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During all this, Kinsey, a seriously gray man, was like a friendly bank manager in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Overnight, Kinsey became a national hero to many, the devil to others.
Later, during his presidency, when most incumbents express affection—and more—for women not their wives, Lincoln was already a marble statue to Family Values. In due course, Kinsey and I met, and he took, as they say, my history for his research.
Now we know that he was never unenthralled by those May violets. This involved encoded questions about sexual activities with some trick questions in order to catch liars.
Each youth betrays considerable anxiety about the wedding night ahead. To Sandburg’s credit he picked up on this (who could not after reading the letters?
), but, first time around, I skipped his poetical comments on Lincoln’s “streak of lavender and spots soft as May violets.” Sandburg was a typical American of his time and place; he knew that any male with sexual feelings for another male was a maiden trapped inside a male body.
It is interesting now that we have entered a new America ruled by Moral Values; faith-inspired attacks are being made on Kinsey’s findings so long after the fact.
Sandburg was a poet-performer, and I tended to skip his rhapsodic passages, thus missing some key points. well, to be precise, there is no Sandburg Lincoln, only a sort of grab bag of anecdotes, a do-it-yourself folklore Lincoln, using material that, with time’s passage, has been more and more rejected by those scholar squirrels who are always in attendance upon the Lincoln brigade’s stern academic icon-dusters.Much remarked upon in Lincoln’s rustic world was his sudden spurt of growth at about nine years old, some four years before the average of other males.Also, his fascination with sex stories whose obscenity alarmed even him—he was an early stand-up comic and, as such, was appreciated in the stag world of the law.“Kinsey’s figures on the pervasiveness of the homosexual experiences of men dazzled the ever inquisitive Tripp,” as historian Jean Baker writes in her introduction to his study of Lincoln.More to the point were Kinsey’s investigations into why some men were more responsive than others to same-sexuality and how these responses tend to vary throughout life’s stages.