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Schmiss and make up
February 22, 2007 3:37 PM   Subscribe

A modern eyewitness account of secretive ritualized duelling known as "academic fencing". Its stylized format has changed little since Mark Twain observed it. Despite dubious legality it is alive and well in German universities. The raison d'être of this swordplay is the creation of a schmiss or duelling scar. These scars are considered by the bearers as a mark of courage and nobility, and by outsiders as an indication of semi-latent Nazi tendencies. In March a medical conference is beng held for the first time in Freiburg, for doctors who tend to duelling injuries.
posted by roofus (73 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting. And, what's the deal with all the Nazis on metafilter lately?
posted by serazin at 3:44 PM on February 22, 2007


Swing and a schmiss!

Nutty stuff, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:58 PM on February 22, 2007


[first reply ever!]

Christophe Amberger actually writes about the Fechtschule over history. Here's an EJMAS link and another interesting article on the effect of "real time conditions" on duelling techniques.

He has his own website up (along with a book) but appears to not have renewed his domain name.
posted by ntartifex at 4:11 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So they duel just for the sake of duelling and getting injured? That's a bit embarrassing, ain't it? When I duel, I do it for a reason -- to protect the virtue of a woman, say. And if it lands me a fine job shifting a herd, well, that's all the better.
posted by chrismear at 4:14 PM on February 22, 2007


You know who else was a Nazi?
posted by found missing at 4:15 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


And, what's the deal with all the Nazis on metafilter lately?

Hee. I just realized that this FPP auto-Godwinized.
posted by ntartifex at 4:17 PM on February 22, 2007


Is this the dueling style where they hold the swords above their heads the whole time and just wail on each other really fast until someone gets cut? Because I swear I saw something about this years ago (somewhere on teh intarwebs) and it looked totally wacky and awesome.

Scars are cool, too.
posted by daq at 4:22 PM on February 22, 2007


This Hitler, it vibrates?
posted by basicchannel at 4:23 PM on February 22, 2007


So they duel just for the sake of duelling and getting injured?

Sounds more like fencing matches with minimal protection to me, but maybe my definition of "duel" is too narrow.
posted by dilettante at 4:25 PM on February 22, 2007


It's the Tolstoy principle at work. All unhealthy people are differently unhealthy
posted by roll truck roll at 4:31 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this the dueling style where they hold the swords above their heads the whole time and just wail on each other really fast until someone gets cut?

Indeed.

While it is a hobby that I doubt that my HMO would support, I find it fascinating in that it does something like the Dog Brothers, taking the now-stylized fencing back to something akin to the threatening situations it used to be. I know that one of my personal weaknesses in fencing was relying to heavily on the attack without thinking too much about not getting touched.
posted by ntartifex at 4:35 PM on February 22, 2007


So, Why would anybody think they are Nazis if Hitler banned deulling club for their failure to expel jews?
posted by Megafly at 4:37 PM on February 22, 2007


I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that Freiburg is a really, really pretty town. They've got these small channels of water that flow along just about every street and lead to the river. Legend says if you step in one, you'll marry a girl from Freiburg.

This has nothing at all to do with dueling scars, however.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:42 PM on February 22, 2007


Photographs of the black steel goggles and neck bandages worn by the duelists (from the FT author's website).
posted by ericb at 4:44 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those Germans! Always doing something wacky!
posted by mrnutty at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2007


chrismear : I duel, I do it for a reason -- to protect the virtue of a woman, say.

Hell, I'll kill a man in a fair fight, or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight, or if he bothers me, or if there's a woman, or if I'm gettin paid. Mostly only when I'm gettin paid.
-- Jayne Cobb, Serenity

And ericb, if I saw someone wearing those goggles, I would have this irrational urge to carve up their face as well. I guess they are working.
posted by quin at 5:00 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting article. Thanks much.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 5:07 PM on February 22, 2007


what a bunch of cut-ups ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:11 PM on February 22, 2007


The corps say that they are maligned and insist that they are politically neutral, merely clinging to an all-male sense of camaraderie and tradition i

Uhm sounds much like a roomful of faggots (no, not the same as homos)
posted by elpapacito at 5:14 PM on February 22, 2007


I simply wish to take a moment of your time to publicly compliment fellow mefite roofus on the informative elegance of his FPP text.

