Perhaps It’s Time to Bring Back an Ancient Instrument of Social Control

 

No, I’m not speaking of the chastity belt.  Evidence for the widely-held belief that such an appliance was in common use in Medieval times, as knights errant locked up their ladies, hung the (only) key ’round their necks,  and rode off to Eastern climes with no idea of when–or even if–they’d ever return home is scant to non-existent, and most reputable scholars have discounted its importance, or even its existence, in the social history and fabric of the age for decades. (Full disclosure: I’ve long contemplated writing a comic novella of the period with the liberated but sane woman, Chastity Belt, as a narrator.)

Decades ago–when our love was young, as they say–the late Mr. She and I spent an inordinate amount of time in old-fashioned diners.  He was particularly fond of them, and I should think we visited just about every one in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and Northern West Virginia over the years.  (Years ago, the local PBS affiliate’s excellent program, Pennsylvania Diners and Other Roadside Restaurants,  mentioned some of them.)

I loved those diners too.  Nothing like a good diner burger, milkshake, and pie.  Although I confess that I sometimes tired of the jukebox.  And I remember thinking, on many an occasion, that I’d be happy to stick one of my hard-earned quarters in the slot if only it would buy me five minutes of silence.

Frankly, I’ve thought of those moments quite often over the last month, as one after another of the House of Representatives’ deranged, shrieking harridans takes center stage and overwhelms the airwaves with meretricious rhetoric and diversionary lies.

Crimenutely. Rashida Tlaib (I don’t know why anyone is worried about the “dual-loyalty” of Jewish-Americans.  I see quite a few demonstrations, purportedly by Jewish-Americans, protesting against current Israeli policy and actions. I have yet to see a corresponding event on the part of any Palestinian-Americans, where they are protesting the actions of Hamas or the Palestinians.  It seems that loyalty goes only one way.)  Then there is Ilhan Omar.  And sundry other members of “The Squad.”

But–first among equals–Cori Bush:

Crimenutely.  Where do I put my quarter to shut her up?

Which brings me to the point of my post. (You knew I’d get there sooner-or-later, right?)

I’m not really into the sort of lose-lose equations demonstrated by things like the ducking stool, or the rack, or similar tortures intent on discovering whether the person in question was a witch or not (I think I already know the answer to that one in many of these cases).  And other, extreme, over-the-top punishments probably aren’t warranted either.

But perhaps I could put in a good word for an updated version of the Scold’s Bridle?  Lightweight (no need to make it of iron these days), and perhaps not-so-spiky-and-painful as before. But just as effective in enforcing a term of silence? (Note–the original devices were pretty ugly.  Thanks to social media, even that’s not required these days.  These women beclown themselves with ugliness every time they open their mouths with falsehoods, no artificial assistance needed.)

The other purpose of the original–public humiliation–should be easily served, since these women are elected members of the House of Representatives, so they are operating in the public space and on the public dime.  And frankly, they should feel humiliation and shame, for the exhibition they make of themselves, if nothing else.

We can have a rational debate (yes, even we women) among those of us with sincere differences. Some of those debates may even get quite heated.  I’d be happy to participate in, or sit on the sidelines of, such noisy repartee.

On that last note, kudos to Ben Shapiro.  I think he was recently in the UK mainly to attend Jordan Peterson’s ARC conference. He wrote a column for the Telegraph a week or so which seemed to reach–favorably–most of the commenters (the Telegraph commenters aren’t all conservatives, by a long shot), and he followed that up with a gig at Cambridge where he more than held his own against the loons–who seemed–even before the start–to know they’d lost.  If someone asked me today who ought to be the next US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, I’d probably suggest Ben Shapiro:

The sort of stuff that the likes of Omar, Bush, Tlaib, and company are espousing is completely different.  It emerges from ignorance, and it’s not remotely concerned with good faith. It doesn’t care about facts, it’s beneath contempt, and it’s not worth engaging.  When any of those hysterical prima donnas (who allege that their Black aides are regularly pushed off Washington DC elevators in exhibitions of Islamophobic hatred–wut?) is willing to go one-on-one with Ben Shapiro on this matter, I’ll take a look.

Until then, I’ve stuck a quarter in the slot and chosen “silence.”

And it is lovely.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Ye Branks and Braes. . .

    • #1
  2. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Ye Branks and Braes. . .

