And Then I Popped Him One – A Blast From The Past- 8/7/2013

And Then I Popped Him One – A Blast From The Past- 8/7/2013

I grew up reading Rex Stout books (And all sorts of mysteries, ranging from cozies to the hard stuff. Because my dad read them.)

It wasn’t till older kid started reading them recently (After he told me, “Society sure has changed!”) that I went and looked at them through … well… new eyes.

Yes, a lot of the changes were for the better. What he was talking to me about was how some things seemed so expensive/upscale in those books, but to us are the merest common place. (I don’t even remember what.) But then I went in with fresh eyes and noticed tons of things. Guys and girls would flirt in public and often on first meeting. Yes, yes, the SJW’s would tell us we’re all so much better now, but our interactions, I’d guess would seem rather bloodless to them.

But the thing I noticed the most was interpersonal violence between males. I’d noticed the same when reading For Us The Living.

Popping a guy one for saying something funny about your girl was perfectly normal. In fact, men could punch each other out and then arrive at an uneasy truce, and sometimes even progress to friends.

If those books are an accurate representation – and I have no reason to believe they aren’t – two guys engaging in fisticuffs was a perfectly normal scene.

Ah, but we’re so much better now, aren’t we? We’re so civilized. If some guy punched another guy for being rude to his girl, why, he could be taken in for assault. And if the girl is a ninny she’d leave the guy too, for icky, horrid violence, or something.

This is better, right?

You know – I’m not sure.

I mean generally the trend in society has been towards less interpersonal violence. If one is to believe memoirs and first hand accounts, getting in a duel in the middle of an Elizabethan street was not all that odd. And though other things went into it (like the fact that they could no longer do inter-domain war) duels were such a popular er… pastime that the king had to make edicts against them in the France of the Musketeers.

This might be a symptom of us taming ourselves, as time goes on. We pick for people more likely to do well in a tightly packed society, perhaps.

But at the same time, it seems very far to have come in less than 100 years, from fisticuffs in the street to people being unwilling to speak out against someone else who is doing something heinous.

And we know part of this is not natural. Part of this is the enforcement of the laws on assault, the tightening of the mesh of anti-male behavior, the de-legitimization of the code of chivalry that had obtained in Western Civilization since the troubadors.

Man is no longer allowed to fight for his honor or his maiden fair, even with words or fists. Instead…

Instead we have lawyers. And girls are insulted if someone defends them. And it all rests on the law and government, and little nuisances get magnified to major issues.

Note that this change has greatly taken power out of the lower classes – as in those who can’t afford lawyers – rendering them in effect powerless and emasculated by the “upper classes.”

I suspect, though I have no proof, it has also increased the level of thug behavior to shooting, because, well, just punching someone’s lights out isn’t acceptable.

This has rendered some movies and behaviors completely opaque to today’s teens.

And since the school is teaching them things like not fighting back because all violence is bad even (particularly?) self defense, and to run screaming to the principal instead… the feeling I have is that we’re creating a nation of snitches.

My parents had a simple rule. Yes, you were absolutely allowed to come and tell them if someone was doing something wrong. But then you were a snitch, and you got the same punishment the other kid got. So you’d better be very sure that you couldn’t deal with it yourself and that it was important enough to tell.

To this day I’m thoroughly unrepentant for giving the beating of her life to the girl who threatened to tell my friend’s parents that my friend had failed her dictation again. (My friend was severely dyslexic.) Because in my eyes there was nothing – nothing – more repugnant than the sticky-sweet girls who would simper to the adults that so and so was doing bad things, and could the adults stop it, now?

I can’t help but feel that’s what this change in the standards of interpersonal violence (particularly between males) has done. It took the power out of the individual hands (and fists) and put it in the hands of authorities, to whom you have to debase yourself by snitching. And then you have to wait till they make it all right.

It’s not, you know, that people are less prone to fighting and disagreement. It’s not that people hold fewer grudges. You see them on internet forums pouring out the crazed venom of people who tell themselves they’re too civilized to hit a fellow human.

It’s just that the power of solving disputes quickly (and often physically) has been taken out of the hands of individuals and delegated to the state and, for the very rich, to lawsuits for personal injury.

Reading Rex Stout reminded me how much simpler and more egalitarian it would often be to just pop someone one – right in the nose.

When the king of France forbid his noblemen from dueling it was to concentrate power in his hands. If they could not deal with their own problems, they’d have to come to him.

It seems we’re all French noblemen now.


288 thoughts on “And Then I Popped Him One – A Blast From The Past- 8/7/2013

    1. Within my lifetime a lady could slap a man for being particularly caddish. If it is a feminization of society it is that overseen by a particular sub-group of women who are bossy ninnies.

      1. If you ever have 15 minutes to absolutely murder, there are lots of videos now on YouTube of obnoxious women who try to punch men full-force for various reasons, and the men, having had enough abuse by women, actually punch the women back full force. I believe the gist of it is, “If you want to act like a man, you’ll be treated like a man.”

        Disgusting, but hey, it’s what feminists have been telling us for years: women are just like men, and you have to treat women just like you would men. And these ridiculous women are dumb enough to believe they can take men on equal terms in a brawl.

        This doesn’t bode well for the future.

        1. I saw a youtube of a woman who for no reason escalated to a fight with a man, crushed his testicles, then laughed at him writhing in pain.

          1. There’s a reason why Kipling said that the female is deadlier than the male. I think it’s also my Kali ia goddess and not a god.

          2. Unwise. Interpersonal violence had unwritten but fairly well understood rules – if you went too far, caused real damage over an insult, you would henceforth be known not as a man, but a freak with no self-control, unworthy of respect. A certain kind of proportionality was key.
            Women who don’t understand those rules shouldn’t try to play that game – the long term results will not be good, for them.

    2. Not even as much feminization as ‘mean girl society’. Today perhaps you need not worry as much about some drunk boor trying to fight you for a misconception, but we have lies flying left and right and control is derived from being catty and demeaning to others. And social ostracization based off whatever the mean girls think at the moment is the penalty atm

      1. I have known ‘mean girls’ who had moxie. If they had been less inclined to be mean I might of liked them.

        This group is made up of a bunch of weak whiney controlling girls who discovered that by ganging up they had power. There power lies in numbers, that is one reason they have to make sure no one leaves the reservation. Even if they gave up on the mean I don’t think I could like them.

        1. I hung out with, was friends with, and even dated a couple of the “Cordelia Chase” type mean girls in later High School, and they had serious moxie. I always got along kind of well with them, considering I was a geeky thug at the time.

          I think they were amused because they didn’t know what to make of me. I blended into a lot of the different circles from freaks to geeks to hotrodders because I was oblivious to the social lines, and just didn’t care.

  1. This phenomenon is also pretty detrimental to the response time in an actual emergency.

    I guess I’m glad, for my sake, that fists are frowned upon in civilized society. I had a VERY bad temper as a girl, and when I lost my temper my rationality went clean away with it. But those co-workers who go to the boss over issues best solved by simply talking to the offending party… yeah. They should be frowned on at least as much.

    1. As I’ve said before, the police, firemen, and paramedics are the second responders. I am the first responder, when something requiring a response happens around me. And they can lecture me all they like that I need to leave things to the (late-arriving, usually) professionals–I refuse to play the passive recipient of their actions.

      1. Huh. I thought she was a guy too.

        Just goes to show: online, everyone is an overweight trucker from Detroit, even the girls.

        The ones who aren’t are all White Nazi Mormon Males. *grin*

        *ducks, runs very fast, exit laughing*

            1. Here! Catch!

              ::Throws A Blue Whale To Ironbear::

              [Very Big Dragon Grin]

                    1. *sigh* Keep running out of thread and having to TF it.

                      Sorry, sis. It’s gettin’ kinda hard to tell the damselfish from the bouys these days.

                      An aside: should we kill the fish stories at this point? I mean, I love the Cruisin’ down the Gulf Stream routine from Dr. Demento, obviously, but it really can keep the crappie fish puns going all day long if you reel it out past everyone’s tolerance.

                      I’m game to knock it off. 🙂

                      I did have a set up to tie it back into the post title and subject, but I’m starting to be afraid that you’ll pop me one in the snook before too long.

                      *throws up hands* Sorry. Last one. I swear.

                  1. *sigh* And there I was, just cruisin’ down the Gulf Stream, minding my own business… when suddenly my Barracuda was hit by a flying garum pot and bang! it was beached more or less on porpoise by a three hundred pound white male Mormon trucker.

                    Y’know, that’s gonna cost me a lotta clams to fix, lady.

                    1. Sorry, HerbN, we ran outta thread. And hey – leave my personal life out of this, will ya pal?

                      Just hook up the damn’ car before I get rear ended and have to shell out a couple a more fins.

                    2. Nahh… it’s just a minor bump on the ole steelhead. I’ll just borrow a hammerhead when we get ‘er to the shop and whale it a good ‘un, and it’ll be fine. I might be a bit crabby until then, however.

  2. When I was a child, I was slow, clumsy, and weak. I was a frequent target for bullying, and I physically could not defend myself against bullies, although I did try. Rather feebly.
    So, yes, I did go running to adults for protection and learned the limitations of that strategy. a) Sometimes the adults would simply not intervene. b) they couldn’t be everywhere or see everything, so the bullies would torment me behind the teacher’s backs. c) If the adults did attempt to intervene, it was more often than not ineffective. It neither stopped the abuse nor won me any friends. The most successful strategy, and the one I felt morally most acceptable, was to learn a degree of mental toughness and the ability to shrug off small torments and insults, and not respond to provocation.

