nerdycookies said: what the fuck everything i know is a lie
It gets better. See, Jules Feiffer was also a senior when Milgram and Zimbardo were freshmen. This was when Jules Feiffer was interning for Will Eisner, by which I mean, he literally showed up in Eisner’s office and was like, “Can I work for you, I love you, can I live under your porch, can we be best friends, please let me be you when I grow up, I brought all my stuff can I move in, have I mentioned that you are my god?” and Eisner was like, “I… guess?” (as Feiffer says, “It became instantly clear that this kid who walked in anonymously was not just any run of the mill, talentless job seeker. This talentless job seeker happened to be an expert on Will Eisner…. How could he resist? He hired me as a groupie.”) but he turned out to be so talented a writer that Eisner let him draft the balloons for Spirit stories based on Eisner’s outlines. Eventually he became lead writer on the Spirit altogether.
I mention this because Feiffer wrote a memoir and therefore the question “well, what the hell kind of a high school was it?” can be answered: a perfectly normal Bronx high school in the forties, in which Feiffer alternately suffered (because he either had a learning disability or simply hated the teaching style) and slithered through (because he made friends with gregarious, popular kids who inducted him into the mysteries of being a big shot and lusting after girls and the New York Yankees).
Feiffer’s chagrin about his high school experience is at least in part that it didn’t take place a few years earlier and in the body of his older sister. “When Mimi had her moment,” he says, “the New York City high schools were a beehive of left-wing activity. Kids, if they were not Red, were a hottish pink. Teachers were Reds, and if not Reds, fellow travelers.” It’s not clear just from his memoir whether that changed as New York slid into the fifties or whether he simply managed to avoid all of those people by accident. After all, unlike Mimi, he couldn’t see himself adopting the desperately seductive style of discourse that came with rampant communism: “I, who didn’t know how to talk back, who hadn’t fashioned a language for talking back?”
And now I’ve gotten distracted by how much I love Jules Feiffer— but yeah, James Monroe High School in the forties: a pretty interesting place to be.