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Thread: whipping boy

  1. #1
    mei Guest

    Default whipping boy

    Hi,

    I do not not quite understand the underlined sentences. Could anyone do me a favor?

    For most commentators, the testimony of reputed gangster leader and 'big-time gambler' Frank Costello signalled the highpoint of the coverage. Due to his angry refusal to allow his face to appear on screen, the cameras focused instead on his nervously twitching hands; in so doing, one of the most talked about television images to date was created. Many commentators were quick to observe that television had provided a revealing close-up of psychological tension that could only be described on radio. A Broadcasting magazine editorial published later that year declared that (this coverage of the hearings had promoted television in one big swoop from everybody's whipping boys - in the sports, amusement and even retail world- to benefactor, without reservations.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: whipping boy

    A whipping boy is somebody people enjoy beating up on (verbally, at least). It's a scapegoat.


    8)

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    Default Re: whipping boy

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    A whipping boy is somebody people enjoy beating up on (verbally, at least). It's a scapegoat.
    The expression "whipping boy" comes from the class system used in England, a few centuries ago. When a child of the privileged class committed an offence, punishable by a whipping, the elite classes decided that it "wouldn't be cricket" i.e. it was unacceptable to inflict physical punishment on a "high-ranking" child. To solve this dilemma, they rolled in a substitute child, of lower stock, who would receive the punishment in the stead of the original offender. I believe the "superbrat" was forced to watch the "whipping boy" receive the beating, as punishment.

    Iain

  4. #4
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    Default Re: whipping boy

    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    A whipping boy is somebody people enjoy beating up on (verbally, at least). It's a scapegoat.
    The expression "whipping boy" comes from the class system used in England, a few centuries ago. When a child of the privileged class committed an offence, punishable by a whipping, the elite classes decided that it "wouldn't be cricket" i.e. it was unacceptable to inflict physical punishment on a "high-ranking" child. To solve this dilemma, they rolled in a substitute child, of lower stock, who would receive the punishment in the stead of the original offender. I believe the "superbrat" was forced to watch the "whipping boy" receive the beating, as punishment.

    Iain
    That is an interesting explanation. It is, I believe, exactly right.

    :D

    8)

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: whipping boy

    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    A whipping boy is somebody people enjoy beating up on (verbally, at least). It's a scapegoat.
    The expression "whipping boy" comes from the class system used in England, a few centuries ago. When a child of the privileged class committed an offence, punishable by a whipping, the elite classes decided that it "wouldn't be cricket" i.e. it was unacceptable to inflict physical punishment on a "high-ranking" child. To solve this dilemma, they rolled in a substitute child, of lower stock, who would receive the punishment in the stead of the original offender. I believe the "superbrat" was forced to watch the "whipping boy" receive the beating, as punishment.

    Iain
    Some punishment! :mad:

  6. #6
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    We do have a lot to answer for, don't we!
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: whipping boy

    Supposedly, the royal child was so sensitive that watching the other boy being whipped caused him pain. Causing the other boy pain filled him with guilt. Or not.

    8)

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    Default Re: whipping boy

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Supposedly, the royal child was so sensitive that watching the other boy being whipped caused him pain. Causing the other boy pain filled him with guilt. Or not.

    8)
    Probably not- knowing our aristocrats, they probably enjoyed watching it. ;-(

  9. #9
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    I knew the phrase "whipping boy" from a novel written by Mark Twain, named "prince and pauper" . In it, Prince of Wales had a whipping boy whose function was substituting the prince to be punished when the prince did some mistakes.

  10. #10
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    I haven't read that novel. I loved A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur, though.

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