    1. I had a similar issue, with a little bit of a twist.

      My father had a standing rule. If we got in trouble at school and he found out about it, it was a beating when we got home. Didn’t really matter what the trouble was, he didn’t care. I soon found out that at the school I went to, it didn’t matter who started it or any of the details. If you were involved in a fight, you were in trouble (even if it was a bunch of bullies hitting you, just by being hit, you were part of the fight). That is, unless you were one of the “special kids” who’s parents were rich and/or were part of one of the founding families of the town. It was NEVER those kid’s fault, and they were never punished. That was the rock.

      The hard place was that if you ran away and reported being bullied, the school would just mark you down as “unable to get along with peers” (which my parents just LOVED seeing on my report card /sarcasm), and the bullying just increased.

      We FINALLY moved away from that town. I was NEVER so happy as the day I left that stupid school behind me.

      1. My dad’s rule, (and his before him) was that if I got in trouble at school, he would investigate it. If I was not at fault, he would back me all the way. if I was, I would get a licking from him, too. I seldom had trouble with my teachers. It was my classmates I had trouble with; and I didn’t get into many fights mostly because a fight with me was over as soon as it started. No contest, no fun. There were a lot of provocations that would have started fights if I hadn’t been so totally outclassed.

        1. So much this. I have the same rule for my kids. You tell me the whole truth, and I’ll investigate, and I’ll back you straight to hell if you’re not at fault. If you are at fault, then we’re going to have a ‘one way conversation.’

          1. Same rule for me here.

            Aff/David, our housemate and adoptive ‘uncle’ to Rhys and my children, was picking up my son from school one afternoon. Vincent’s a small kid, skinny, with big emotive eyes. As Aff got to the school’s pickup waiting area, he saw Vincent get shoved by a much bigger boy. My son picked himself up from the dirt and socked the boy in the face. Surprised, the bigger boy burst into tears.

            Before Aff could say anything, this big, burly man ‘looking like a biker’ and was bigger than Aff (who is not a short man) suddenly chuckled, saying, “My kid had that coming!”

      1. LOL! I was the same way until I learned to control it. So i didn’t usually have to worry about bullies MY size, but I became entertaining to the older, bigger bullies. I was an excessively skinny kid, so I didn’t have any real weight to throw around. Luckily for me, someone saw what was going on and took the time to help me learn to control myself better (basically, he got tired of watching me get my ass handed to me).

        1. Fortunately for Portugal I was a giant kid, and built like a brick sh*thouse. so they learned to leave me alone.
          I mostly control the berserker. Mostly. Today is not a good day.

    2. My response, personally, was to improvise weapons. They weren’t meant to do severe damage – think fingernails that were cut to a point, leather shoes – that allowed me to fight back enough that the sting of pain would let my tormentors realise that I wasn’t going to curl up into a ball and let them kick me as much as they wanted. I could not hit as hard, so I tried to learn to move faster and dodge. I got nicknamed ‘Cat Scratch’ for a little while because of the nails.

  3. And though other things went into it (like the fact that they could no longer do inter-domain war) duels were such a popular er… pastime that the king had to make edicts against them in the France of the Musketeers.

    Dueling had been made illegal parts of the United States by the time Vice President Burr faced Hamilton on the ledge at Weehawken, New Jersey. But the old moral code that demanded that honor be defended in such a manner had not lost its grip on those who grew up under it. Times of social moral transition, even those which are for the better, are uncomfortable and often messy.

    1. The “free press” had freely attributed libelous statements to Burr, putting him in the position of having to fight a duel with Hamilton who was vastly more experienced with such things.

      Despite Hamilton’s trick pistols, Burr adhered to “keep your booger hook off the bang switch” while Hamilton got a nasty surprise with a negligent discharge.

      The “free press” then proceeded to hound Burr for “murdering” Hamilton, after they set up the duel themselves.

      1. Cough…

        Hamilton was know to be anti-dueling.

        It was Burr who accused Hamilton of libelous statements. It was Burr who set the challenge. This is why Hamilton had the choice of weapon. Most sources now state that he chose not to use the pistols with the sensitive trigger.

        I love history. I am particularly found of American history. Even the most hagiographic biography of Burr which I have agrees on these points.

  4. When our oldest started high school (9th grade) at the orientation the VP told the assembled parents and students that they had a zero tolerance for bullying and violence. If you were in a fight you would be suspended for a week. Afterwards iwent with my son and asked…if another student goes to hit my son and he throws an arm block…that was a suspendable offence. I asked a couple more specifics and was told they were susoendable too. I said so if he is attacked and falls to the ground and curls into a ball…oh that would be ok. So i looked at my son and said….you heard him. If you get attacked pound the other kid so much he gets all pale after that whenever he sees you since they will suspend you for just blocking. The VP looked shocked….and they left all our kids alone even when oldest flipped a kid over a lunch room table. The rules do encourage violence escalation and the administrations weak response underscores the ineffectiveness of the rules

    1. Sounds like my lecture…

      Except that I added “Any repercussions on my child, and there will be charges filed for assault on the other kid – and accessory to assault after the fact for you.”

      (Having a Master’s in Education – she had no idea that I was just gassing on the latter. I don’t know that there is any State where you can actually do that.)

      1. Possibly conspiracy to conceal a criminal act– or something under the conspiracy to conceal child abuse, intimidation of a witness and retribution under color of authority.

    2. My parents told all of us (especially the younger ones, because there is a significant age gap–and therefore ‘way the school responds gap’ betwixt me and the younger ones) that we were to defend ourselves. If the school suspended us/gave us detention, then we were assured that we would be in no trouble when we got home (so long as we weren’t the ones who started the fight). I was never physically bullied (and had my nose buried so deeply in a book most of the verbal bullying slid right off), but next-Younger Brother was. And he flattened the kid (we were all in taekwondo at that point). The principal was required to give him detention by the school policy…but he called my parents and said “He was defending himself, I saw what happened, the kid he punched is an unrepentant bully. So I’m fine with what he did, and I’ve given him the minimum punishment I could get away with. I hope he isn’t in trouble at home.” And he wasn’t: he was told we were proud that he defended himself. Our sensei told him the same thing: good job, you ended it as quickly as you could with as little damage as possible.

      Other schools my siblings attended on the other hand…well, there’s a darned good reason Youngest Brother demanded to be homeschooled. He was told he was not allowed to protect himself, and attempts to do so resulted in additional bullying from the adults, so…yeah.

      In the unlikely event my hypothetical future children even attend a public school (they will be homeschooled at *least* until high school, at which point they may be given an option), I will tell them “If someone attacks you, protect yourself and put them down as hard and as quickly as possible. Let me deal with the idiot adults who will try to punish you for it.”

      Likewise with defending another child from a beating. I have no beef with someone who will step in and deal out/accept physical violence to protect someone who is less able to do so.

      1. “If the school suspended us/gave us detention, then we were assured that we would be in no trouble when we got home (so long as we weren’t the ones who started the fight).”

        Same here, and my mom was the one that told me when I was getting bullied by bigger kids when in first grade to hit them with whatever I could, and if I managed to knock them down, to put the boots to them and make sure they didn’t get back up.

        Fighting when both parties want to, and they are somewhat evenly matched can be fun and even a form of bonding for young men this is where ‘fighting fair’ comes in; but bullying by bigger kids or multiple kids on one is more akin to assault, and should be treated as such. You do whatever is necessary to defend yourself, and most bullies are totally unprepared for a truly no holds barred fight.

        1. Mom’s classical line in answer to “Your daughter bit my son.” “Wait, she broke skin?” Mother, encouraged, “Yes. She took a chunk out of his arm.” Mom, turning inside where I was “Honey, you need a tetanus shot.” 😛

    3. I wish my folks had displayed that mentality. They gave me the lecture that if they ever found out that I used violence, they were turning me over to the cops. Defending myself against an grown-up attacker? Doesn’t matter. Cops will be called. My mom believed in the “curl up and cover your head approach” to self-defense.

      The end result of which was that I just lived a double life: one where I did what my parents wanted and one where I lived recklessly because I was young and stupid and figured that if I was going to be in trouble, let’s make it worth my while.

        1. less work for them — it’s amazing what you can delude yourself into when the alternative is You Have To Do Stuff.

          1. Pretty much this, I think.

            Plus, both my parents had been wild in their youth (my dad had stories about getting into bar fights while under age) and I think they were trying to avoid me going down that path. It didn’t work. I just ended up neurotic and in situations where I would have loved parental advice but couldn’t ask for it.

      1. My father wasn’t quite as bad as that, no threats to call the cops; but when he returned from Vietnam I got the whole “violence in not a acceptable solution” lecture. To the point where I wasn’t allowed toy guns, while living on an Air Force base.

        So, being smaller and more bookish than the other boys I was bullied until my junior year of high school when I berserked on one of perpetual tormetors in the school library and got the “Meet me after practice” challenge (he was on the golf team and I was on the track team), when I showed up and stared him down he declared that it wasn’t worth the effort and backed down. All the bullying dried up after that.

