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

Bill Palmer w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET
Tue Dec 8 01:53:03 UTC 2009


Wilson,

I heard Shimiya wasn't so bad, at least if it was anything like Adak... a
girl behind every tree, so they said.

Bill Palmer

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
To: <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: floggings will continue until morale improves (1988) firing
(1977) no liberty (1966)


> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: floggings will continue until morale improves (1988)
> firing
>              (1977) no liberty (1966)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> _RFM_ was the spoken abbreviation for The Great Random-Fuck Machine in
> The Sky, which saw to it that anything that you did, whether by chance
> or by plan, would simply become a snafu, totally beyond your control.
> (In fact, we didn't use "snafu." When something bad happened to
> someone, it was called "getting / taking the meat" and "eating /
> taking the green weenie," plus the usual terms brought in from Civvy
> Street.
>
> At graduation in December, 1960, Language School-grads received thirty
> days of leave and enough money to fly first-class to the ports of
> embarkation to their permanent duty stations. There were three
> openings at the Security Agency station at Shimiya (sp?)  in the
> Aleutian Islands. The POE for this post is San Francisco. Since
> Monterey is only "down the road a piece" from Frisco, there's a
> commuter flight - 13 bucks in 1960.
>
> The three GI's assigned to Shimiya all came from Boston, including two
> Harvard grads. They were given $13.00 for the commuter flight and
> thirty days of leave. Consequently, they had to fly from San Fran to
> Boston to party over the The Holidays and then fly back to Frisco to
> ship out, all at their own expense. Of course, in a class of more than
> 400, there were probably 25 guys who lived in California and maybe as
> many as ten who lived in San Francisco.
>
> So, how did it come about that the three guys picked for the Aleutians
> just happened to be the three guys who would be most hurt by being
> sent there - the Security Agency equivalent of Alcatraz, except with a
> dozen feet of snow and temperatures of 60 below zero? Like, anybody
> who was assigned to the Aleutians would already be taking the meat
> simply by being assigned there in the first place. Why pile it on by
> picking people from the East Coast?? Were they in the bottom of the
> class? Well-known fuck-ups? Simply generally disliked by higher
> headquarters?
>
> Nothing at all like that. As far as anyone could tell, it was just
> simple bad luck. The operation of the RFM at its best.
>
> For comparison: At the time, I lived on L.A., but my port of
> embarkation for West Germany was Fort Dix, NJ. So, I received $750.00
> in travel pay. But, it wasn't necessary for me to travel by air. I got
> a free ride to L.A. by car with other AngeleƱos. Partied back. Took
> the 'Hound to Saint Louis. Partied back. Took the 'Hound to Fort Dix.
> Hung around the barracks playing pinochle - the snow-bound Fort Dix
> equivalent of partying. Flew from the local AFB to Rhein-Main AFB in
> Frankfurt. Hit the local Strip-Tease bars, etc., still spending the
> dregs of the $750.00.
>
> An example of the "planned" operation of the RFM:. Everyone going to
> Germany was sent a telegram (is that word still in use?) stating the
> he would be flown there by the the Military Air-Transport Service.
> However, anyone who, for whatever reason, arrived at Dix without this
> telegram in his possession, was immediately re-assigned from the MATS
> to the Military *Sea* Transport Service, meaning that, instead of a
> relatively-relaxing, eight-hour flight above the weather, he was going
> to endure a tense, seasickness-inducing trip of at least eight days
> across the North Atlantic in January, in the hold of a troopship.
>
> As it happens, unless you're *big* brass, all summer return voyages
> are aboard troopships. Cruising the North Atlantic in *July* requires
> the use of a trench coat over a field jacket, as the ship takes the
> Great Circle route north of Scotland. I'd hate to ponder what it must
> have been like in January.
>
> -Wilson
>
> On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 3:26 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail
>> header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: floggings will continue until morale improves (1988)
>> firing
>>              (1977) no liberty (1966)
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> The "RFM"?  Am familiar with Fickle Finger of Fate and Green Weenie only.
>> Please advise.
>>
>> JL
>>
>> On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 2:52 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: floggings will continue until morale improves (1988)
>>> firing
>>>              (1977) no liberty (1966)
>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
>> ------
>>>
>>> These both remind me of the traditional claim that enlisted men who
>>> aren't always complaining are exhibiting the signs of low morale. In
>>> my day, we EM *were* always complaining, because the Army sucks, not
>>> to mention the working of the Great Random Fuck-Machine in The Sky
>>> (the RFM) that ensured that the Army would suck, even when it didn't
>>> intend to.
>>>
>>> As a consequence, I have no idea whether our morale would have been
>>> low, had the military been a swinging scene.
>>>
>>> -Wilson
>>>
>>> On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 9:27 AM, Jonathan Lighter
>>> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> > Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>> > Subject:      Re: floggings will continue until morale improves (1988)
>>> firing
>>> >              (1977) no liberty (1966)
>>> >
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
>> ------
>>> >
>>> > 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
>>> > autres."
>>> > "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
>>> > sentenc=
>> e.
>>> >
>>> > IIRC, Gen. Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) uses Voltaire's phrase "to
>>> > encoura=
>> ge
>>> > the others" in justifying the executions that are the climax
>>> > of Kubrick's _Paths of Glory_ (1957).
>>> >
>>> > JL
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > 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_impr=
>> oves
>>> >>
>>> >> 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=3DwKoOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3DIYEDAAAAIBAJ&p=
>> g=3D4911,7453596&dq=3Dfloggings-will-continue&hl=3Den
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> 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=3DRf8C-KoKFTwC&q=3Dfiring#search_anch=
>> or
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> 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=3Dtg8xIiEfFL0C&q=3Dmorale+improves#v=3Ds=
>> nippet&q=3Dmorale%20improves&f=3Dfalse
>>> >>
>>> >> Garson
>>> >>
>>> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> >>
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > "There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed
>>> > Platypus"
>>> >
>>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> >
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> -Wilson
>>> =96=96=96
>>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"=96=96a strange complaint
>>> t=
>> o
>>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>> =96Mark Twain
>>>
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --=20
>> "There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed
>> Platypus"
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> -Wilson
> ---
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"--a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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



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