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Re: Cane Size

November 18 2016 at 11:20 PM


Response to Cane Size

Hello Lisa and hcj,

Thank you for your very interesting comments on what was, I confess, very much a tongue in cheek post. Thank you also hcj for confirming the absence of pictures in American Way's link over in the  Untitled  thread. I have commented on the issue in my response to Oliver Sydney in that thread.

As regards the 'American Horror Story' videos I have to say that in 1964 America (the year in which the second series, 'Asylum' was allegedly set, I doubt if there were many institutions where inmates and erring staff were likely to be caned on the bare, or indeed subjected to CP at all, even if control was by a religious agency. Sarah Paulson, playing Lana Winters who was called upon to select the cane in the second video, has recorded that while the 'victims' were being filmed bent over the desk bare bottomed she and Jessica Lange, playing Sister Jude, were overcome by laughter which almost stopped proceedings. A suitable commentary on the CP theme in that context IMHO.

That said, there was undoubtedly some actual misuse of CP in past years, both in institutions and schools. Several instances have been highlighted here. However I think that incidents of abuse involving CP were greatly outnumbered by those involving sexual abuse. Many of the latter seem to have taken an inordinately long time to be claimed or exposed. This may be because in the public perception they are more serious and thus more likely to be actively concealed and denied by those responsible and those shielding them, but in my opinion there are other complications.

I am in full and absolute agreement with hcj that the canes seen in the videos bear no resemblance to school canes. Indeed, decorated and embellished as they were, they were probably unlike canes used for punitive (as opposed to consensual) caning anywhere. However I think that if, as claimed, they were all Malaysian rattan they do indicate that that product could come in a variety of cane sizes other than the 24 to 36 inch long, ¼ to ½ inch diameter items used in British schools, and that was why I thought it useful to display them.

I am also in agreement with hcj that in the UK at least most corporal punishment was administered fairly and reasonably, a claim Lisa makes for her school. I also agree that it was frequently effective. Though of a magnitude well below caning, it was certainly effective with me! My reasons for now believing that CP could not and should not be reintroduced in UK schools hinge not on its possible effectiveness but on the difficulties of arranging its safe and effective administration to comply with current societal expectations and beliefs.

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