        A lot of that bullying could have stopped earlier if I’d been allowed to harness by berserker better.

    4. this. Also, the secret is they need your consent to suspend your kid (at least in elementary school) So after they’d ignored the only kid our son’s size who kept hitting our son and breaking his glasses (his parents were …. helicopters and the school feared them) we told Robert “that’s fine. Beat the living sh*t out of him.” The playground guard intervened or the kid would be pulp. We got called to school to a conference for suspending Robert. We brought his various pairs of broken and scratched and twisted glasses along, and his ripped, destroyed clothes and pointed out this kid had been beating him for two years, and if they were going to suspend Robert, they had to suspend the other kid too.
      It stopped. Also Robert accrued a group of kids scared of the other kid.
      To this day the (weirdly now very effete gay) young man refers to my kids as “nuts” though he’s afraid of the younger one more than the older.

      1. Typical public school crap. My mother–a teacher, mind you–lost her job because a kid threatened her with a knife and she gently (but firmly) disarmed him. His mother–another teacher, and the principal’s wife–threw an almighty fit and got my mother blacklisted.

        Even worse, it wasn’t as much about ‘her precious child could do no wrong’ as it was about she really wanted the teacher of the year award and my mother was the likeliest threat to her getting it (because my mother, a special ed teacher, had gotten through to so many of her kids that they were beginning to do well in ‘normal’ classes).

        1. My Auxiliary Backup Momma quietly eviscerated a principal of that ilk once, and it was a beautiful sight to see. ABM is a blind grandmother with a sugar-and-magnolias voice, which she employed to great effect during a meet-and-greet with said principal. Shaking her hand, explaining how this had always been such a *lovely* school, how parents prayed their children would get in, how the students were smart and polite and well-rounded… “And then you came.” Shaking her hand the whole time, ’cause who’s gonna tell the blind lady to back off…?

        2. A guy pulled a knife on my mom, then a… probably 24 year old… brand new sub.

          She disarmed him and dragged him out of the room with her thumb under his tongue; he conveyed that he was very sorry BEFORE they got to the office. (don’t try this for the first time in a real fight– you have to get it so the pain has THEM keeping their jaw open, or they’ll bite your thumb off)

          Didn’t get bothered after that.

    5. If you get attacked pound the other kid so much he gets all pale after that whenever he sees you since they will suspend you for just blocking. The VP looked shocked….and they left all our kids alone even when oldest flipped a kid over a lunch room table.

      When general Chen Sheng realized the rains would make his forces late he asked his friend Wu Guang, “What is the penalty for being late.”

      “Death,” replied Wu.

      “And what is the penalty for rebellion?” asked Chen.

      “It is also death,” said Wu.

      “Well then,” said Chen.

      While their rebellion against the Qin dynasty was put down within a year with their deaths the Qin dynasty itself only lasted two years beyond that.

      If all punishments are the same you only encourage those who must offend to offend maximally.

        1. It is a version of the common story of the initiation of the Dazexiang Uprising.

          The following facts are known:

          1. Chen and Wu were to take forces (to my understanding their local levy) to participate in the defense of Yuyang in 209 BC

          2. They were delayed in Anhui province by flooding.

          3. Qin law required anyone who was late for any government job for any reason to be executed.

          4. Upon delay they instead organized an uprising using their levy (who would probably all have been executed as well for being late). Chen’s men declared him King of Chu*.

          5. Their rebellion failed within a year with both its leaders dead, but sparked other rebellions against the Qin.

          6. The Qin dynasty is considered to have ended in 206 BC to rebellions by Liu Bang and Xiang Yu. Liu Bang would then defeat Xiang Yu and found the Han dynasty in 202 BC.

          The exact details of any conversations between Chen and Wu, however, are probably the invention of tellers of the tale. I know mine do not match 100% with the version I first learned. However, in terms of yesterday’s mass shooter subthread, Chen and Wu were that “one man” needed to get the mob going.

          * The Kingdom of Chu was a predecessor state of the Qin later represented by Xiang Wu. Xiang Wu had a puppet king installed instead of taking the throne himself during his rebellion.

    6. I got into a fight after a few years of being bullied and being told to ignore it. Imagine my Principal’s surprise when my mother told him using a variety of colorful metaphors that since I was being suspended for fighting after years of the school doing nothing, she was therefore taking me out horseback riding and for pizza the next day, and that from that day forward I had free license to beat the daylights out of any kid that crossed me, even if it meant cornering them in an empty classroom…

      [EVIL GRIN]

      1. Heh. When I was serving a mission for my church in Romania, there was a particular city where they were having trouble with some local thugs beating up the missionaries posted there. The mission president asked and asked the police to do something about it, but they wouldn’t. So in his next batch of incoming missionaries, there was one who had been a professional kickboxer…

        About two weeks after putting that young man in that city, the police were suddenly willing to help, if only he would stop kicking the thugs in the head…

        1. It’s funny you mention that…

          My father-in-law went on his mission to France and Belgium, had been through SERE training in the military, and was very, very good at martial arts.

          After his mission, he found out his mission president had sent him to every neighborhood in which missionaries had ever been beaten up. Of course, HE never had any problems there. 😉

    7. The rules are what they are, so teachers won’t have to use any judgement. Sort of a bigotry of low expectations, seems to me.
      (Yeah, I know the school district lawyers have a lot to do with it too, but in some cases they’ve merely set the tone for bad policies.)

      1. *nod* If I recall correctly, in the 2002 to 2006 blog comment areas I hung out in, we we calling them “Zero Intelligence” Policies, and not in a joking fashion.

        It fit.

  5. The liberal mind doesn’t ever look far down the road and see the complex consequences of their actions. They simply decide what is ‘right’ for the moment and damn the consequences. This is true in other areas, say economics and personal relationships.
    Dueling served a purpose that came into play every day of the people’s lives, not just the rare morning where you had to meet someone before breakfast.
    It served to check the tongue when you might be called on to back your talk with action. Society was more civil. Careful…
    I admit I would probably be dead in such a society. I’ve run into a solid half dozen people in my life I’d have called out. Surely one of them would have prevailed. Or maybe not. I’m one of those people who don’t get the shakes and tunnel vision and so forth others report when in a firefight. Putting your head in my sights feels no different to me than lining them up on paper at the range. That does seem an almost unfair advantage. On the other hand I have the ability to carefully put a round through your knee or hip instead of the middle of your chest if that seems sufficient to the moment. Many shooters just can’t do that. Sometimes you want answers out of a fellow and a round through the noggin sort of precludes that. If they don’t like answering your questions – well there is the other knee…
    I suspect culling those without any self control improves society over generations. We seem to have quickly built up a surplus of people without any manners.

    1. There is one mistake in your assumption you’d be dead. You would not encounter that many people you’d have needed to call out. Many of them would be dead before you encountered them or learned early to keep their mouth shut.

    2. Never leave an enemy alive. If someone merits a round, they merit a double-tap to center mass.

      Dead men employ no attorneys.

  6. “Hell, call me anything you want to. If I don’t like it, I’ll punch you in the nose. If there were more bloody noses, there’d be fewer wars.” — Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, “Illuminatus!”

    Maybe we should consider bringing back dueling, as well.

    1. Weren’t there levels of dueling? First blood etc? maybe more open carry? RAH says an armed society is a polite society. I think that should be a return to manners. However the rules should be simple and obvious. When I was younger, I could tell that there were social rules but no one ever explained them to me. Other people seemed to pick them up by osmosis.

      1. Yes, there were degrees of hazard one could elect in a duel. It was part and parcel of a legal doctrine that’s no longer honored: that if one is of sound mind and well informed, one can contractually free another person of some or all of the requirements of the penal law as they relate to oneself.

        That’s the doctrine under which boxing originated. Once it died, the regulators descended on it and, eventually, on all other full-contact sports. Need I say more?

      2. Heidelberg University allowed dueling, but with rules that produced more facial scars that serious or fatal injuries. Mark Twain had fun with the whole business.

          1. Fearless Leader of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons had one of those scars. 😉

    2. In 1860’s Austin, Nevada, they out-lawed dueling within the city limits after an incident in which two men got into a duel and both died. The men were drinking in a bar and got into an argument; they back away from each other, drew down and both emptied their revolvers at each other. When the smoke cleared, the other patrons were surprised to note that neither man had hit the other; all twelve shots had missed. It was when the two men started to reload in order to keep shooting that the patrons shot them in self defense.

      1. Bwahahaha! No doubt an argument that rises from the grave whenever “gun control” is being debated, eh? (To me, “gun control” means “being able to hit your target.”)

          1. No, no, no. It means that the firearm is always either attached to your body (holster or hand), or in a locked container.

            I wish the cops and the Secret Service practised it.

            1. One of the local cops called out that his suspect gained control of his Taser earlier this week. You don’t know how hard we all laughed in the station (wasn’t our department).

            1. Hey, a tight grouping where none of your shots actually hit the intended target is something so far outside my experience that it never occurred to me as a possibility. Does this really happen?

              1. Yes, it does; I had a small problem with my trigger pull for a while. It resulted in good groups that were always low and to the left.

                1. Sorry, ex-gunbunny here (well, field artillery guided missiles, but the concept carries over). We were always surprised that the zoomies even noticed that there were targets on the ground. Except for the Warthog drivers; those guys could do no wrong in our eyes.