Carry on.
posted by sidereal at 5:17 PM on February 22, 2007


This sort of duelling figures prominently in the second Flashman novel, Royal Flash.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 PM on February 22, 2007


Thanks for the post. This chapter of Twain's Tramps Abroad always fascinated me. Interesting to know that it's still around.
posted by lekvar at 5:32 PM on February 22, 2007


I simply wish to take a moment of your time to publicly compliment fellow mefite roofus on the informative elegance of his FPP text.

Yes indeed, it's exemplary. Although technically it should be Schmiss, mit a kapital S, or even Schmiß. In case anyone's interested, Schmiß is from the verb schmeißen 'to throw, chuck, sling'; also, musicians used to say "Es hat Schmiss!" for "It swings!" I don't think they do any more, though.

Duellists wear steel goggles modelled on 200-year-old designs. Round the neck, guarding the carotid artery, is a think cotton bandage."

Bah. In my day we just let the carotid artery take its chances, and catchers didn't wear face masks either.
posted by languagehat at 5:33 PM on February 22, 2007


You had arteries? In my day all we had were veins, and we were grateful.
posted by sidereal at 5:40 PM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Lovely post.

Why would anybody think they are Nazis

It's the most recent militarist tradition in Germany. The generation that would remember Bismarck is long dead.
posted by goetter at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2007


I suspect this tradition of ritual, fraternal scarring has much in common with the practice of branding in black fraternities.

They both draw on historical traditions (though slavery is a far cry from Nazism) and the notions of withstanding pain and collecting the scars to prove it are similar.
posted by aladfar at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, Why would anybody think they are Nazis if Hitler banned deulling club for their failure to expel jews?
posted by Megafly


Well, one influence might be all those movies about World War II where the nasty guys all see to have dueling scars. Though when I think about it, I think it was the general staff types, not the Nazis. So, basically, I don't know what I'm talking about.
posted by etaoin at 5:45 PM on February 22, 2007


Freiburg is lovely, although the McDonalds by the old town gates is a bit jarring. I am afraid I did not marry a Freiburg girl despite getting my feet wet.

Later, I had an elderly German professor who spoke nostalgically of old student days and had some odd marks on his cheek. He treated this liberal Jewbag with elaborate courtesy and we studied Natan der Weise.

Those injuries are mostly slashing because the traditional swords are not stabbing weapons - more akin to sabres than rapiers, I think.

The Wikipedia page on German academic fencing seems quite interesting and link-rich.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:47 PM on February 22, 2007


I break with thee...
/martin/
posted by Balisong at 6:07 PM on February 22, 2007


or even Schmiß

the /i/ is short, so no "ß"
posted by snownoid at 6:13 PM on February 22, 2007


The German adjective "schmissig" is derived from "schmiss" and has once been a popular vocable in German personal ads. The word hints at a German version of the concept of "charme" that is closer to "snappiness" then to "charme". The word faded away after the end of WWII leaving lonely women looking for "charming" (in German: charmante) men.
posted by phuture-4000 at 6:13 PM on February 22, 2007


the /i/ is short, so no "ß"

My German dictionaries have Schmiß, genitive Schmisses, but I think there have been a couple of New Orthographies since I bought them.
posted by languagehat at 6:19 PM on February 22, 2007


Take it outside, the two of you.
posted by chrismear at 6:20 PM on February 22, 2007



You had arteries? In my day all we had were veins, and we were grateful.





Veins? Veins?

You. Were. Lucky.

When I were a lad, we all clubbed together to buy blood. And no blood on t'weekends, when me Old Uncle Rory needed it. I used to count each of my 6 capillaries as they filled with t' precious, sweet fluid. I remember, when I was 10, me ol' dad (bless his peaked cap) gave me the family heirloom, the great capilliary of the Jonses from Fristlethorpe on Styx. I treasured that capilliary, stroked it gently, admired its symmetrical axis and smooth, sanguinary walls. Then one day, Johnny Frasslethwaite from school saw me looking at its glistening tubular form, and with an act of petty jealousy that could only come from a Lancashireman, cruelly snatched it from me 'and and fed it to the school goose. I cried for weeks.