    I see what you did there…

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Ye Branks and Braes. . .

    I see what you did there…

    Rabbie would approve.

    • #3
  4. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    She: I loved those diners too.  Nothing like a good diner burger, milkshake and pie.  Although I confess that I sometimes tired of the jukebox.  And I remember thinking, on many an occasion, that I’d be happy to stick one of my hard-earned quarters in the slot if only it would buy me five minutes of silence.

    If only there had been a 45rpm release of this piece.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #5
  6. Yarob Coolidge
    Yarob
    @Yarob

    Did someone mention chastity belts?

    Allow me to introduce you to a song no American knows that I first heard in England fifty years ago on an LP recording of the 1966 South African musical revue, Wait a Minim! The whole show is worth hearing, but two numbers stand out in my memory: Sir Oswald Sodde, the song that prompts this comment, and Black-White Calypso, a song which if performed in public today would likely generate audience walk-outs, riots, and instant cancellation of the performer. Enjoy!

    Sir Oswald Sodde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6d3z_PKB2s.

    Black-White Calypso: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtKH7eumj0I.

    Wait a Minim! in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_a_Minim!

    • #6
  7. Ignore This, Pal! Inactive
    Ignore This, Pal!
    @OldDanRhody

    She: they should feel humiliation and shame

    Yeah; good luck with that.

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    In 1961, our “village” (actually, an inner suburb that was part of New York City) got its first pizza parlor and it had what to my nine-year-old eyes was the most space-age jukebox I’d ever seen. It was like a futuristic prop from Babes in Toyland, one of the year’s movie hits.  Over the next year or two, topical hits like The Ventures’ Telstar came out of that jukebox, joining other pop hits like comedy album cuts from The First Family

    But my mother’s jukebox favorite was an instrumental known to you, She, by Acker Bilk, a British jazzman.

     

    • #8
  9. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Yarob (View Comment):

    Did someone mention chastity belts?

    Allow me to introduce you to a song no American knows that I first heard in England fifty years ago on an LP recording of the 1966 South African musical revue, Wait a Minim! The whole show is worth hearing, but two numbers stand out in my memory: Sir Oswald Sodde, the song that prompts this comment, and Black-White Calypso, a song which if performed in public today would likely generate audience walk-outs, riots, and instant cancellation of the performer. Enjoy!

    Sir Oswald Sodde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6d3z_PKB2s.

    Black-White Calypso: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtKH7eumj0I.

    Wait a Minim! in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_a_Minim!

    I’m impressed by a reference to Wait a Minim! BTW, Yarob, by any obscure chance is your handle a play on the reverse of the first word of “borei pri hagafen?”

    • #9
  10. Yarob Coolidge
    Yarob
    @Yarob

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I’m impressed by a reference to Wait a Minim! BTW, Yarob, by any obscure chance is your handle a play on the reverse of the first word of “borei pri hagafen?”

    Sadly it is not, but I wish it were! 

    • #10
  11. She Member
    She
    @She

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    But my mother’s jukebox favorite was an instrumental known to you, She, by Acker Bilk, a British jazzman.

    Ahhh.  Mr. Acker Bilk, and a piece that was so closely associated with my own mother we played it at her funeral.

    • #11
  12. She Member
    She
    @She

    Yarob (View Comment):
    Allow me to introduce you to a song no American knows that I first heard in England fifty years ago on an LP recording of the 1966 South African musical revue, Wait a Minim! The whole show is worth hearing, but two numbers stand out in my memory: Sir Oswald Sodde, the song that prompts this comment…

    I do know the chastity belt song, although not from Wait a Minim! I can’t remember who sang it in the version I associate with my childhood (UPDATE: Found him. Steve Benbow https://www.discogs.com/release/5253377-Steve-Benbow-Tells-About-This-That-And-The-Other) but my parents had quite an extensive collection of mildly bawdy and other comic songs on 45 and 33 LP records

    The Black-White Calypso (which I didn’t know) reminded me of another hit from the mid-60s, Shame and Scandal in the Family. I knew the Lance Percival version, but I see from the Wikipedia article that that was a rework of a 1943 song written by Sir Lancelot.  (On pretty solid ground here, with both performers’ names, and tie-ins to the OP, so not off-topic at all.)