                  1. You HAD to bring up the A-10. 😉

                    As an ex-airman and current soldier (and combat veteran), the idiots who keep trying to retire it without a good replacement need to be drawn and quartered.

                    “Yeah, SURE the F-35 can do ground support operations!” [WINK, WINK]

              2. Group size is the important part. After you achieve that, you just adjust your sights to move the group to your point of aim.

              3. Oldest daughter used to compete in muzzleloading events. The first time we went to one particular weekend event, she cloverleafed five shots at 25 yards on a paper target.

                She was mortified, as the group sat barely inside the outermost ring of the target. (She usually scored well enough to have placed in the upper third to quarter of the men’s field.)

                The event rangemaster used the target as a teaching example of:

                1. Excellent offhand stance, trigger control, breathing, and consistency.

                2. Why you should zero your sights before entering a match.

                1. I’m with you on that. I just never thought about firing multiple shots without being sure your weapon was properly zeroed.

              4. I’ve had it happen when I’m using a gun that REALLY needs to be sighted in, and I’m wearing safety goggles instead of glasses. Need a target that’s got a bright spot of color for me to aim at.

                I’ll end up with a lovely grouping…nowhere near the dot, because I aimed perfectly IF if the rifle wasn’t messed up. Can’t see to adjust my aim, so I’m lining the front and rear sights up and merrily repeating my mistake. 😀

      2. It was the consensus of the bar that both needed killing.
        There are places even today where that rule still holds in spite of any citified laws imposed on the good folk.

          1. I can think of plenty of people where my thought has been, “if only I could be sure all twelve jurors had know him.”

            1. There’s one person alive today only because I couldn’t figure out how to eliminate all the forensics evidence.

        1. I’ve already discussed this with my co-conspirators. Once we’ve terraformed Mars, the first law of the Free Martian Colonies will be that “Needed Killin'” is a valid legal defense for any homicide.

          1. I’m reminded of the original meaning of “outlawed”.

            The “outlawed person” was somebody that the society decided was no longer under the protection of the law.

            Thus anybody who killed this person would not be guilty of murder.

            1. Glenn Reynolds is very fond of pointing out law enforcement exists less to the law abiding from criminals but criminal from the law abiding. Once the law ceases to be a deterent on criminals vigilantees appear (see Getz, Bernard) and that is a much harsher result than prison.

  7. Then again, I’ve seen people in raging, screaming, unstoppable tantrums toward, say, their children, abruptly turn calm and sweet when the phone rang or someone knocked on the door. The potential for self-control was always there, but perhaps not the proper incentive.

    1. Dennis Prager talks about something similar when he discusses how we treat our family members. It’s about how we can fake happiness with the random person who comes to our door but can’t extend the same courtesy to our spouses and children.

      It’s not to mean that we should be “fake”, just to point out that if we can control ourselves when the phone rings, we can control ourselves around our family members who deserve our displays of self-control even more than the stranger at the door.

      1. I have long felt that the true test of when your children become adults is that point where they extend the same level of courtesy and politeness to family members that they show to total strangers.
        The corollary being how shocked and surprised most parents are when casual acquaintances remark on how polite and well behaved their kids are. Somehow manners always get applied outside the home first.

        1. when a cashier, I had some parents ask if I could ring up the thing the kid wouldn’t give up. It was generally rather easy to get it away from the kid. Perhaps surprise — perhaps inability to figure out what I might do if they clung to it.

        2. We had teachers and other people’s parents call to tell us how AMAZINGLY nice, polite and helpful our boys were. To be fair, besides the youngest’s potty mouth which rivals Nicki’s, they’re pretty polite at home, too.

          1. When it approaches Nicki’s it’s not a potty mouth it’s a skill.

            I know boiler techs who would have been proud of Nicki’s mouth.

          2. I remembet one even8ng in a restaurant when my k8ds were still little. A slightly older woman came to our table and complemented them on their good manners. Then she asked us, apparently in all honesty, how we got them to behave so well.

            I just looked up at her and respended, ” It’s simple, really. We beat them.”

            I will always treasure the look of horror on that idiotic face, just before she hurried away.

        3. The reason I gave up alcohol for Lent is this exact problem.

          My kids are dang near angelic…around strangers.

          At home?


      2. “Well, when he does it, he changes completely; he becomes another person; his eyes stare; it’s like he has a fit. I really think he can’t help it; he’s got no control over it.”

        “Would he do it in front of me, here, now, in this room?”

        “No, of course not.”

        “Then he can help it, can’t he?”

    2. My older kids swear up and down they behaved because they knew I’d beat the living daylights out of them if they stepped out of line. Funny thing is, I never once beat them. The most they ever got was a swat on the bottom after the count of three.

      What they did learn was that if I said they had to the count of three to do what I wanted or THIS will happen, that if I got to three, THIS happened. (for various values of THIS) Once this lesson was embedded, I never got to three.

      I’m also told by my kids that the reason other people’s misbehaved kids behave when I’m the adult in charge in youth group gatherings is because they are also fearful of me. Both my wife and I are mystified by this.

      1. My wife’s sister once brought over the children of her then-boyfriend. Unruly, ill-behaved…
        One of them took something from my Kid.
        “Give it to me,” I said.
        “No,” he replied flippantly.
        “I said, ‘Give it to me,'” I told him, lowering my voice and using my NCO tone.

        All my children stopped what they were doing and looked at me, eyes wide. The other kid paused, apparently having never heard that tone from an adult. He then handed me the toy and ran upstairs to his father.

        If tone doesn’t work, the reaction of the other kids can often be a clue that you DO NOT behave some ways.

        1. It was the Eyebrow, with my mother. If the Eyebrow happened, you were in deep, deep kimchee. (And if the full name–middle name included–came out in combination with The Eyebrow, you were dead.)

          I learned it early from her. It worked great on some kids I babysat for who were notoriously badly behaved. They behaved for me.

          1. Mom Red: All three names, with a south Texas accent, quietly. Everyone else in the room who can possibly do so flees.

            1. With Dad, enforcing Mom’s request: 1st time, you observed you’ve got his attention (e.g. if reading the paper, the paper shakes audibly); 2nd time, he starts to get up out of his chair; there’d better not be a 3rd time!

                1. Those are just their LEGAL names.

                  My mom’s LEGAL name is three very simple names.

                  Her REAL name was…five or six, I’m not sure. Seven, now.
                  (She’s not hyphenated, but her family sort of follows the Irish tradition where your maiden name becomes another middle name, and the “head” of the extended family loses all but the last name.)

                  So start giving them more names! 😀

        2. Works on dogs, too.

          My Aussies, being Aussies, are highly intelligent, well trained, independent (which a herding dog has to be), stubborn to a fault, and occasionally hard of listening. And I’m generally easy going as long as they obey hand and voice signals, and don’t screw around too much when it matters.

          But when they hear that tone of voice that means, “Aw right, knock it the hell off – I mean business now,” butts go down, eyes come up and rivet on me, and they sit stay until I tell them what to do next.

          And it’s not a loud tone of voice, either.

      2. Would-be miscreants are always fearful of those who give off the vibe of “Get out of line, and you will be disciplined.”
        My father was much the same as you.

      3. Many years ago, it was interesting to see the reaction of my (then young) niece & nephew to being told to behave by my mother and the reaction of them to being told to behave by their mother (my sister).

        From my POV, it was that “grandma means it” and “mom doesn’t mean it .. yet”.

        My Mom would react if they didn’t immediately behave but my sister wouldn’t react until she got angry.

        Not that Mom “beat on them”, but they knew that they couldn’t keep misbehaving where she was involved.

        With their mom, they could get away with misbehaving for some time.

      4. Personally, the best results I ever had were when I 1) threatened and 2) performed a full-volume rendition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song in the middle of the crowded mall, after repeated obnoxiousness from my daughter. Creativity can be very effective. *cackle*

        1. I imagine that–especially if they are a certain age–embarrassment would be a far, far better threat than any kind of violence…

          Hmmm. I need to make a note to remember this…

          1. Oh yes. She has *finally* figured out that I can no longer make good on my threat to sling her over my shoulder and carry her to the car. Therefore, I am trying the subtle (h/t Maxim and his hat). So far it’s working nicely.

              1. I am way too fond of Jaegers. This probably says something disturbing about me. 🙂

                  1. They’re also violent, not malicious, and rather honorable without being stuffy.

                    At least, the ones we see.

                    For heaven’s sake, I’m having trouble thinking of reasons actually shown that they wouldn’t qualify as lawful good….. their targets ARE bad guys, and they even practice self-sacrifice for good.

                    1. Lawful neutral. Their goodness is predicated on Agatha’s being good. And they think that means she’s not one of the “fun ones.”

      5. Yes, I’ve found that after the first spanking or two, the mere threat of counting (“don’t make me count to three”) settles things right down. Occasionally, when she’s really misbehaving, I’ll have to count to two. But once I hit two, she becomes resigned to the fact she won’t get her way.

          1. No.1 Son once called me a “moron” under his breath (well he thought it was under his breath) and I turned and glared at him. He immediately apologized and started to cry.

    3. I freaked out my boss when I was working for a locksmith. I was on the phone with a particularly stupid client; but was perfectly calm and professional with them. Then when I hung up the phone, and first looked to see there were no customers in the shop, described loudly and in great scatological detail the client’s intelligence and parentage.

