and moved his family to Washington.

Schmitz soon established himself as one of the country's most right-wing and outspoken congressmen and just as quickly enraged his most famous constituent, part-time San Clemente resident President Richard Nixon. Of Nixon's historic visit to China, Schmitz, whose political hero was Sen. Joseph McCarthy and who considered the visit a sellout, quipped, "I have no objection to President Nixon going to China. I just object to his coming back." The congressman's fellow Birchers laughed, but the president was not amused. By election day, neither was Schmitz, who lost his seat to a more moderate candidate. But his political career was far from over. In 1972, after Alabama Gov. George Wallace was seriously wounded when shot by a would-be assassin while campaigning for president, Schmitz was drafted by Wallace's American Independent Party to run against Nixon. He collected more than a million votes but lost muchof his longtime Orange County support.

"He was operating on a higher level of politics than any of us had the guts for," recalled former Schmitz campaign treasurer Tom Rogers. "His philosophy was unbending, even for his fellow Republicans, and he never doubted his own abilities and was never humble . . . until it was too late."

In 1978, Schmitz won a second state Senate seat, representing Newport Beach as a Republican. By then, though, caustic remarks  about Jews ("Jews are like everybody else, only more so"), Latinos ("I may not be Hispanic, but I'm close. I'm Catholic with a mustache") and blacks ("Martin Luther King is a notorious liar") had grown so outrageous that he was beginning to lose the support of even the John Birch Society, which eventually dumped him.  He also got into trouble with feminist attorney Gloria Allred after criticizing her support of abortion rights by calling her a "slick, butch lawyeress." A lawsuit she filed resulted in a $20,000 judgment against him and a public apology. Schmitz drew fire as well by issuing a press release referring to the audience at a series of hearings he chaired on abortion as consisting of "hard, Jewish and  (arguably) female faces."

But the scandal that ultimately brought his downfall was the 1982 revelation that the politician who so loudly espoused family values also had a secret life that included a pregnant mistress and a 15-month-old son. "It was an unimaginable shock," Santa Ana  lobbyist and former Schmitz aide Randy Smith later told The Times.  "It was simply unbelievable."

When Schmitz's mistress, a 43-year-old German immigrant, was charged with neglecting their son, the former congressman stepped forward to defend her and to identify himself as the father. Although  the neglect case was eventually dropped, the damage to Schmitz's  political career was permanent.

Schmitz moved back to Washington, where he purchased a house once owned by McCarthy, and worked part time at Political Americana, a memorabilia store in Union Station.  But there was to be yet another scandal involving his family. In 1997, Schmitz's 35-year-old daughter, Mary Kay LeTourneau, a teacher in Washington state at the time, was convicted of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student whose child she ultimately bore. LeTourneau, married and the mother of four children when she became pregnant by the boy, served a six-month  jail sentence in 1997 after pleading guilty to second-degree child rape. After her release on probation, she became pregnant by the teen a second time, drawing a seven-year prison term which she is still serving.

Among his publications is the book "Stranger in the Arena: the Anatomy of an Amoral Decade, 1964 to 1974" (1974).

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Mary E. Suehr Schmitz of the District and Washington, Va.; LeTourneau and five other children, John Patrick Schmitz of McLean, former deputy counsel to President George Bush, Joseph E. Schmitz of Bethesda, Jerome T. Schmitz of Mesa, Ariz., Theresa Manion of Front Royal, Va., and Elizabeth Crnkovich of McLean; two brothers; three sisters; and 27 grandchildren. A son, Philip, died in 1973.

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