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September 23, 2015


Dave Timoney

I can't help thinking that if the Piers Gaveston Society really wanted to set a "high cost of joining" they would have used the head of something a little more expensive than a pig (which you can usually get from a butcher for under a tenner), such as an illegally poached royal swan or Cecil the lion.

In this post-American Pie era, a dead pig's head (cooked or raw) barely counts as transgressive. Perhaps we've missed the obvious. Given the social background of the members, and the society's fogeyish roots (it was founded in 1977), perhaps this was a perverted re-enactment of a Wodehouse story featuring the Empress of Blandings.

PS: In #2 above, I think you meant "buyers" in the 2nd sentence.

Deviation From The Mean

"This was established experimentally by Elliot Aronson and Judson Mills way back in 1958."

No it wasn't. Experiments like this never ever in a month of Sundays, even when the sun is shining, establish anything.

Being at a university already carries a 'high vaue'. You don't need to fuck a pig to prove this. It is an established social fact.


I remember a female lecturer telling us 9all the students) that while at Oxford University was raped and this practice was widespread at Oxford. She reported it and was told 'boys will be boys'

Does gang-rape or rape in general fall under the same category as you describe in the article?


Reading the casualty list, I can't help but think this may be natural selection acting on "the bourgeoisie and intelligentsia who, with whatever faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of human advancement".


" It might also explain why people remain in religions, political parties and indifferent relationships - because they have invested time and effort in them. "

Or continue to support Arsenal.

Sorry, couldn't resist.


«Some initiation ceremonies can be a little unusual. [ .. ] Such rituals are common: we see them among army recruits, football teams, primitive tribes and university students. This very ubiquity suggests that they serve a useful purpose. [ ... ] rationalize a humiliating initiation ceremony by persuading ourselves that the high cost of joining a society means that membership thereof being very valuable.»

There is a much better explanation for several such actions: because if they are illegal, embarrassing or even criminal they provide a shared guilt and potential blackmail among a group of people who are therefore less likely to betray each other.

Because when groups of people then engage in bad activities the problem is always that "there is no honour among thieves". But if the members of a group share in a nasty secret that damns them all then reciprocal betrayal is a lot less likely.

That's why gangs often require new members to commit a crime as they join, and why so often public school and Oxbridge students think that committing shameful or criminal group actions "transgressing the boundaries of licit behaviour", sexual or otherwise (as in e.g. the "antics" of the "bullers") is important to establish the trust of complicity among them.

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