floggings will continue until morale improves (1988) firing (1977) no liberty (1966)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 6 06:58:17 UTC 2009

Wikipedia has an entry for the mordant phrase "The beatings will
continue until morale improves".


Searching for similar phrases I have found that the punishment varies.
Flogging, whipping, beating, and even hanging appear as variations in
the saying. Less physically severe sanctions include firing and no
liberty for naval personnel.

Wikipedia presents an origin story involving the Japanese Imperial
Navy during World War II, but I have not found any evidence for it.
The oldest citations that I have found for three versions of the quote
are all relatively recent. Perhaps others can do better.

Citation: 1988 June 30, The Prescott Courier, page 1B, Prescott, Arizona.

"The floggings will continue until morale improves," said a sign
posted outside the Senate minority caucus room.


Citation: 1977, Quote Unquote by Lloyd Cory, page 214, Victor Books.
(Caveat: snippet view)

(Sign in a boss' office): Firing will continue until morale improves.


Citation: 1966, Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations by Robert
Debs Heinl Jr., page 197, Naval Institute Press.

There will be no liberty on board this ship until morale improves.
      Excerpt from Plan of the Day,
      USS * * *



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list