      I explained later to my boss that was a skill I picked up working for lawyers.

      1. I learned it doing telephone tech support. The mute button is your friend–it lets you scream at the yahoos for a moment, then go back to being pleasant in trying to get them to follow your instructions.

        1. Until the mute button is broken. That happened to one of my coworkers a few years ago. The dispatch supervisor and the sgt thought it was funny. The Chief not so much.

          1. On the sub, the sound-powered telephones had a push-to-talk button in the middle of the handset. One station would move a dial selector to the station they wanted to contact, then turn a crank to “growl” the other station. Etiquette was to answer by stating the name of the station you were at.

            I had an electrician who would pick up the handset and loudly ask, “Yeah? What the f**k do YOU want?” He would then press the button, and in a calmer voice, say,”Maneuvering.” That lasted until the day he picked up the handset and neglected to keep the button unpressed.

            1. Thread drift:
              Speaking of sub communications, my old supervisor told a story about one of the old State Radio dispatchers (well, well before my time) that had served aboard subs prior to civilian life. Apparently the guy had a little difficulty staying away around 4AM and was prone to being a tad drowsy. One night he was covering the SE toweres in ND and one of the units called in on one of the main towers, “2513 to Cayuga Tower.” Well, the dispatcher, being roused from a less than fully alert state misheard/was dreaming and came to life, slapping the transmit button and calling out “Dive! Dive! Dive!” I understand he wasn’t on that particular counsel for that shift after that.

  8. When I was a kid there was something called a “fair fight” in which combatants were restricted to those techniques that gave the larger fighter a distinct advantage. As a small male I quickly learned that I could either “fight dirty” or get beat up a lot. Since punching me was considered fighting fair and therefore ignored by adults, but kicking, which was the only way I could reach a much larger boy, was considered fighting dirty, I was in trouble a lot. It was made worse by the fact that my mother, who grew up in a very privileged environment, was certain that any fighting I did must have been avoidable, and was therefore my fault.

    1. My kids were always told they weren’t allowed to throw the first punch. They were allowed to throw the last one. And implied and understood they were in trouble if they kept going after the other person was curled up in a ball, or surrendered in some way, or was unconscious. Never got to the last.

      1. Two of the rules are “When someone says stop, or goes limp, the fight is over” and “The fight goes on as long as it has to” after all.

      2. The variation I tell my kids is: “You don’t start fights; but you should finish them.” “Finishing” has been explicitly defined as enough force to stop their opponent; not enough to send them to the hospital unless absolutely necessarily.

        Also that verbally goading someone into throwing the first punch counts as startin’ things.

                    1. Whelk, I guess I’ll clam up, but first, I’m going to put in a link to the most concentrated source of fish puns I’m aware of:

  9. “A gun-carrying society is a polite society.”

    “He durst not give me the Lie Direct and so we measured swords and parted.”

    “If they put one of our guys in the hospital, we put one of theirs in the morgue. ”

    A punch on the jaw might be the Least Violent way to settle matters of personal honor.

    1. Every so often I run across the quote “An armed society is a polite society.” In most cases people think that this is so because people are afraid of being shot. In actual fact as observed in Florida after “shall issue” passed, it is because armed people are afraid of getting in a fight that escalates to the point that they shoot someone else.

      1. An armed society that is Christian and functioning is a polite society.

        The “under class” society has no lack of guns, but doesn’t have the assumption of the moral value of others and isn’t functional as a stand-alone society, so it doesn’t improve manners. It just means the same worthless thug sorts that make normal life annoying can more directly destroy your life.

          1. Random idea– or subconscious.

            Was trying to put a finger on what “felt” wrong with the idea that an armed society was a polite one; it works, but only the same way that laws of war work– the ones that we’re looking at depend on what I’ll shorthand as a Christian world view. Perfectly reachable by natural law theory, but not common.

            1. A riff on an idea I’ve tossed around these parts before:

              “Courtesy from a barbarian is conditional because it mostly proceeds from the belief that for the moment he cannot best you in a fight, and will be discarded the moment he thinks he can. Courtesy from a decadent is conditional because it is predicated mostly on the desire to gain prestige for himself by offering it rather than any desire to bestow prestige on you through receiving it, and will be discarded the moment he no longer sees that benefit. Only when one is free to be disrespectful, without fear of consequence or hope of gain, can respect be sincere; this is why only the courtesy of a civilized man is to be welcomed — it is the only kind with a reasonable chance of being unconditionally true.”

  10. Alas, while dueling (not to the death, obviously) would probably make sense, it would never fly today. The people would be most likely to be called out are the ones writing the laws.

    1. I am infavor of a Constitutional Amendment that allows one Congresscritter from each State to be duelled on the Statehouse lawn at noon every July 4th. 😉

      1. Heck, I proposed that any sitting elected official who runs for reelection and loses be summarily executed. I was argued down to mandatory long prison terms (grumble, grumble…).

        1. Nah. Expelled from the country, not to return for a period of no less than ten years. See how they enjoy the fruits of socialism whilst living under the actuality, should they dare…

      2. But that would depopulate the states as each person insisted – violently – that they got to pick and fight their congressperson.

        1. The rest of the concept – you raffle off the chance to instigate the duel. That way, you tame the critters, make sure the new ones have the courage of their convictions, and help pay down the debt all at the same time.

          Of course, we could leave them the option of resigning and never holding a position of public trust ever again, instead of accepting the duel.

  11. I remember the previous post on this topic, and it might be worth repeating what I found the most useful lesson from others’ comments there at the time: The problem with culturally legitimizing “low-level” violence as a method of dispute-settling between male adults is that it only works in cultures which *also* teach very rigorous strictures against using that violence against anyone else, like women and children, as well as a fairly strict and widely agreed consensus upon the topics for which it may be used and the degree to which one can assume others will not allow it to escalate. Simply legitimizing the ability to dole out knuckle sandwiches without re-infusing a broad cross-cultural consensus about when and how it’s OK to do so (and I have no idea how that would be done) seems to me to be likely to cause more problems than it solves, especially in a culturally heterogeneous society.

    It’s also worth noting that “personal honor” and “public pride” are not the same thing at all, but people lucky enough to have the muscles and reflexes necessary to punish insults to the former have a distressing habit of becoming prone to taking criticism damaging the latter *as* insults.

    1. Indeed. Another problem with bringing it back would be the abuse of the concept.

      1. Well, yes, but to be fair any tool of social control can be abused. The question is simply how easy and cheap it is to abuse a particular tool, and whether one can make it difficult and costly enough to discourage abuse without costing more than simply forgoing the benefits of its proper use in the first place.

        1. The problem is that the necessary check on such a tool is incredibly unreliable. That check is parents, educators and other officials with the will to figure out what actually happened and act on it, even if it means their own children get punished or their own job gets risked.

          In this thread we have examples of parents willing to stand up for their children even when their children are the aggressors, parents unwilling to stand up for their children when their children are the victims, and educators unwilling to make the distinction between the two. (We also have examples of educators that did the right thing, some of whom got punished for doing so).

          We don’t need to have everyone behaving perfectly, but we do need to have enough people on the same page and willing to fight to keep it there. I can’t blame a teacher for going with the flow when bucking the system means they get replaced by someone that goes with the flow and the problem continues (though I can blame the system).

          1. I can blame the teacher. When the maximum penalty for not doing evil is firing, just following orders is not excuse for doing evil.

            1. Yes, “I was just following orders” isn’t an excuse to allow evil to occur; but I’m also reminded of the saying that “Suicide for honor’s sake only results in fewer honorable people.”

              1. True, but there is a difference between suicide and firing. Yes, there will be fewer non evil people in the organization, but that just means that the nasties don’t have innocents to hide behind.

    2. Exactly this. If you look at what *actually* happened in cultures where dueling was acceptable, you had people who were good at dueling being able to act up because nobody would push back. In other words, bullies. Why do we need a different form of the same poison? It won’t solve the problem, which is people wanting to have power over others.

      I was fortunate to go to school in a time and place where the PC wasn’t yet rife. I hauled one troublemaker who had slapped me into the principal’s office by the scruff of his neck, dumped him on the rug, and said to the principal “deal with him”. I did not get in trouble, the idiot did. 😀

      Appropriate response should be the guide. Offensive words->words in response, and the original offender can’t claim hurt feelings. Punches get punches. And if the rulemakers aren’t around to protect me, I get to protect myself. Their choice …

        1. You reminded me of something from the Barbara Hambly novel The Ladies of Mandrigyn, an excellent and cleverly original take on the “women take up weapons” trope. Sun Wolf, the mercenary leader kidnapped to train the titular ladies, muses on the need for discipline in a soldier:

          “When a boy comes to me to be trained in arms, he’s the most dangerous between the fourth month and the twelfth. That’s when he’s learned the physical power, but not the spiritual control–and he hasn’t quite grasped the fact that there’s anyone alive who can beat him. That’s the age when someone–myself or Starhawk or Ari–has to trounce the daylights out of him, to keep him from picking fights with everyone else in the troop. If a boy survives the first year, he has the discipline and the brains to be a soldier.”

          Perhaps the problem with a duelling culture is that the skill of winning fights is very seldom learned in tandem with the skill of avoiding fights without dishonour, which produces the fallout that eventually gets the duels banned to begin with.

