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Corporal punishment cartoons

Cartoons from newspapers, magazines and books using images of corporal punishment

Commentary by C. Farrell

Click the thumbnail in each case to see the full image, which will open in a new window.


Corpun file 21598a
Lucius Junius Brutus, 6th century BC

From Sir Iain Moncrieffe's Simple Custom (1954), this Don Pottinger cartoon shows the founder of the Roman Republic slippering one of his sons (I presume) on the bare bottom. The other youth, already punished, is clutching his sore buttocks. I am not sure how historically accurate this is.


Corpun file 16658
Can't you protest on the freeway through the proper channels?

This was in the Melbourne Sun in 1963, when two of Melbourne's top boys' schools, Scotch College and St Kevin's College, were objecting to a freeway (motorway) that would encroach on their land, proposed by the Board of Works. It implies -- quite probably correctly -- that at that time private boys' school headmasters could automatically be assumed to be wielding canes. (Thanks to Dean.)

FRANCE: Domestic CP

Corpun file 20995
Ah tu veux jouer au boche ... collaborateur

In the Second World War, a small boy spanks his (presumably) even younger sibling, accusing him of being a collaborator for having a Nazi flag.

INDIA: School CP

Corpun file 21867
"2 + 2 = 5"

This image of a schoolmarm giving two small boys a pants-down over-the-knee rulering for poor work appeared on the website of an Indian anti-CP campaign.

KENYA: School CP

Corpun file 21612
There's a new Discipline Master in town

This by Kham in The Standard (Nairobi) in Sep 2009 evidently refers to some current political event. School CP has theoretically been abolished in Kenya.

RUSSIA: Domestic CP

Corpun file 22751
Between the knees

This comes from an unknown source, and whether it is actually Russian or not (maybe not, in view of the English title of the book), I am told that this shows how parental beltings are typically done there.


Corpun file 23688
"I can't join the sit down strike"

From the Straits Times in July 1956. Social unrest among the ethnic Chinese was growing at the time, and Communist-inspired agitation against the local regime turned into serious riots later that year. Chinese-medium schools were a focal point of dissent. Here, the joke is that the boy cannot "sit down" in the sit-down strike at his school (note banners in Chinese in the background) because his mother has caned him on the backside.


Corpun file 21602
Psychology's all right if you're not in a hurry

Cartoonist Wilarke was a regular contributor to Punch. Here, in 1951, a harrassed mother spanks her small son in the park. Two passing ladies take a dim view of it. It is surprising to find an allusion to "community disapproval" of outdoors public spanking as long ago as that.

Corpun file 21664
I think I'd better demonstrate the quality of our leather slippers to you, my lad!

From a cartoon strip in a kid's comic, the rest of which is not available. Possibly 1960s. We seem to be in a shoeshop.


Corpun file 21919
If cuts is an award, then why don't you get a certificate?

In-joke from (I think) a publication for alumni of the naval training ship HMS Ganges. The situation depicted is supposed to evoke the 1950s or 1960s. A lad has received 12 "cuts" with the cane and is now trying to charge his comrades 2d each for a "shufti" (a look) at the weals criss-crossing his backside. The centre top bubble makes a joke about the Navy's archaic use of the term "award" to mean a sentence of punishment. HMS Ganges was famous for its severe canings, which carried on until 1967. For a more serious approach to this subject, see Corporal punishment in the Royal Navy.


Corpun file 23686
"Yes, Sir. Do you wish me at any particular angle, Sir?"

1921 cartoon by C.L. Stamp, probably from Punch.

Corpun file 23687
A Greek Tragedy.

Also probably from Punch, this is from 1871, by Bloobs. Another stereotype English schoolmaster. The boy has failed to construe his Ancient Greek, which all English public-school boys used to have to study. The message on the blackboard says "Ignorance has sinned".

