Flogging Some Dead Oars
Flogging Some Dead Oars
Corporal punishment in private fee-paying institutions was, if anything, even more prevalent than in state run establishments, which included the 17th century workhouses, eventually made defunct by the 1945 Labour government’s National Assistance Act, and where the poor had been fed in return for what amounted to slave labor, as documented in the Victorian Age’s most popular novelist Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist (1838), where Oliver confronts the beadle of the workhouse, Mr Bumble, with his emptied bowl of gruel, and the effrontery of his request, ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’1
Even though it was the wealthy English middle class and aristocracy that sent their children to Public Schools, the philosophy of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ was adopted, because of slavery, that is, being beaten was what slaves should expect, while beating was what the ‘master race’ educated in Public Schools did, and was what they were liberally thrashed for.
Although Charles Hamilton’s Greyfriars School character, Billy Bunter, in The Magnet (1902-40) boys’ weekly story paper, was repeatedly beaten with a cane by the ‘gimlet eyed’ Mr Henry Samuel Quelch, his form master, the gluttonous, bespectacled ‘fat Owl’, was a Christ-like representation of the victimization that a slaving society was expected to accept from, and find humorous about, its upper classes, who were depicted as beating senseless anyone who showed themselves attempting to partake indolently of the liberal education designed to train the indolent in maintaining their indolence through brutality towards those they were taught to believe were their inferiors:
‘"Still, Cherry's not a bad chap in some ways!" said the fat Owl. "He's a good deal more civil than Smithy, if a fellow drops into his study to tea."’2
Bunter represents what the Public School ethos was endeavoring to inculcate in its pupils; those who weren’t ‘bad chaps’ didn’t beat each other: they beat their inferiors and took tea together.
In the movie, if… (1968), the setting is a British public school for boys in the 1960s, who’re persecuted by ‘Whips’, that is, upper sixth-formers in their final year; given authority, as prefects over the others, who have to act as the Whips’ personal servants, and who use them as homosexual sex objects, because dehumanization is the objectifying process of a liberal education from the point of view of an enslaving class that doesn’t want to use its hands.
The protagonists, actor Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, and David Wood as Johnny Knightly, go to a café, where Mick’s fantasy is about wrestling nude with The Girl, who is the staff on duty there, while actor Richard Warwick, as Wallace, is seen sharing a bed with a boy.
Later reunited the three consider how ‘one man can change the world with a bullet in the right place’,3 which since the discovery of AIDS, the ‘incurable killer disease’, transmitted by homosexuals’ mixing blood, shit and semen in each other’s anus, by Africa’s DR Congo in 1983, has been understandable as the activity they seek to practice.
When another brutal caning by the Whips occurs, Mick acquires live ammunition, during military training, which is practiced at a few English private boarding schools, and they open fire on a group of students and faculty. Mick assaults the school Chaplain, and cows him into submission.
Ordered by their headmaster to clean beneath the main hall, as a punishment, they discover a cache of firearms, including automatic weapons and mortars. On Founders' Day, when parents are visiting the school, they open fire from the rooftop. Led by a visiting General, staff, students, and parents break open the Combined Cadet Force armory and begin firing back. The headmaster tries to stop the fight, imploring the group to listen to reason, and The Girl from the café, played by actress Christine Noonan, shoots him dead. The battle continues, and the camera closes in on Mick's determined face as he keeps firing. The screen abruptly cuts to black and, if.... is seen in red letters, because that’s how liberal education is in its training for slavers.
1 Dickens, Charles Oliver Twist, Chapter II, ‘Treats of Oliver Twist’s Growth, Education and Board’, Richard Bentley, 1938.
2 Richard, Frank (pseud. Charles Hamilton) ‘Bounder and Captain!’, The Magnet, #1258, 1932.
3 McDowell, Malcolm as Mick Travis in if…, Paramount Pictures, 1968.