As Waugh’s 1945 bestseller had predicted, the triumph of the leftist masses briefly rendered unfashionable the homoerotic culture fostered by top-drawer English educational institutions. (The other country with a similar culture of “romantic friendships,” by the way, was Germany.)
The British establishment, though, is usually adept at rescuing its members from scrapes with the law, as demonstrated by the upcoming scandal in London over gay MPs a generation ago getting away with abusing young boys.
But in Turing’s case the system broke down. He was placed on probation and given a bizarre treatment of 12 months of synthetic estrogen injections. (Why female hormones were expected to make him less boy crazy is unexplained.)
Amusingly, the movie portrays estrogen as suddenly making the tech genius unable to program a computer. As two defenders of the conventional wisdom that Turing was hounded to kill himself put it, “And if you take the testosterone away, then the brain will become muddled.” But this bit of unintentional crimethink has evaded most reviewers.
In reality, the hormone treatment didn”t seem to have much effect on Turing. Philosopher Jack Copeland, who directs the Turing Archive, has argued that considering Turing’s upbeat mood over the last year of his life and the lack of any suicide note, his mother’s conclusion that he died from accidentally ingesting the cyanide he was using to do gold electroplating in his spare room makes as much sense as the standard story that he killed himself with a poisoned apple in some kind of tribute to Disney’s Snow White.
A few online conspiracy theorists have suggested that Turing was murdered. While highly unlikely, it’s not impossible to invent speculations. For example, Manchester’s criminal element might have heard of his experiments with gold and broken in again to steal the precious metal.
But what was Turing up to with his home chemistry experiment with gold plating? Was he trying to make electrical connections that wouldn”t tarnish? Perhaps the great scientist ran afoul of industrial espionage.
Plain old espionage remains another remote possibility. The Ultra project at Bletchley Park is the direct ancestor of the Anglosphere’s long domination of signal intelligence spying, the Five Eyes (Britain, America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) that traditionally drove French presidents to outraged denunciations of the “Anglo-Saxons“ listening in on their phone calls.
As Edward Snowden revealed, ECHELON rolls on. In fact, I just learned from a Christmas card that somebody I know is off to another tour of duty at the satellite tracking station in the Australian Outback.
This intel continuity helps explain the bizarrely extended blockade on public mention of Ultra until the mid-1970s. In 1945 the Brits encouraged other countries to buy war surplus German Enigma machines, which they then spied upon. Therefore, Turing’s role in laying the groundwork for today’s surveillance superstate long remained secret.
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