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LAUNDRY ROOM DIALOGUE

The Mail

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I wrote this letter late Sunday night, after spending two hours in the Eliot laundry room talking with the three nude people and a number of my fellow house members. Though this "letter" was initially intended simply for my own personal satisfaction, I felt inclined to voice my impressions openly after reading the coverage of the event put forth in Monday's CRIMSON. I think the CRIMSON article, with all its attention on the details of the episode, failed to present an adequate analysis of the interaction and communication of ideas that occurred among the people assembled in the laundry room.

It was about 11:00 Sunday night when the two girls and boy entered the E-House basement, and proceeded to deposit their clothes and 25c in the washing machine. Slowly at first, then with increasingly regularity, the curiosity-seeking men of Eliot cam down to satisfy their voyeuristic appetites. The "expected" initial response of laughter, snickering and witty comments was an almost universal occurrence. A few people were extremely up-tight and antagonistic about the whole thing, and wanted the offensive parties immediately removed from their clean, protected midst. I reacted with a chuckle at first, smiling and commenting to my roommate about the uniqueness of the situation--which seemed to be the general topic of conversion in the room. But I was gradually moved by curiosity to listen to what these naked people had to say, and to interact with them.

Their nudity was an expression of a desire to be free from the constraints which are imposed to so vast an extent on people's lives by our society--a society that is raising a privileged but not-necessarily-happy few, oppressing many of its members, stifling creativity to a very great degree, and driving itself insanely towards self-destruction and annihilation. I was appalled at how difficult most of the people in the room were finding it to transcend their own persons and the uniqueness of the situation--at how hard it was for them to enter into any sort of meaningful dialogue with three beautiful people who were trying to call their attention to matters so vital to the problem of what it means to be human. . . .

Their logic wasn't perfectly structured or systemized; their actions and attitudes represented an idealism to which few people can relate, much less aspire. But the all-pervasive, potentially-disastrous effects of our present process of socialization were made clear to anyone who took the time to understand these three people. Their presence gathered more people together, and stimulated a more meaningful exchange to ideas, than any other episode I've been involved in since coming to Harvard. It was an exciting, inspiring experience for me to be exposed to people who had perceived a small part of an ultimate understanding I like to label Truth--and who were, in their own small but earnest and loving way, trying to awaken people to the creative potential within them, and to the means by which their stifled humanness might in some degree be realized. Jack N. Halpern '70

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