Friday, May 20, 2005

Another apologist for sadism

Commenting on the allegations against David Benson-Pope, Dr John Langley repeats the myth that past actions are being judged by today's standards - and makes the stunning claim that sadism makes school more interesting:

When done in anger, things such as whacking someone on the head with a tennis ball could be assault.

When done in good humour, it will usually be seen by pupils for what it is - something that makes classrooms more lively and interesting.

Legally, this is dead wrong. "Assault" is not defined as "an attack in anger", but as the intentional application of force to another person. "Accident" is a defence; "good humour" is not. More importantly, in the days of corporal punishment, teachers were only permitted to apply force "by way of correction" - not for making the class "more lively and interesting". Langley, like Garth George, is nothing more than an apologist for sadism.


Yeah, but by those definitions of assault, every single game of Bullrush I ever played in at school had multiple assaults - Hell, we broke bones and dislocated joints, and this was primary school. Or tennisball tag, for that matter, it was painfully obvious that some threw intentionally hard to hurt, rather than just tag. How about all the teachers I saw who threw the duster or chalk in exasperation, and sometimes connected etc. Ie: Where do you stop?

(For instance, at my high school, we regularly got a whap of the ruler for doing anything stupid in the woodwork shop(ie: things that would have injured us or broken tools had we continued) and occasionally got it when we spoke out of turn or were too obviously smart. On the other hand, we were arsehole enough students that one of our teachers had a nervous breakdown in class and started hurling chairs and desks at the students.)

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 5/20/2005 08:17:00 PM

Yup. But that's what the law says. In practice, the police don't waste their time with technical assault unless someone complains about it - but we shouldn't be under any illusions that what Langley is praising is illegal (and, if done for entertainment, flat-out sadism).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/20/2005 08:35:00 PM

This is the guy who published the press-release attacking Bill English last year:

"Bill English is one of an increasingly desperate rearguard stuck on one track about NCEA while the rest of the world moves on. Now he would somehow like us all to think that what has happened in Cambridge High School is typical of what is going on all over the country, because of an apparent 'multitude of problems' NCEA has", says Dr Langley.

Langley's motivation might be more political than defense of sadism. Doesn't make it any better though.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur : 5/20/2005 08:36:00 PM

the government should enforce the law and if it can't enforce the law it should seriously consider abandoning it.
Frankly there ARE a lot of assults going on at schools sometimes during bull rush and if it would be unacceptable for adults to do it with police watching it should be unacceptable in a school yard.
In fact the crime to society is considerably greater in school yard than when it involves adults.

Posted by Genius : 5/20/2005 10:47:00 PM

I should also add that the behaviour which might see Benson-Pope prosecuted for assault isn't "whacking someone on the head with a tennis ball", but shoving one into someone's mouth, not to mention smacking someone in the face so hard their nose bled. And there's nothing "playful" or "humourous" about either - except possibly to a born bully.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/20/2005 11:27:00 PM

Why don't we just shut up about it and wait to see what the investigation finds? Egg might be on a number of faces.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/21/2005 12:43:00 AM

Anon: I'll shut up about it when people stop trying to excuse it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/21/2005 09:54:00 AM

Anon -

I'm quite happy to shut up about it and let the investigation play out, but how about B-P's supporters return the favour?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/21/2005 10:17:00 AM