by Doug Mainwaring
March 20, 2014
Published in 1989, After the Ball is a seminal work which laid out a comprehensive plan to establish the “normalcy” of gays and lesbians and secure broader acceptance and rights. It is subtitled, How America Will conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s.
The manifesto was laid out by a pair of Harvard graduates. Marshall Kirk (class of 1980) became a researcher in neuropsychiatry. Hunter Madsen (class of 1985) received his degree in Politics and went on to work on Madison Avenue and become an expert in public persuasion tactics and social marketing.
Today, twenty-five years after its publication, what is most striking about their work is this: Their ambitious plan, with a few verb tense changes, could be repackaged and sold as a History book, presenting a very accurate picture of what we have all witnessed happening over the last quarter century. Perhaps the only aspect of the plan that can be faulted just a little is its timeline. It took twenty five years, not ten, to achieve its goals. Not bad. Still an A+.
American folklore tells us that a young Yale student named Fred Smith penned a paper for an economics class in the early 1960's outlining an overnight delivery service for the computer information age. That paper, rumored to have received a C+, became FedEx.
The success of the plan laid out in After the Ball parallels that of FedEx, only it was not a business plan; it was a wildly successful social psychology/marketing plan. And it has changed American society every bit as much as FedEx has, and in the long run, probably far more.
(excerpt... more at link)