Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kissing the hand

Should you kiss the hand that spanks? As an act of submission kissing the birchrod is a very powerful bit of symbolism in Victorian fiction, isn't it? Not sure what it's all about. Shakespeare uses it a couple of times in plays, but it's older than that. Presumably it's bound up with all that "don't bite the hand that feeds" stuff and seems to have quite a powerful hold over religious thinkers. I suppose the thinking was that the hand that feeds can also chastise.
Apparently the first in-print use of "don't bite the hand that feeds" was by the 18th Irish-born brainbox Edmund Burke - "having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them". But I would guess he was using a phrase that was in common usage. Didn't medieval lords have to kiss the monarch's ring?
For the spanko it probably makes sense to keep on the right side of your spanker. It's tough out their and you never know where your next "meal" is coming from, do you?

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting observation! I'll file that concept away for future use.