The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Stiff upper lip, wot?

February 15th, 2015 · No Comments

“To a sensitive officer—and all good officers in this respect are sensitive—the psychology of the men makes itself felt in innumerable ways. He can afford to be blind to the feelings of his officers, for officers have to stand so much at the hands of their seniors before the rules of the service give them a chance to retaliate, that it takes a really bad Colonel to put his own mess in a bad way. As officer you have to jump to your C.O.’s orders, to applaud his sentiments, to smile at his lighter witticisms and to guffaw at those that are more gross. That is the Service. With the Other Ranks it is different. A discreet warrant-officer will discreetly applaud his officer’s eccentricities and good humours, as will a sergeant desirous of promotion; but the rank and file are under no such compulsion. As long as a man comes to attention when spoken to that is all that can be expected of him. He is under no obligation to understand his officer’s witticisms so he can still less be expected to laugh at or to repeat them with gusto. He need not even come very smartly to attention.” – Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up— (emphasis in original)

Tags: Ford Madox Ford · Lit & Crit · The Great War

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