      1. Example: Andrew Jackson, for both good and ill.

        Unquestionably brave, and willing to accept damage to himself (by fighting opponents known to be more skilled with the selected weapons) to defend his honor.

        Also willing to use his reputation as a fearless and unrestrained duelist to bully anyone *not* willing to escalate the stakes to life or death.

  12. All right, thinking about French Nobles and dueling, I remembered a Highland (TV show) episode I saw.

    The Highlander and another Immortal were reminiscing about the past.

    We see this scene where a very drunk Highlander is “dueling” a French Noble.

    The Nobleman puts a sword into the chest of the Highlander (I said he was drunk) and the Highlander just gets back up.

    After several times of “sword into chest & Highlander gets up”, the Highlander offers an apology (while still drunk).

    The Nobleman, while obviously wondering why he can’t kill the Highlander, accepts the apology. 😈 😈 😈 😈

    1. No, that was the original Highlander movie! With the wonderful line from Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert): “I apologize for calling your wife a bloated warthog . . . and I bid you good day.”

  13. It was accepted in some milieux. Not in others. And still today.

    “Thus, a mere glance in a pub directed at a man’s girlfriend is sufficient to start a fight not only between the girl and her lover but, even before that, between the two men. Serious crimes of violence continue to rise in England, many of them occasioned by sexual jealousy. Cherchez la femme has never been a sounder guide to explaining attempted murder than it is today; and the extremely fluid nature of relations between the sexes is what makes it so sound a precept.”

  14. The thing that bothers me is not that you cannot “pop” someone for an insult, it is that you cannot “pop” him for a non-immediate threat. You have to wait until it is an immediate threat at which time you are likely in a worse position to hit him.

  15. Marvel Comics has a really great online subscription, only $69 a year, with a large percentage of their back catalog available. I’ve been slowly, over time, reading the online archives in chronological order. At this point I’m up to 1975. And one thing you definitely notice is that the superheroes were all about the fisticuffs back then. Well, that, and girl problems. Having trouble with your girl? Go find some bad guys to beat the crap out of.

    Reading some of the new stuff, it’s really not, any more. I’m not sure when it changed.

    1. I’m too old to have first-hand knowledge (my interest had waned by then), but it seems to me that it changed when the fan-boys took over the comic companies. After that time things started to get both PC, and so baroquely involved that they no longer made any sense narratively, which is why you keep seeing “reboots” and “retcons” all the time these days.

      1. They have a smattering of the 40s and 50s Captain America, but I don’t see any authored by Spillane. Once you get to the late 60s, they have pretty decently complete early runs of all the major comics, with the exception of a few, but they’re constantly filling in holes.

        1. I cannot stand Capt. America. Mostly because I can’t shake the impression that he voted for Roosevelt.

          1. I figure either he is a nationalist fanatic, hence would bring to the current day the ways he was extreme during WWII, to very much include having as much consideration for the rights of Salafi and Communists as he did for the rights of Nazis. Or he is an FDR partisan, in which case he isn’t much different from Red Skull.

            He was a New Yorker, so it is very plausible he voted that way. If he was old enough to vote in the election before the war broke out.

            1. IMO, Cap is an USAian-Through-And-Through.

              While he might have voted for FDR, that’s a far cry from “being like FDR”.

              Of course, it’s kind of funny talking about the Politics of a fictional character. 😉

              1. Ditto. On both counts.

                It’s funny because it’s something to do for fun, and this feels a liiiiiiittle too serious to be enjoyable. 😀

                1. When does Bob the fool ever talk about Democrats between the period of 1850 and 1960 and not take things entirely too seriously?

                  Mass Graves! Elaine, Arkansas! My family history!

                  There’s reason to think that Steve Rogers was pretty young, and might even have been too young to vote in 1940, or to have gotten caught up in FDR’s cult of personality.

                  Rogers only really works as a character if his motivations are patriotism and a sort of militarism. If he bought the propaganda harder, then he is simply more gullible than his fellows. If he is a party man, or enchanted with FDR’s policies, there isn’t much to distinguish him from a Nazi who wants to kill Jews. (Take a look at how Rogers treats Nazi agents and German sympathizers, and consider what would happen if terrorists or Muslims were treated that way now. If Rogers were motivated by Democratic Party values, he would be as willing to do that to Republicans, as FDR’s bully boys did.) He needs to be someone who would die a horrible death, because he cannot live in peace while his nation is at war.

                  1. Or if he’s an American, who saw his country facing down raw evil on the hoof, and couldn’t do anything— he wasn’t strong enough.

                    Until he got a chance– a small chance, with a big risk– to become all that he could be, LITERALLY all he could be as a human being, and fight for his country.

                    I have no trouble seeing him “work” as a USAian.

                    1. Agree.

                      Mind you, I agree that FDR started the US down the wrong bath but I don’t see him in the same light as Hitler or Stalin.

                      Therefore, Steve Rogers, even if he had voted for FDR, is not a “Stormtrooper”.

                    2. Yeah, but how did he know about the ‘raw evil on the hoof’ part?

                      New York does make it plausible he could have been close to refugees from Eastern Europe without having much clue what FDR was doing in the USA.

                    3. Yeah, but how did he know about the ‘raw evil on the hoof’ part?

                      Ask Chesterton– he was already dead at the time, and he wrote extensively about it.

                      Prior to death, of course.

                    4. You also have to realize that a lot of our disdain for FDR comes from some good old fashioned 20/20 hindsight. We’ve seen were he was wrong, where the policies he pursued made things worse, and know things about his personal life which weren’t available to the average Joe circa 1939.

                      There was a lot of uncertainty floating around in the 1930s, the many of the same forces which brought Mussolini to power in Italy, and Hitler to power in Germany were in play in the United States as well. That gave us nearly sixteen years and an unprecedented four terms of Roosevelt.

              2. I agree with you. Cap is from a time when Dems were patriotic Americans who loved their country.

                1. That’s what the history books say. I’ve spoken to some old-timers who have a different opinion. What we see has history, they saw as the destruction of America as a free nation with no idea how it would turn out. You might too if his agents were destroying your family’s hogs and your livelihood while millions went hungry to boost the profits of farmers in the states that voted for him, or federal men who didn’t know corn from molasses informed all the Republican farmers in the area that their perfectly healthy crops were infected with blight and would be burned… for the good of the community, of course. Or if he made your gold illegal and then revalued it to enrich him and his (though if you were clever you drilled a small hole in each coin, strung them together and claimed they were exempted as jewelry instead of illegal bullion, though it’s shameful any American would have to resort to such deception). Or if you were there to see him run for not just a 3rd term, but a FOURTH when even Washington himself didn’t believe he was worthy of more than 2 (A friend’s father made the prediction “the only way that tyrant will leave the White House is in a casket,” and he was right). No… he’s no Stalin, but perhaps he’s the same cloth as Mussolini. And any ‘superhero’ that would tolerate things like the NRA and the Agriculture Adjustment Administration is no patriot, just a nationalist:

                  1. But how many 18 year olds (Steve Rogers age at the time) would have known about ANY of that? There’s a reason Cap is consistently on the liberty side of Marvel’s Civil Wars.

            2. Actually, has nothing to do with him being a New Yorker. I still remember my grandparents talking about FDR basically being regarded as wonderful all across the South.

              1. FDR was a New York politician from the New York political machine. Rogers was from, IIRC, Long Island. So his family could have been tangled up in machine politics, or it could have been opposed to them.

    2. “Reading some of the new stuff, it’s really not, any more. I’m not sure when it changed.” – Skip

      Some point in the mid eighties, I think, post Clairemont’s New X-Men. And then the “Dark Age” of the grimmer and grittier 90s went farther into the killing levels of violence, plus major angst, and killed off the old days completely.

      *shrug* Never really went back that I’m aware of, but I stopped buying and reading comics regularly around 1994, and never started again.

  16. The first scene in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” has the protagonist goad a new kid into a fight. I’d like to think that in 140 years, we’ve been able to come up with a better way for people (even children) to introduce themselves.

    1. Pretty much every first meeting between superheroes works this way (the first Green Lantern/Superman meeting in the New 52 DC reboot was a classic version). It also forms the plot insigating moment of the movie Pushing Tin.

      It’s continued popularity tells me there is something to it. I suspect it has something to do with the pecking order.

      1. It was played (slightly) for a joke in one Spiderman comic.

        This new character, called Razorback, basically picked a fight with Spiderman because “he thought that’s how new heroes introduced themselves to the established heroes”. 😈

          1. Yep, that’s the one.

            On the other hand, there was a “Savage Dragon” where some “hero” picked a fight with Savage Dragon in order to see if the Dragon was worthy of joining his team.

            After the fight was over, Savage Dragon found out why the “hero” picked the fight and attempted to arrest him over the property damage caused by the fight. 😈 😈 😈 😈

            Note, Savage Dragon was a “superbeing” that had a dragon-like crest & skin who was found, without memory, dressed in the remains of a police uniform.

            Savage Dragon, after he was found, became a member of the Police Department of the city where he was found.

            1. Note, Savage Dragon was a “superbeing” that had a dragon-like crest & skin who was found, without memory, dressed in the remains of a police uniform.

