Corporal Punishment

Kitty Kins posted 11/30/03 05:58 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Something that has been bothering me for sometime is the book that Gary wrote about his father Bing after his death. I always felt it was in such bad taste and it seems that he said some very harsh things about his discipline practices when Gary was growing up. I was wondering what some of you who have been following Bing's career feel about the matter. I'd appreciate it if you explain your feelings on the matter. I'm not trying to offend anyone. It's just that I love Bing and his movies and it hurts me to hear bad things about him. He seemed to be a very nice fellow to me.
Jon O. posted 11/30/03 06:59 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Rest easy Kitty - by and large Bing WAS a "nice fellow". According to most people who knew and worked with him, what you saw was what you got. He was generous to a fault, both professionally and personally, but refused to take credit for his many acts of charity and generosity.

But he was also strict, and he did use corporal punishment on his sons from his first marriage - as did most parents on their kids, pre-Dr. Spock. And son Gary even admitted that the four unruly boys deserved most of what they got, and that Bing was strict because he (perhaps unrealistically) didn't want his kids to grow up spoiled Hollywood brats. Bing later expressed remorse at having raised his first family in that manner, and he seemed to raise his second family much differently. To be fair, when he was raising his first family Bing was the most popular person in the world, and as a result was seldom home, and I've read that a nanny was the one who doled out a lot of the punishment.

It's worth mentioning however that Bing's latest (and most comprehensive and thorough) biographer, Gary Giddins, conducted hours of interviews with Bing's eldest son Gary (who wrote "The Book"), and found that he - Gary Crosby - had been an alcoholic during the time that he wrote that slanderous book, and that he didn't remember most of the uglier incidents he had written about.
Carmela posted 11/30/03 07:43 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Gary's son said that his father had problems at the time he wrote the book[alcoholism]and exagerated a bit. Gary some time after he wrote the book became clean and sober and regretted writing a lot of the bad things he wrote. PlusBing's other children and a lot of Bing's friends came foward and said Gary's book wasn't accurate.
Jon O. posted 11/30/03 08:19 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Also, Bing's only surviving son from his first marriage, Phil, denies all of his brother Gary's claims, and recently described his dad as "the greatest father in the world".
Windy Ferguson posted 01/14/04 10:28 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I don't think Bing used corporal punish ment.
John Henri posted 01/15/04 10:57 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sorry Windy, but Bing admitted, with regret, that he did use corporal punishment, in his authorized biography "Bing" by Charles Thompson. Just remember, it was a much more common and accepted practice then, than it is now. I'm not of that generation, but my father used "the belt" (sparingly, I might add) on my brothers and me with the proper results.
Judy Schmid posted 01/15/04 12:22 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I believe he even mentioned it in "Call Me Lucky"...yes, my parents used 'the belt' now and again too...eight wild, unruly, stubborn kids in a small house pushed my parents (both of them) to using it a few times on each of us (girls AND boys)...but it was always followed with some kind of gesture that showed they didn't like punishing us in that way (we weren't big on hugging...but...)...

And as a parent with a VERY stubborn, intelligent, willful child, it's been tough using other forms of punishment - my kid gets a LOT of 'groundings' and privileges taken away...of course, now and I again I ask "now where's that belt?" and she laughs...slightly...
Brian Weber posted 01/19/04 09:03 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I know people who still in this day and age use belts on their kids. I worked with a woman at Boeing in the late 1980s who told me flat out she spanked her son with a belt as a last resort. My best friend, who is 31 years old, told me his mother used to spank them with a belt when they were kids. (And he adores her, by the way.) My parents had a wooden paddle that said, "Heat for the seat" on it. In the late sixties, my brother got sent to the principal for calling a teacher stupid, and whacked on the butt with a ruler.

So many people are so horrified at the thought these days, but spanking with an object was the norm prior to the 1970s, I'd say. Now it's called "beating." Now they get a "time out." Oh, but psychologists have found it's more effective than spanking. Uh-huh.

Has society improved since spanking became labeled as unacceptable? Are our children any happier or better behaved? I'd say not. Why do kids misbehave so badly in these days? BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT FRIGGING SCARED OF YOU!

