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[flagged] Fruit machine (homosexuality test) (wikipedia.org)
40 points by zeristor on June 27, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments



“The "fruit machine" was employed in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s during a campaign to eliminate all gay men from the civil service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the military.”

This is very interesting considering in ancient Greece it was the opposite. Having soldiers being gay was said to improve morale and make the soldiers fight better, as their partners was fighting together with them. More information on the subject here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_the_militarie...

Seems we're constantly in a pendulum in terms of sexuality, what's ok or not.


I have always wondered if the pendulum is really about sexuality at all. It could be that we just become more or less authoritarian. And certain groups are just a victim of that swing.


The labels we give to sexual orientation are mostly a political and cultural construct, and different societies draw the lines of propriety and transgression in different places.


But those lines seem to be re-drew every few decades. It's hard to tell what currently is considered sexual deviancy be permitted in the future.


In many ways each generation is a referendum on and criticism of the previous, and there is something of an anti-establishment pendulum effect involved in many shifts from culture to counterculture. The anti-progressive and anti-feminist movement in tech culture now seems to be an example of that, as is each new wave of feminism and LGBTQ+ activism.

Many of the traits in society or identity that we believe to be static (especially when viewed from outside) or axiomatic turn out to be more complex and more fluid than they initially seem.


Things related to this seem to be religion and the state of the economy. One factor in the acceptance of gay people is that christianity is much less powerful nowadays. Also, when the economy is doing badly it seems popular to find a scapegoat and that can be the gays or the jews or some such minority. These two things may not be unrelated. It seems that well-fed and reasonably happy humans are much less prone to religion.


Unlikely. When people talk about homosexuality being acceptable in ancient societies they leave out the fact that it was acceptable for barely pubescent boys to be the receiving partner for adults. So are we going to head down that route in another decade or two when we become even less authoritarian?


>So are we going to head down that route in another decade or two when we become even less authoritarian?

Stupid as it is, anti-gay extremists do make that argument, that the cultural acceptance of homosexuality is a slippery slope towards the eventual normalization of pedophilia and even bestiality. That can be seen as an argument pro Christian authoritarianism of a specific political bent.


In many ways, it is the very opposite: the "egalitarian" model of homosexual relationships was itself a new development and a desirable outcome of the gradual "cultural acceptance" of homosexuality. You can see this even with very recent developments such as same-sex marriage. The polar opposite to that is the ancient, Graeco-Roman model of homosexuality (but also found today in many parts of the non-Western world, and even reflected e.g. in stereotypes about sex in prisons) as simply an exertion of male-on-male dominance and power. (Though, to be fair about it, ancient "fornication" wasn't different either! This is the underlying rationale for why a number of ethical traditions in the Classical world, including Christianity, condemned both sexual practices in very similar terms - both were incredibly far from anything that could be considered "egalitarian" or, in even more modern terms, respectful of "consent"!)


In the early phase of the german ecological/anti-authoritarian party "Die Grünen" there was actually a scandal involving pedophilia (see https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A4dophilie-Debatte_(B%C3%...).

So there is this one data point of correlation.


Homosexuality is no more equivalent to pederasty than heterosexuality is to pedophilia.


Yes which is why it's halarious when people say that in ancient Greece homosexuality was acceptable.

But looks like you and X other people can't read and feel very defensive about something that no one has actually said.


> Having soldiers being gay was said to improve morale and make the soldiers fight better, as their partners was fighting together with them.

Which is interesting because one of the most coherent arguments against women fighting on the front lines is that if they got injured or captured, the male soldiers in their unit would get themselves killed trying to rescue them.


This was also practiced (somewhat pederastically) in Japan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_Japan#Militar...


Alexander had his Hephaestion. Look how far he went.


Was this PKD's inspiration for Voight-Kampff machine?


Funny I thought of Clockwork Orange because of the dentist chair.


“The "fruit machine" was employed in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s during a campaign to eliminate all gay men from the civil service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the military.”

O Canada

I imagine this level of national homophobia was standard in most countries at the time. The irony of branding homosexuals as security risks because they could be blackmailed seems to be the sickest form of circular logic.


I don’t think whoever was responsible for this policy genuinely believed that they were making the RCMP more effective by eliminating risk of blackmail. I think they started with “I don’t want gay men working here” and searched around for justification that they thought was a little less unpalatable.


In the 1960's "I don't want gay men to work here" was acceptable and would not have been seen as unpalatable. Same sex sexual activity was made legal in Canada in 1969.


There's blackmail, but also it was the zeitgeist at the time that homosexuals were in some way morally compromised in the same way that drug users are seen as immoral (personally I don't feel that drug users are immoral but I feel I'm in the minority).

I sometimes come into contact with more old-fashioned industries where I hear similarly old-fashioned ideas from time to time. The idea is dying but not dead yet unfortunately.


Also "Fruit machine" is a British term, referring to a slot machine.


The same in Dutch.


If you get three fruits in a row you win a prize!

The prize is an orgy. >.>


Compare this to the US Navy trying to root out the subversive cell of 'The Friends of Dorothy'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friend_of_Dorothy#Misunderstan...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOn9grCVO7c

!! Facepalm concussion warning !!

If only they could get to this Dorothy then they could maybe get her to give up a list of all the gay seamen, simples.


On the subject of pupil dilation, in the book Thinking fast and slow, Daniel kahneman explains that for any mentally taxing task pupils dilate in proportion to the difficult of the task. If the task is too difficult, they don't dilate at all.


That's interesting. I could imagine a video game to employ this somehow, as basically the difficulty in designing video games is trying to make the game not too hard or too easy, so the player gets a challenge but doesn't experience it to be too hard.

Bit intrusive to get the pupil dilation currently, but maybe with future VR gear we can get better information and adjust video game difficulty depending on how the player is experiencing the game at the moment.


There is a theoretical risk of player mind spotting the causal link and abusing it. I cannot say definitely is it possible or not, but if pupils dilated not only due to complexity of the task but for other reasons too, then it would seem completely plausible for me.



2019: But this time when we use half-cooked classification to identify undesirables and treat them badly it'll be different. We'll only target people that are OK to shit on by contemporary social norms.


Article contains some a priori speculative criticism of the test. I wonder if its empirical efficacy has been assessed in the current epoch, and how that would compare to using AI to assess facial features towards the same end. Peculiar that the designers tried to measure interest rather than arousal (which can be done somewhat reliably by taking readings from the genital area).


IIRC the Scientology E-Meter is quite similar to this, I can't quite remember if one spawned the other.


The concept of having a machine that can measure X attribute from humans have probably been a thing for long before both of those. Probably the earliest example of that (I can remember from the top of my head) is finding out if someone is a witch by throwing them into water with a stone attached to them. It's just with more technology, the "tests" become more advanced/elaborate.


Indeed. See also: phrenology


Why has this article been flagged?

I take it this flag is down to users flagging it as an issue. But isn't that exactly the point the article was raising?




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