Gouldner's break with establishment sociology, and the rancorous, eristic discourse that was ignited over the publication of his The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology, seemed to have left Gouldner by the mid-70s even more bitter and irascible than before. Speaking of Gouldner's increasingly hostile interpersonal style, Colvard (1990, p. 384) notes for example that

After one tantrum in a seminar (on intellectuals and contemporary revolutions, which seemed to me to avoid American trends in the seventies), he "confessed" that, in his family, he, his cat, and his horse were all called "Big Red"—for their temperament, not just their size and their hair. More engagingly, earlier in the sixties he had told Dusky Lee Smith (a much younger scholar) that Smith was "one of his heroes," no doubt because of both the intelligence and the courage Gouldner thought it took to publish "Sociology and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism" (Smith 1965) and a similarly acerbic critique (Smith 1966) of Merton's much-reprinted typology of deviance.

A sign of Gouldner's almost complete alienation from mainstream sociology, much of it self-imposed, was the incredibly mean-spirited (but on balance accurate) assessment he made of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) in 1976, an organization he once presided over (1961-62) and of which he was a member for a number of years afterwards. A special section of the journal Social Problems (volume 24, number 1, 1976) asked past presidents of SSSP to reflect upon the organization's accomplishments over the years, considering such things as what it had done right, what it had done wrong, and what new issues it might pursue or emphasize. When it was Gouldner's (1976c, p. 41) turn to reflect on SSSP, this is part of what he had to say;

134The SSSP also seems to be becoming increasingly remote from the great changes now making their way through the world. There is a whole revolution going on in Europe; there is the rise of Mediterranean Communism; there is the breakdown of Soviet hegemony over other Communist parties; there is the continuing revolution in China; there is also the endemic energy crisis. And look what we get: papers on "Watch Queens" and homosexuals diddling one another in public toilets! When we gave the C. Wright Mills award for that trivia, one had to begin to suspect that it was all over for the Society. And it probably is, unless some hard-hitting, hard-working and very smart group of unpleasant youngsters decide to take over the Society. Doubtless, I will see you all at the next wake.

Gouldner's reference to "watch queens" and "homosexuals diddling one another" was of course a thinly-veiled attack on Laud Humphreys' Tearoom Trade, a book that had been published in 1970 and whose author was given the C. Wright Mills award a year later by SSSP for exemplifying the highest standards of scholarship and for making the greatest contribution to social problems and deviance research. Gouldner was of course involved in a notorious physical confrontation with Humphreys over his research (see chapter 1), and the bitter memories of that incident, along with the ignominy of seeing a professional organization he once valued give their highest accolades to Humphreys and his work, were simply too much for him to bear. 1