              Wow, now there is an origin story that either needs very old-style communication or a really dark setting– to keep up the drama, you’d have to have him interested in Who Am I, so it must either be logically reasonable that national communication to get pictures of every cop that’s gone missing in the last five years, in uniform, sent directly to him… or there are so many cops going missing in an amount of time where the difference in uniform wouldn’t be a dead give away that such a simple solution won’t work. Only about 150 cops die each year, so…..

              1. Worse, Savage Dragon didn’t look like a normal human (green scaly skin, dragon-like crest).

                So if he was a cop, then whatever made him lose his memory changed his physical appearance.

                1. Wiki might have missed that, or it was changed in later versions.

                  I wanna see an X-files version of things– lots of chances for drama in the “where did I come from” and “if I find out…do I want to go back, as a monster?”

      2. I think it has more to do with being a dramatic way to contrast characters than being a technically accurate means of illustrating how people interact.

        Sort of like the two-three ways that they show people falling in love: love at first sight or two flavors of don’t get along. (The “they argue a lot” flavor and the “one is intimidated by the other” flavor.) There’s an element of truth to it, yeah, but the point is that it gets the idea across, not that it’s real.

  17. I think it’s less “it was not uncommon” than “it was not uncommon in low-class situations.”

    That doesn’t mean that only someone who was uncouth would do it, it means that only the low-rent would start it.

    Propositioning a woman is a cheap thing to do, so the person who did it was lowering the interaction to the level where physical responses became an valid option.

    That started to go away when the notion of what was low-class covered too much area– to pull from some of your history-stories, a guy from the next town over making eyes at a local girl. Is that unacceptable and an opening for physical violence, or is that reaction something only a total idiot would have? Making a rude suggestion to a woman walking alone at dusk, is that an invitation to be beaten, or only expected behavior?– and so the idea that making a fuss was more rude, in most situations, than the thing that gave offense.
    Call it the “assumption of good will.” It worked when folks were being adults.

    In comes the group most famously illustrated by Alinsky, which takes that assumption of good will and abuses it. That creates a problem, which has to be fixed, and it’s a charley foxtrot.

  18. There is a trade-off that the civilization of humanity brings.

    With civilization, we get things like police forces and courts. Which is nice, because before we had those, when a Hatfield killed a McCoy (not being specific here, just an example), you ended up with a feud. One of the McCoys would kill a Hatfield to get revenge, sparking on a long, hate filled, never ending string of revenge murders.

    With Civilization, we now have police investigators who would be able to investigate and prove whether or not it really WAS the suspected Hatfield who did the deed. And because we successfully “out-sourced” revenge in the form of courts and juries, we no longer have the uncontrolled string of revenge killings. The courts would take care of that for us, and while seeing a man imprisoned was not as viscerally satisfying as shooting him in his big stupid face, we accepted it as a small price to pay for the benefits to society that civilization brings.

    Initially, we realized that the police and courts were really just for the “Big Things”. Murder, rape, theft, etc. We were free to handle the smaller stuff ourselves, like defending a Lady’s honor, or answering an insult with a due and dispassionate revenge (ie. socking a guy in the nose when he desperately deserved it). Civilization grew. We were climbing the proverbial hill of enlightenment. Then we reached the top and sadly kept rolling down the other side. Such things as personal integrity, vital to true civilization, were left behind and forgotten. The right to handle the small stuff was snuffed out. Now, there IS no legal recourse for defending a lady’s honor. There is no legal recourse to answer an insult. In fact, trying to do either only leads only to legal trouble.

    So now, true civilization is a lost dream. The louts and ne’er-do-wells of the world are free to spout whatever vile verbal sputum they wish, comfortable in the safety that so many of us still cling to that dream of civility that keeps us believing in the rule of law. Even when we know the dream is gone. The world has become less civilized, simply because it became too civilized.

    1. Then we don’t breed enough so our betters bring in barbarian hordes to do the scut work, only to discover… Barbarians act BARBARIC!

  19. To this day I’m thoroughly unrepentant for giving the beating of her life to the girl who threatened to tell my friend’s parents that my friend had failed her dictation again. (My friend was severely dyslexic.) Because in my eyes there was nothing – nothing – more repugnant than the sticky-sweet girls who would simper to the adults that so and so was doing bad things, and could the adults stop it, now?

    That’s a failure of adults, there.

    It’s deathly important that kids learn to tell valid authorities things that they need to know– for example, kids need to know that they SHOULD tell their parents when the school is teaching dumb or malicious things, for a mild example of misconduct.

    I grew up with the “kids smoking out behind the barn” being the gold standard example of where you needed to sprint and tell an adult before those idiots got someone killed or destroyed the livelihoods for one or more families. It still happened every few years, because somebody would set the standard of never telling an adult anything that would get anybody else in trouble, rather than doing the work involved in teaching kids proper judgement about why the information was being carried over. An irrational dependence on judging something by an irrelevant result.

    Anybody acting like that, in contrast, would be told to get her nose out of other people’s business and probably get a long lecture about her failure to live up to the Christian principle of charity with a side chance of a lesson about when gossip becomes a mortal sin. IF the adults involved were adulting.

    1. Yes, I’ve always felt the concept of the ‘snitch’ was a tricky one. Sure, it’s problematic when your snitch is whining to a grownup about absolutely every little thing. But if there is a criminal act occurring, or serious harm/potential for serious harm…then there absolutely should be an authority who is told. And, more importantly, an authority who does something about it–and does NOT punish the whistle-blower in that case.

      I laugh every time I have to watch the government-mandated ‘training’ on the whistleblower protection act, because it is *painfully* clear in the real world that if you truly are a whistleblower shining light on actual criminal behavior…you will be punished to the full extent of the law (such as it is) and probably outside it as well.

      On the other hand, you are actively encouraged to report anything at all that might be even a little bit ‘offensive’ and frequently the rules for *that* are set up in such a way that the accused has no right to face his/her accuser.

      Bit skewed, I can’t help but feel…

      1. Rape, theft, and possibly murder would be the only things I would call the cops for, and very possibly not on theft if I knew who the thief was.

        I was taught growing up, if you tattle you will get a licking, and then the decision will be made on whether the person you tattled on deserves a licking or not, but you will get one for tattling. You quickly learned to only go running to an adult for something truly important, you know, something worth getting a licking over.

        1. I think the tricky part with that is there are probably too many folks who would only manage to impart the lesson of: “never tell an adult/authority figure anything, ever”

          Which becomes an issue when, say, something like sexual abuse or some such enters the picture. :/

          As I said, it’s a difficult area. I think my parents took tattling on a case-by-case basis: if it was clearly a case of “I’m trying to get the other kid into trouble and be a smug brat” then there was in deed punishment for the tattler. If it was a case of “I think this is really bad” but it turns out it isn’t, there was explanation of “this is why you didn’t need to come and tattle” and if it was a case of “no, really, this is something the adults need to be made aware of” then the teller was told “yes, thank you, good job.”

          Then again, I come from a family where most of the kids were adopted, and most of those came from hellishly abusive backgrounds and had a range of problems. And one of those sibs in particular was outright dangerous to us other kids (at least the younger ones–I was the oldest by almost a decade, so therefore tended to fall under the ‘adult’ category.) He did actually attempt to kill Baby Brother on one occasion, and threatened the other younger kids on a regular basis, and tried to set the house on fire more than once, etc. (Truly, it was not his fault–I blame the people who put him through horrific abuse. Sadly, it did not make him any easier to live with/cope with.) So *not* telling an adult when something fishy was going on was really, *really* not an option. For similar reasons, any and all forms of physical brawling were totally outlawed, which made us a bit odd compared to more normal families.

          Although I know that I, at least, was aware of the different levels of ‘tattling’ to know better than to turn into the loathed form of ‘tattle tale’ with kids outside the home. I knew early on what was important and what was not, and so it was never really an issue. Sadly, some of the younger sibs did not take that lesson away, and fell into the ‘never tell authority anything, ever’ trap. (Which is probably one of the many screwed-up reasons younger sister decided moving in with a guy with a conviction for felony abuse was a *great* idea, much to the detriment of her children.)

          1. I have a cousin (well, probably several, and that’s just in the “first cousin” range) who is only alive because someone “got them in trouble.”

            I carry the guilt, to this day, for someone else that I failed to “get into trouble,” and whose life was largely ruined because of it. Their life may have still gone wrong if I hadn’t kept quite so they “wouldn’t get in trouble”… but it might not have.

            I was a kid. That’s no damned excuse, I made the wrong judgement call.

            If I’d known that I would definitely be punished no matter what I did… I really wouldn’t like to meet the psychotic **** that would result. The mean girls ain’t got nothin’ on that.

            1. Yeah, that’s why I think I will fall on the side of “adults–specifically and especially your parents–are to be trusted, and you should tell them when you think something is wrong, even if you’re not sure” with my hypothetical future kids. Better to teach them to bring help if they think there may be a problem than to keep their mouths shut out of fear or ostracization or punishment. It is, frankly, pretty obvious most of the time when a kid is doing the ‘tattle tale’ routine deliberately to get another child in trouble–and in cases like that, it’s time to teach them ‘this is not okay behavior for many reasons, but one of them is: if you keep acting like this, there’s a good chance that someone *won’t* listen to you when it really is a serious problem.’ (In addition to the “attempting to deliberately get other people in trouble like this is the behavior of a bully and a jerk, and it will not be tolerated.”)