If we went back to giving the school principal permission to whack the kids on their behinds when they misbehaved, we'd probably have less problems in our schools.

This rant from an otherwise liberal Democrat has been brought to you by Cascade Detergent.
Mike 2 posted 01/20/04 07:54 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Brian, the point you make was well illustrated for me in the 1962 William Wyler movie which was based on the Lillian Hellman play about two women teachers whose lives are ruined by allegations that they were secret lovers. Wyler considered the topic so touchy that he would not allow the word "lesbian" to be even mentioned throughout the movie. The theme, central to the film, was handled in the most oblique manner possible.

When I watched it on television some years ago, my attention was caught by a tiny incident which really had nothing to do with the main story. The young actress who had initially made those damaging and false allegations against the two teachers( played by Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine ) was behaving like a perfect brat. James Garner, playing the part of a doctor and boy friend of Audrey Hepburn, finally lost his patience and brought the flat of his hand smartly against the young girl's rear end with the result that she ran crying from the room.

I could not help wondering what a modern audience would have made of that little incident. I am quite certain that the contemporary audience would have been as unaware of it as they would have been of the billowing smoke clouds rising above their heads in the auditorium. Today, cigarette smoke and anything that even remotely hints at child abuse would be utter taboo. By contrast, not only would the theme of lesbianism be acceptable but explicit lesbian scenes would be almost mandatory if the movie were to make any showing at the box office.

Commentators, recently reviewing the assassination of President Kennedy and watching once more the motorcade as it made its way through the streets of Dallas on that fateful day, were heard to remark on just how modern the whole scene looked. Indeed, the vivid and carefully restored colour, gave the impression that it all could easily have happened last week.

What the camera could not capture, of course, was the immense change in social, cultural and ethical attitudes which has taken place within the intervening years.

Whether Bing transgressed acceptable disciplinary standards for that period is a separate question and one I am not qualified to answer. It would appear that there were mixed reactions even among his own children to that one, if I understand things correctly.
Bob posted 01/20/04 11:32 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Mike II, I just want to tell you that I find your posts a real treat to read. They are insightful, always have a lot of substance, and are written extremely well. Bob
Dutch posted 02/25/04 09:50 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It's interesting to hear my wife speak about how her father raised her and her siblings so differently from the way he is currently raising his two youngest children. My father-in-law is raising two teen age daughters despite the fact that he is now almost 70 years of age. Personally, my hat is off to him for undertaking a very difficult task at any age in the current culture in which we live. Anyway, I digress. It's evident that he raised his children quite differently than he is raising his "current" children. And I'm not speaking about spanking, specifically. Rather, he was much more strict "back then" and did not go out and easily buy things at the drop of a hat for his older children like he does for his younger ones, for example.

It seems as though each generation gets, how shall I say?, not quite as severe as the one before. Thus, it makes me wonder what future generations will be like in terms of what kind of punishment is meted out/accepted. For example, as discussed previously, spanking was formerly deemed acceptible punishment and now it is not. It just gets me to wonder if this "slippery-slope," so to speak continues, does that mean that what we deem as acceptible today will be deemed inappropriate down the road???? e.g., will even "yelling" be tolerated or "raising your voice" be deemed as child abuse???? It gets me wondering. My father used to whack me across the mouth when I got smart, I have to admit. Personally, I don't think that those whacks with the belt did damage to me other than to help me learn a lesson and not get into trouble again. I don't think that I was a particularly bad child growing up, but my parents disciplined me when I needed to be disciplined. And I agree, we shouldn't try to judge past generations or past history through "modern" ways of looking at things.
Henry Zecher posted 03/26/04 07:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
The modern attitude against spanking is atrocious, as is the condemnation of Bing for doing it. Controlled spanking -- not done in anger, done in a way that stings but does not injure -- is good. My sister and I were both spanked, not often, but effectively. As Gary Giddons said at the Crosby Centennial at Spokane last May, there is a difference between spanking and beating, and Bing spanked his children. That they deserved it often, none of them disputed. That Gary was the worst of the lot and got it the most, also no one disputed. This has been blown way out of proportion as the cause of their later deviancies, and it wasn't. Too many other factors figured in.

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