    It’s another one that reeks of inappropriate innuendo and cultural appropriation, at least in its more recent form.  (Sir Lancelot, a Trinidadian, had the proper genes; there’s nothing even remotely calypso-adjacent about Lance Percival.)  Still, here it is:

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    She: (Full disclosure: I’ve long contemplated writing a comic novella of the period with the liberated but sane woman, Chastity Belt, as a narrator.)

    You gotta!

    • #13
  14. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I enjoyed the Shapiro clip.  Most of the questions were good.  I noticed a difference in the manner of male and female questioners.  Most of the men seemed to have been influenced by the great British academic debate traditions in their tone and verbiage.  In stark contrast, two of the women were shrill, conclusory, accusatory, and personified everything that the left has wrought.  Not to be sexist about it (or more, accurately not to give damn if called “sexist”)  but lefty women seem to “marry” their politics and live inside the relationship such that disagreement is personal and debate is impossible.  It is an unpleasant and rather classless way to be.

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I enjoyed the Shapiro clip. Most of the questions were good. I noticed a difference in the manner of male and female questioners. Most of the men seemed to have been influenced by the great British academic debate traditions in their tone and verbiage. In stark contrast, two of the women were shrill, conclusory, accusatory, and personified everything that the left has wrought. Not to be sexist about it (or more, accurately not to give damn if called “sexist”) but lefty women seem to “marry” their politics and live inside the relationship such that disagreement is personal and debate is impossible. It is an unpleasant and rather classless way to be.

    Yes, I think that’s pretty accurate.  It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, and one I tend to think is fairly recent.  Say what you will about old-style feminists (and someone probably will), the likes of Paglia and Steinem were capable of having a reasoned debate without hyperventilating ( if I’d been in the House chamber with Cori Bush, I like to think I’d have handed her a paper bag and told her to breathe into it before she damaged herself), shrieking, or weeping at their own eloquence and the miserable and affecting pictures they conjure out of nowhere and into the ether.  Unlike these modern-day loons, sometimes the old-timers said things that were even cogent, interesting, and instructive.  And at about the same time, we on the Right had the unflappable Phyllis Schlafly.  Somewhere down the road a bit, things went sideways.

    I was quite surprised how well Ben Shapiro was received at Cambridge. (I wonder if it has something to do with his age).  His voice and delivery tempo annoy me, but he’s been very solid on current events lately.

     

    • #15
  16. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    She (View Comment):
    Yes, I think that’s pretty accurate.  It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, and one I tend to think is fairly recent.  Say what you will about old-style feminists (and someone probably will), the likes of Paglia and Steinem were capable of having a reasoned debate without hyperventilating ( if I’d been in the House chamber with Cori Bush, I like to think I’d have handed her a paper bag and told her to breathe into it before she damaged herself), shrieking, or weeping at their own eloquence and the miserable and affecting pictures they conjure out of nowhere and into the ether.  Unlike these modern-day loons, sometimes the old-timers said things that were even cogent, interesting, and instructive.  And at about the same time, we on the Right had the unflappable Phyllis Schlafly.  Somewhere down the road a bit, things went sideways.

    A long time ago, I was a high school debater in a Virginia private school.  We did tournaments all over the state.  I was drilled by my coach never to get nasty with female opponents. Male down-state Virginia debate judges, most born well before WWII would not tolerate that (and they were not too fond of alpha-bitch pushy females either).  Once under cross one such adversary angrily stated that a figure I had used was 10% lower than the true figure (an utterly meaningless statistical difference and she clearly wanted to indulge in some tiresome 3X5 card cite battle) and asked if I knew that.  I looked at the judges, turned and said”If that is indeed so, then I stand corrected, Miss N.” delivered with a polite smile.   My coach chuckled and later said the debate was already over when she kept frothing.  Some other young women we encountered who had personality, wit and a confident feminity were more formidable.

    I served as a judge for mock college student debates hosted by conservative groups and the hardest thing to explain–especially to very sharp young women–was that even if it is great fun to verbally gut an opponent, never forget that the whole event is an opportunity to invite the audience to your side, even the opponent.  How do you gently, politely, get a friend to understand that he has made a mistake?  Will your audience go home and read about your views or think they need to find more ammo for their side after being humbled?  It is not enough to win, it has to be done as if it were natural, inevitable, obvious and welcoming.  Error is to be pitied not condemned.

     

    • #16
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