Monday, October 17, 2011

Beating The "Rule of Thumb" Again

I can't believe that books are still be published that repeat the false claim that "rule of thumb" refers to the thickness of a switch that a husband was allowed to use to beat his wife.  This book gives a very detailed, footnoted history of how this feminist claim became commonly believed.  Here is a 1987 ABA Journal article that is, of course, not footnoted, and contains this nonsense.

4 comments:

Alan said...

The Straight Dope addresses the myth.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2550/does-rule-of-thumb-refer-to-an-old-law-permitting-wife-beating

The work-safeness of the cartoon graphic is questionable - and typical for that site. I'd play it safe and click The Straight Dope only at home.

Paul Sand said...

Vice President Biden gave a speech at the University of New Hampshire back in April where he related the "rule of thumb" yarn. I imagine that he's been doing it for decades, and it's buried so deep in his brain that he can't stop. (Ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mud-pQ-NZWU at about the 20:30 mark)

Robin said...

Paul, you mean that the myth is so deeply engrained in Neil Kinnocks' mind ...

Steve said...

Hey, it's in the Boondock Saints. That's good enough for me!