Maggie Lee sent us a zine she made out of found pictures of funny-looking teenagers from the 70s and a bizarre psychology book from 1945. From what we can tell, the prevailing school of thought concerning children with behavioural problems in the 1940s was that they were mostly just weird, retarded brats.
As it explains on the last page, a friend of Maggie's sent her a bunch of negatives he found in a thrift store in Ohio and told her to "make something cool with it." The result is a bunch of class pictures paired up with descriptions of "problem children" lifted from a book by Lester and Alice Crow called Our Teen-Age Boys and Girls… Suggestions for Parents, Teachers, and Other Youth Leaders. A lot of times the suggestions don't exist, and most of the time the titles of the entries sound more like an insult hurled across the playground than a doctor introducing a patient. In our expert opinion, it seems like these case studies are mostly just kids who like to party and get laid a lot.
Here's some of the best (all sic, btw):
Gordon Continues to Be a Spoiled Baby
"Seventeen-year-old Gordon has been a discipline problem since his early childhood. As a baby, he was spoiled by his mother, with the result that neither she nor his father has any control over him. Although he has average intelligence, he was retarded in elementary school and did not enter high school until he was almost sixteen years old.
He has utter disregard for authority. He was a habitual truant and cutter at school. At one time he brought a carving knife to school, but his mother was unconcerned by this fact. She has been consistently uncooperative. Gordon is erratic and restless and shows neurotic tendencies. He paws his mother, and she seems to enjoy this.
When he reached the age of seventeen, he refused to attend school; but when he was given his employment certificate, he tore it up. He insisted that there was no need for him to work and he did not intend to do so. At present he is hanging around the house, visiting poolrooms, and the like. His parents are doing nothing about his activities. He has not yet committed any criminal offense; but, since there is no one outside the home or in the home to discipline him, he is running wild."
See what I mean about the lack of a suggestion thing? Also, the fuck does, "He paws his mother, and she seems to enjoy this" mean?
Marcia Was a Sex Delinquent
"As far as her schoolwork was concerned, Marcia was no problem. She was a slow student who had dropped back a grade, but her attitude was always most cooperative. Her program was adjusted to meet her interest and ability, and she was grateful to the school for the help that they gave her. Marcia's home conditions were poor and her parents had no control over her social activities. She stayed out late at night without explanation and finally was missing from home as a sex delinquent. She was traced and placed on probation, but ran away a second time. When she was finally found, she had been married to a sailor by a justice of the peace in another state. Her parents accepted the situation, but arranged to have a second ceremony performed by a Navy chaplain. Within a short time, Marcia became the mother of a little girl."
Dennis Has Many Undesirable Practices
"Dennis's father deserted the family, and his mother contracted a disease that caused her limbs to swell to such an extent that she cannot walk without propping herself against a wall [wtf? -ed.]. These conditions seem to be responsible in large measure for the boy's maladjustment. He leads a life of dissipation, stays out until all hours of the morning, and brags about the liquor that he drinks and the girls with whom he goes. No one has control over the boy. He has an indifferent grandfather, who takes no interest in the boy's welfare. Consequently, Dennis has no fear of anyone in the family and is running wild. At school, he annoys teachers and classmates by his con duct. He fights with other students, smokes in the building talks out in class during recitations, and acts like a clown. Once he knocked the kitchen truck down the stairs and nicked a hole in the wall. On another occasion, he took a boy's sweater and tore it to shreds, because, he claimed, the boy had torn his.
His one ambition seems to be that of attracting attention to himself by his undesirable behavior. He is intelligent enough to do good work, but he is perverse and refuses to apply himself, even though his school subjects have been adjusted to meet his interests. He listens respectfully to a scolding and then commits the same offense again. Since he is sixteen years old, he could receive his employment papers and get a job, but he is not prepared to hold one. The only solution would seem to be that of removing Dennis from his present home to a boarding school, where, under strict but kindly discipline, he could be encouraged to develop better study and social habits."
Mary is Unsocial
"Mary is a borderline mental case. She is extremely introverted and unsocial. She displays an abnormal amount of emotional dependence upon her mother, which is very distressing to the latter. As a young child, Mary was timid that was almost impossible to persuade her to look at other people. Her mother can remember no unpleasant experience in Mary's babyhood, which might have caused this attitude.
She has made no friends in her neighborhood or at high school. Her classmates consider her different. She is nervous, tense, and frequently distrustful when she is talked to by other people. The girl was treated by a private psychiatrist for almost a year, but he was inducted into the Army. This psychiatrist became very much interested in the girl and seemed to be helping her. Mary's mother is trying to find another private psychiatrist whose fees will not be too high.
It is thought inadvisable to send the girl to a neurological clinic since this might intensify her fear. She had regarded the psychiatrist as a regular physician and did not know that she was being treated for a mental disorder.
The girl is bright and, as the result of an adjusted program and sympathetic treatment by her teachers, is making a good scholastic adjustment. Consequently, the school has been successful in avoiding an aggravation of her nervous disorder, but there has been no improvement in her emotional attitude among people in a social situation."
Good stuff, right? We've been diagnosing the shit out of each other with it all day, but since it doesn't offer any concrete solutions, we've got no choice but to keep living our antisocial, sex-riddled, spoiled, retarded, delinquent lives just like we always have.