Corpun file 21667
From "A New Riddle Book"

An illustrated rhyme from 1804 about the birch's ability, "when applied to the tail", to make a good schoolboy out of a bad one. It is interesting to find the euphemism "tail" being used at such an early date. I would have dated this item several decades later, but the British Library catalogue confirms that the book in question first appeared in the 1780s.

Corpun file 21598b

From a rather odd book, Simple Custom, by Sir Iain Moncreiffe (Nelson, 1954), with cartoons by Don Pottinger. This scene of a senior public-school boy enthusiastically caning a junior boy is supposed to illustrate that "The principles of conduct accumulated by Western civilisation came to be systematically applied to the moulding of character in schools, which taught self-control amid Spartan surroundings, remote from the affectionate protection of the home". The implication that any male of any significance is educated at a private boarding school is typical of the era.

Corpun file 21603
A Letter Home.

Early 20th century, possibly from the Boy's Own Paper. A boy writes home from boarding school. "I am at present suffering from a slight indisposition and am lying down. But I shall be sitting up again soon, so don't worry. Dr. Switchem knows all about it, and he has no anxiety on my account." The boy fails to tell his parents that the reason he is lying down (on his front) is that he has recently been in receipt of posterial punishment. We infer that Dr Switchem is the headmaster; note cushion placed on chair.

Corpun file 21395
I asked him where Swansea is, and he said 'Top of the Second Division'

A classic cane-wielding schoolmaster, in mortar-board and gown, prepares to go into action. The culprit is bending over ready for punishment. This actually appeared in the Straits Echo of Penang (in Malaya, as it was then) in 1956, but was presumably syndicated from Britain. The allusion is to football teams.

Corpun file 21396
Do you think Basher's got FA authority for these sanctions against dirty play?

Sports teacher "Basher" administers an over-the-knee spanking in the middle of a school football lesson. From the boys' haircuts, this must be around 1970. Foul play in professional football, and whether the FA (Football Association) can impose effective sanctions on players, has been a recurring topic over many years. Cartoon from Punch by J.W. Taylor, himself a schoolmaster.

Corpun file 21663
From "Skookum Skool"

As recently as the early 1970s, when this episode of "Skookum Skool" appeared in the short-lived Buzz comic, schoolmasters were still being shown wearing mortarboards and caning rows of schoolboys meekly bending over for punishment.


Corpun file 23290
Getting to the seat of the matter

An over-the-knee spanking from the Brevard Sentinel Star, Florida, c.1958. The words "$50 fine" and "False alarm" must relate to something that was topical there at the time.

Corpun file 20700
Speak up .. or you get a spanking!

Probably from Batman, possibly 1940s. Robin narrowly escapes an over-the-knee spanking.

Corpun file 21604
You could at least have started with "economic sanctions"!

Syndicated in a Belgian magazine in 1992, but actually this is by Marty Lowe of the Wall Street Journal.


Corpun file 15851
[No caption]

A Saturday Evening Post cover illustration from February 1920. The schoolboy, anticipating punishment for his lack of geographical knowledge, is stuffing a newspaper down the back of his shorts in readiness. The lady teacher is ready with her paddle.

Corpun file 21394
Born thirty years too soon

From 1940, but possibly set in an earlier period, this is from a once-famous syndicated series Out Our Way by "Cowboy cartoonist" J.R. Williams. It is interesting that it is with a cane (rather than a paddle) that the teacher proposes to "dust the boy's pockets".


Corpun file 21920

[No caption]

A Willie Rushton cartoon from Private Eye (London) shows Pope John-Paul II caning US President Bill Clinton, for reasons now lost to history. I think this must date from 1994 when the Michael Fay affair in Singapore was familiarising everyone in the world with the idea of bare-bottom caning.

blob Cartoons about CP itself, if linked to specific news items, appear in The Archive for the appropriate country and month. All are listed in the Picture index.

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Copyright C. Farrell 2009-2012
Page updated June 2012