This interview with my son appeared in the local paper two days ago:
The writer, John Nash was kind. He inserted a "(laughs)" after a particularly harsh comment to make it sound as if Johnny had been joking, when in fact I don't think he was.
In any case, no one could read this interview and conclude anything other than, that's a rebellious kid. (They'd be right.) Johnny certainly never developed any enthusiasm for the family sport of swimming. But other than that, most of his rebellion is directed against his classmates.
Johnny has told me in the past, "If I have to listen to one more girl talk about what pair of pants she's going to buy next, or how her parents don't give her enough money, I'm going to throw up." On another occasion, he said, "These kids who go to high school parties are so stupid. After they get drunk, all they want to talk about is how drunk they are. What's the point of getting drunk if you're not going to talk about something interesting? These parties are incredibly boring."
Johnny will also occasionally relate the idiocies of his liberal teachers.
For him, the grass has been greener not only on other side of fence, but waaaaay over on the other side -- perhaps all the way down South. Johnny seems to want to identify with rednecks who drop out of school and live in trailers and get in fights and join the army. Of course, he's never really known any of them, which probably has something to do with why he finds them appealing.
My own psychology is not dissimilar. I was sent to a private school, Commonwealth (located on the avenue of that name in Boston.) The school was founded and run by Charles Merrill, who was the son of the original founder of Merrill Lynch. Merrill was stereotypical second generation wealth, growing up with a guilt complex as well as the money. To assuage his guilt, he founded this school.
It was the type of place where people prided themselves on being "open-minded" but were in fact just the opposite. The school conducted a poll in the fall of 1968 to see which Presidential candidate the students favored. Out of the student body of 120, fully 119 supported Hubert Humphrey. I often heard these students talk about what "courage" it took to mouth the liberal platitudes they would recite. In fact the only student at this school who showed any bravery was the one who risked censure by favoring Nixon.
It's hard to come out of a place like that with anything but a visceral disgust for liberals. But I sometimes think that had I been brought up in Alabama, amidst all those hayseeds Johnny finds appealing, I might have grown up to become a liberal, instead of a libertarian. Who knows, Johnny might have too.