              And it falls on the adults to avoid either falling into the ‘all snitches are bad and should be punished no matter what they’re snitching about’ trap, or the ‘I’m going to treat everything out of this child’s mouth as the truth and always punish the other children without investigating the claims or checking to see if it truly is something they should be getting in trouble for.’ (Ie, it falls on the adult to act like an adult.)

              Attempting to get a kid in trouble with their parents because they got a bad grade? Yeah, that is NOT okay. Because their grades are no one’s business but theirs, their parents’, and the teachers’. Other things can get grey very fast–like a kid telling on other kids who are doing something their parents told them not to that may not actually be dangerous, but doing the telling out of spite or because they were excluded. Should the parents know? Probably. The kid’s motivations certainly aren’t pure…but what if it *was* something dangerous? Motivations don’t really matter then.

              TL;DR version: ultimately, I think the best approach to anything as possibly grey as this is “teach kids that there are *always* consequences, and they aren’t always nice, but that you should always do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences to you might end up being.”

  20. we realized that the police and courts were really just for the “Big Things”. Murder, rape, theft, etc.

    In our rolling down the other side of the hill, we (Western Civ) are encountering situations where police and courts *don’t* act on the Big Things, (i.e., see Europe & the refugee crime wave) so what happens then? Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.

    **I’m picturing Europe/Western Civ as Bill Bixby from the ‘Incredible Hulk,’ saying those infamous words: “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” to the people who keep poking him in the chest**

    1. These are just more symptoms of the long roll down the other side of the hill. Governments (ie. police and courts, and those who control them) are looking the other way because it is no longer PC to single out a particular group.

      What we (as a society) have lost is the ability to differentiate when a group should be singled out and when it shouldn’t (admittedly, the humanity has always sucked at this, but that isn’t an excuse for no longer trying).

      Frankly, I would go so far as to say that the refugee issues have nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or religion. It has everything to do with a group of people who have been steeped in war in an uncivilized environment for so long, that they’ve forgotten how to behave in a civilized (at least what is left of civilization) society. So they go with what they know.

      The answer? Unfortunately, there probably isn’t one. At least not a good one. Even if you come up with one, good luck getting it implemented, then good luck trying to keep assholes from appropriating it destroying it for the sake of what little bit of power/control they could glean from doing so.

      1. There is an answer. It’s just unpalatable to so many that they think appeasement is a better option, not realizing that in the end it’s just going to be all the bloodier for delaying.

  21. In elementary school there was a bigger boy who started bullying me. After about a week of putting up with it, we just had a fistfight. I won, though it was over as soon as the other kid was down. Kicking a kid while he’s down was just not done. After that was done we got to be good friends all through the rest of school (and were even doubles partners on the high-school tennis team).

    I have a son now and have explained that the rule to him is that he is not allowed to start any fights, but must finish them. When he’s a little older I plan on enrolling him in a martial art. One of the reasons I want to do that is so he’ll have a place where he and any other boys can “settle it in the ring” with rules, officials, and minimum chance of lawsuits if he ever has the need to do so. For the same reason I plan on enrolling him in the SCCA and letting him autocross as soon as he starts driving, with the rule that if he wants to race someone they can do it on the track but if he ever ever drives recklessly on the street he’ll lose his car. Of course driverless cars may make that plan obsolete soon.

    1. You might want to check the local culture when he’s old enough too– I know some areas, being beaten is a death sentence so fighting back when assaulted escalates it to deadly.

      Since we’re actively importing from some of those cultures, the problem will become bigger.

  22. This is very close to something I’ve been thinking about and discussing lately with friends.

    I often look at human behavior in terms of evolution. The feminine version of punching an enemy in the nose (which is more common behavior among males, especially in a historical context) is, arguably, reputation-destroying gossip. And we’ve outlawed interpersonal violence, but we can’t–and shouldn’t for good reason–outlaw malicious gossip. And so often when someone wants to destroy someone now, they go for gossip. Which describes a good deal of social media behavior by “social justice warriors.”

    And SJWs are also the same types to treat victimhood as a currency. Saying you “feel unsafe” or that you’re “triggered” now grants you social power. And that’s really just the same “gossip” tactic–social manipulation–used to get what you want.

    All this to say this behavior could be characterized as the “feminization” of… not violence, because words are never the same as physical violence. But maybe “destruction?” Or “aggression?”

    I don’t want to come across as misogynist, a term I think, even when bandied about as it so often is these days, can have actual meaning. But I see SJW behavior, and I can’t help but think of high school girls being catty. Or the type of manipulation women must have used in prehistory to get what they wanted, surrounded by men more powerful than they were or could ever be.

    1. But I see SJW behavior, and I can’t help but think of high school girls being catty.

      There’s a reason why a man doing the same thing is described as a mangina, or a sandy mangina.

      Also, traditionally, there’s a reason why such behavior was considered feminine, and underhanded, and why poison is considered a woman’s weapon. Also why a man who behaved in the manners of womenfolk was considered untrustworthy and low, but why a woman who behaved in such a manner was ‘no more than female warfare.’

      They’re quite connected. Thats’ why despite the SJW bullshit, the female SJWs are still drawn to the traditional confident ‘alpha’ male types – and that women who subscribe to SJWness are never in stable relationships.

    2. It is most definatly violence. Think of it as the laser designater that marks the target for a smart bomb. (Although the guys that provide the violence are generally not very smart).

  23. This is something that I’ve noticed in many, many older books. From Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels of the ’50’s/60’s (admittedly, they were violent even for their time), to Jonathan Gash’s Lovejoy novels of the ’70’s/’80’s violence seemed much more prevalent in entertainment (at least the books I read).

    Even when I was in high school I remember kids would get in a fistfight out in the parking lot after school, and by the weekend they’d be hanging out at the same party drinking together. Minor violence was simply an accepted part of life. And as long as there were no weapons, or ganging up on someone, nobody took it too seriously.

    Now, if you look at someone and make them feel uncomfortable it’s practically a federal case. We’ve had several young ladies who’ve called to report being harassed/assaulted because some guy chatted them up in the library looking for a date. It’s pretty sad when it takes a police officer to explain to you that ‘No, talking to you isn’t a crime. Learn to say you’re not interested in going out instead of calling the police to do it for you.’

    1. It’s pretty sad when it takes a police officer to explain to you that ‘No, talking to you isn’t a crime. Learn to say you’re not interested in going out instead of calling the police to do it for you.’

      I call those things a self-correcting fault. If a girl’s immediate reaction is to shriek and scream rape rape rape when there’s no way it could have happened (such as the scenario you described: guy chatting to a girl in an obvious and public venue, clothes are clearly still on, etc) then rightfully so, that girl is ostracized and should be a social pariah – because she has made herself too big a risk to be around. But if she is allowed that behavior with no consequences to her then it is fully detrimental to social interaction and eventually society as a whole.

          1. As long as the police treat it accurately. And she does not search out confrontation. Neither is a given

    1. And when that starts becoming a problem for law abiding citizens the tree rows start getting added fertilizer in the middle of the night.

    1. Don’t worry I think both Bernie and Trump’s supporters are more than willing to break out Madame Guillotine.

  24. I really like this blast-from-the-past, Mrs. Hoyt.

    On Rex Stout:
    “It wasn’t till older kid started reading them recently (After he told me, “Society sure has changed!”) that I went and looked at them through … well… new eyes.” – Sarah Hoyt

    Mickey Spillane. Mike Hammer and his other characters were a bit to the extreme in the violent end compared to Rex, but the books provide a fascinating glimpse of the post-WWII era that my dad was in his 20s and early 30s during. I’ve known a few guys like Mike here and there – Spillane wasn’t too far out there, either, in his portrayal of the “rough hewn gentleman hardcase” even into the 60s and 70s and early 80s.

    (And Spillane’s pithy response to someone at a party’s complaint about him having novels in several of the ten best seller list slots was cherce and hilarious.)

    Donald Hamilton for a slightly different look into post-War America into and through the 60s and 70s from the point of view of a government agent who is so hardboiled that he makes that effeminate Brit James Bond look like a pansy. But you can see the shifting societal elements all around him, from then into the insanities of the 70s and 80s.

    Any Bogart movie, especially the ones with Bacall. Class all the way, hardboiled, and no one is afraid or reluctant to pop someone in the snoot if they deserve it, especially over their girl.

    MacDonald’s Travis McGee, for a slightly different glimpse into a past and shifting world through the eyes of a post Korean war era character stuck in the decaying present.

    A lot of Earth setting Burroughs, for a glimpse of an America a bit farther back.

    Quite a few others that I used to have in my library, and none of the characters would fit in today’s U.S., nor would they recognize it.

    “Reading Rex Stout reminded me how much simpler and more egalitarian it would often be to just pop someone one – right in the nose.” – Sarah Hoyt

    Simpler and more egalitarian, but fraught, absolutely fraught I say, with microagressions.

    And with macroagressions, even. *grin*

    At some point, if I ever finish it, I have an essay titled “An Alien in an Alien World” describing the America of the 60’s and 70s from the perspective of a kid growing up in and through that era into the 80s, and trying and failing to adjust to the alien present.

    I may submit it to you as a potential for a guest post if I ever finish it.

    I keep getting bogged down, because whenever I write a bit on it, it gets depressing doing the comparisons between then and now. And then I have to quit and walk away, and work with the dogs so I won’t get too bleak.

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