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Oscars: Colin Firth's keys to discipline

Firth rush 
During a recent interview together, Colin Firth was telling his “King’s Speech” co-star Geoffrey Rush about the time when he was 5 and a teacher slapped him “very hard across the face” for innocently using the word “bugger.”

The story reminded Rush of seeing English actor Stephen Fry perform a one-man show recently in Australia.

“At one point, he asked, ‘Who’s under 40?’ And two-thirds of the audience raised their hands,” Rush remembers. “And he said, ‘You’re the first generation in the history of the planet who has not been beaten.’ And I went, ‘Wow. That’s absolutely true.’ Because anyone older than that has probably been on the receiving end of someone waving a cane.”

“Oh, I was beaten with all sorts of objects,” Firth relates. “I went to school for a year in St. Louis. Missouri is an absolutely heavenly state to visit, but it was also the only state to allow corporal punishment in schools in 1972. In England, we had the cane and the ruler. In Missouri, they had the paddle, a fiberglass model with holes. It hurt.”

Firth also remembers one teacher who had his own creative ideas when it came to discipline.

“If he didn’t like what you were doing, he’d hurl his car keys straight at you,” Firth says. “Expert aim. We actually thought he was cool because he aimed so well. He’d be standing with his back to you and he’d hear you whisper and he’d be around in a second, whizzing them straight at the side of your head.”

“What’s funny,” Firth adds, “is that, at the time, you would never think that’s abusive. Now, you still can’t say ‘bugger’ in England, but I seriously doubt anyone is throwing their car keys in Missouri at the present time.”

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-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times 

Comments () | Archives (4)

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Ah, good story about the dark ages of school "discipline," when it was legalized beatings, as described by by Colin. But he has his facts wrong -- it is till being done today in Missouri, where corporal punishment was inflicted on over 5,000 students, kindergarten through 12th grade, in the year 2006, the most recent year for which we have data. And it is legal in an additional 19 states, too! Every other developed country has rid itself of this model of violence, except the U.S. We need federal legislation to make our education system more civilized. See www.stophitting.org for more info.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights must wake up to the fact that Schoolchildren are the only group of people legally subjected to corporal/physical pain as punishment. Any person hitting another person or animal with a wooden board in public would be arrested for assault. Recent shocking incidents include a 12-year old girl bleeding and bruised after being paddled by a male school administrator in Ark., Two 17-year old girls paddled by a male TX school administrator, an IN elementary school principal on video aired on CNN assaulting an 8-year old boy on a school bus, a video of a MS coach whipping a high school basketball player aired on CNN 11/11/2010 and a 12-year old AL boy beaten for failing a science test! Parents are unable to bring charges as teachers/school employees are protected by "Teacher Immunity Laws" from criminal/c­ivil action. The Medical Community is Opposed to school paddling based on research that it is harmful. Unfortunately, American schoolchildren's human/constitutional/civil rights continue to be politicized by our supposed elected "representatives" who remain indifferent to the numerous costly societal ills that we all must bear from harm caused by this barbaric practice in our tax-payer funded schools. Even our nation's Federal Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court uphold beatings of schoolchildren and decline to hear school corporal punishment appeals as the laws allow it with no limits, no protocol, no accountability. Parents have no legal redress when their children are injured! In 21st Century American classrooms, corporal punishment is illegal in schools in 30 states, that's the majority of our nation, making corporal punishment qualify as "Cruel and Unusual Punishment".

"Missouri is an absolutely heavenly state to visit, but it was also the only state to allow corporal punishment in schools in 1972."

Absolute nonsense. In 1972, all US states bar one allowed corporal punishment in schools. 21 of them still do now in 2011.

There is a covert Jane Austen subtext to The King's Speech that I think will be delightful to fans of the 1996 A&E/BBC Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Here are the details:

http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/20...11/02/austenian-shadow-story-of-kings-speech.html

http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2011/0...2/ps-re-austenian-shadow-story-of-kings.html

Cheers, Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida



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