v. to beat up a Congressman
(reference courtesy of Jeffrey Kacirk’s Forgotten English)
And Other Unfortunate Ways to Be Remembered
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
The historical parade of torture paraphernalia would seem to support novelist Joseph Conrad’s assertion that “Man is a cruel animal. His cruelty must be organized.” In eighteenth-century France, popular execution methods included the breaking wheel, burning at the stake, hanging, and beheading. The speed with which prisoners died usually depended on social status, with the well-to-do able to bribe executioners to sharpen their ax and the lower classes dying of strangulation at the end of a noose or suffering multiple whacks from a dull blade.