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

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 6 14:27:55 UTC 2009

Voltaire famously expressed a related sentiment in _Candide_: "Dans ce
pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les
"In this country [England], it's a good idea to execute an admiral from time
to time - to encourage the others."

Voltaire was referring to the execution in 1757 of Adm. John Byng, not for
cowardice but  for failing to disobey [sic] an order during the Battle of
Minorca. Though most of the nation sided with Byng, and even the House of
Commons recommended clemency,  George II refused to commute the sentence.

IIRC, Gen. Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) uses Voltaire's phrase "to encourage
the others" in justifying the executions that are the climax
of Kubrick's _Paths of Glory_ (1957).


On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 1:58 AM, Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      floggings will continue until morale improves (1988) firing
>              (1977) no liberty (1966)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wikipedia has an entry for the mordant phrase "The beatings will
> continue until morale improves".
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
> http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wKoOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IYEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4911,7453596&dq=floggings-will-continue&hl=en
> 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.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=Rf8C-KoKFTwC&q=firing#search_anchor
> 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 * * *
> http://books.google.com/books?id=tg8xIiEfFL0C&q=morale+improves#v=snippet&q=morale%20improves&f=false
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list