Today in the Frye Diaries, 12 September


1942: A quite long entry, reflecting on various aspects of civilian life during wartime, including “fascist” tendencies within apparently healthy democracies.

[105] Down to collect Helen & we went to downtown Diana’s [coffee shop, 187 Yonge Street]: absolutely jammed with females. I never knew there were so many women in the world, or so few men. I felt a little like a stud: if I’d been in uniform I’d have felt completely so. There’s a curious sensation about being surrounded by so much female flesh that is hard to analyze. Also on the street, but not quite so bad there. If the war lasts long enough they may start drafting civilian males for stud duty: they’re very near it in Germany now and we generally do what Germany does a year or so later. I’d be category E for the Army, but I’m afraid 1-A for studding. The sendentary are the most sex-ridden of all men, despite a popular superstition to the contrary largely invented by them… A cheap & lousy bookstore has opened on Yonge & Charles. I went all through it to the back, where they had a shelf of semi-erotic books on what they refer to as “sex harmony” and emerged with a Hanford Milton handbook for 15 cents. It’s about time to read it.

[107] I wonder how far-reaching the stopping of travel & touring will be: an enoromous amount of our economy was tied up with it: in the Maritimes, for instance, the roads were a solid line of piss-and-postcard places between villages, where they thickened. Unsound economy, certainly, but wiping it out is a revolution of no small proportions. The effect will be healthiest in Quebec, I think, which was freezing into a Maria Chapdelaine pose of ye olde picturesque rutting & rooting queynte paysan, with of course the Fascist Catholic twist — the Vichious circle of church, pub, field & kitchen.

[108] … Friends of democracy are seldom frank about its failings & I don’t know if anyone has researched the persistence in it of the Aristedes complex. The great heart of the people can put up with conscientious, honest, and efficient government just so long and then they arise in their wrath and demand some form of picturesque graft or colorful tyranny. Recently the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, who had served his city faithfully for years, was defeated by an obviously incompetent crooner. Now that “Glass Key” picture showed that it’s gangsters, not saints, who attract fanatical loyalty and are impossible finally to crush. Cf. the frank support of child labor in “The Great McGinty“: another film along much the same lines. As compared with the intellectualilzed & comparatively superficial analysis of a Fascist type of Citizen Kane, I think that’s the most important thing for the films to do.

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