SIDIS WAS VICTIM
OF AN EXPERIMENT
This is about Bill Sidis who died Monday. His
numerous friends do not like the false newspaper picture of him, as a pauper and
anti-social recluse. Bill Sidis held a clerical position until two weeks ago.
For two weeks he had received unemployment compensation, the first time in his
life. Today he was to start on a new job for which he had already been hired.
Bill Sidis paid his way; he was no burden on society.
Sidis had plenty of loyal friends. All of them
found his ideas stimulating and his personality likable. Very few people know as
much about the Indian background of our social customs as he. His manuscript
study of it is worthy textbook material and very readable. He knew dozens of
stories from Boston's history and told them with relish. He recently submitted a
plan for post-war Boston.
But William Sidis had one great cause―the right
of an individual in this country to follow his chosen way of life. He had never
been able to do this for himself, first because his father made him a guinea pig
for psychological theories; then because the public, through newspaper articles,
insisted that he was a “genius,” abnormal and erratic.
Whenever Sidis saw interference, by individuals
or governments, with anyone’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, he
fought it in any way he could. He won a long legal fight against a nationally
known publication on the ground that it had invaded his privacy.
Bill Sidis was a quiet man who enjoyed the normal
things of life. His friends respected him and enjoyed his company. I am glad to
have been one of his friends.
SHIRLEY S. SMITH