Kids today. Theyve got it made.
posted by lalochezia at 6:29 PM on February 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


It's the most recent militarist tradition in Germany. The generation that would remember Bismarck is long dead.
so, your dead then?
posted by mikoroshi at 6:30 PM on February 22, 2007


The set-up of the fight is so strange, with aides-de-camp on either sides of the combatants; and no movement except for the slashing of swords.
posted by webcruncher at 6:33 PM on February 22, 2007


how cute - first post
posted by caddis at 6:33 PM on February 22, 2007


It really is a fine post, first or not. Did you really wait this long just to get a great post to pop your posting cherrry?
posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on February 22, 2007


Take it outside, the two of you.

En Garde!
posted by ericb at 6:39 PM on February 22, 2007


So this Hitler... es hat schmiß?
posted by duende at 6:40 PM on February 22, 2007


Interesting FT article. I was very surprised by this:

With the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933, Adolf Hitler perceived the unswerving loyalty among corps brothers as a threat. They refused to split with their Jewish members, saying corps membership was for life and that fealty among "brothers" was unbreakable. So Hitler banned them.

Pretty much the opposite of my preconception of how these fit into recent German history. Not that they can't be bastions of traditional right wingers, but they do seem to have a genuine sense of loyalty to one another that transcends loyalty to the state and party.

Nice post - good job.
posted by mosk at 6:54 PM on February 22, 2007


Absolutely fascinating. I can't get enough and want to know more, specifically about their training regime. For instance if you're not allowed to dodge or flinch during a mensur, what sort of practice do you do to get used to a blade flying at your face to kill the reflex?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:13 PM on February 22, 2007


I endorse this activity.
posted by tkchrist at 7:49 PM on February 22, 2007


From the National Geographic ChannelScarification: Ancient Body Art Leaving New Marks:
Joseph Campbell noted in his book Primitive Mythology: The Masks of God that throughout the world, the rituals of transformation from infancy to manhood are often excruciating ordeals. Many are deeply sacred rites.

"A tattoo is painful and bloody," said Vince Hemingson, a writer and filmmaker who has studied body-modification practices worldwide. "In almost all hunting and gathering cultures, shedding of blood summons the gods—and good and evil spirits."
...
There are several reasons for the growing popularity of scarification. Pitts feels that it's partly spurred by a nostalgia for a different type of society.

"Industrial consumerist cultures are becoming more interested in what they might call primitive societies," she said. "That's not wholly new—it's a fascination thats centuries old." The romantic idea of the exotic ethnic dates back to colonial times, she said.

"Someone stuck in L.A. traffic, wearing a tribal tattoo, has a cultural nostalgia for something we imagine we've lost," Pitts said. "The problem is that we're taking it upon ourselves to represent a whole range of indigenous cultures in ways that they may not agree with—or may violate sacred spiritual ritual."
Seems more like ritual hazing. The pride of young men, no matter the color (or depth) of their skin, knows no bounds apart from self-destruction.
posted by cenoxo at 8:04 PM on February 22, 2007


I've often thought we ought to bring back some sort of stylized dueling. There's a certain charm to it, it's consensual, and, if anything, it certainly beats the unsupervised bar fights and/or gun battles we currently end up with in these situations.
posted by vorfeed at 8:06 PM on February 22, 2007


First rule of duel club is....

Funny, I'd always thought of scars as a mistake to be learned from. Although there has always been recreational violence.

"When I were a lad, we all clubbed together to buy blood. And no blood on t'weekends"

You had blood?

When I was a child three hundred and fourteen of us used to share one plastic pigs' heart with "medical example" written on it to pump sluggish used antifreeze through one capillary and we were grateful, because if we generated any blood on our own the Devil would come up from Hell in a magnificent chariot and force us to duel Miyamoto Musashi, d'Artagnan, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Yoda and if we lost he would, stun us, hang us by our feet, insert enema bags in our anuses and shoot our rectums full of strychnine to exsanguinate us through disseminated intravascular coagulation.

But you try telling that to kids today...and they won't believe you.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:08 PM on February 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Smedleyman: you too??
posted by unSane at 8:26 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Interesting post. Congrats roofus. From Flickr, photographs about fraternity duelling and schmiss.
posted by nickyskye at 8:47 PM on February 22, 2007


ps, other types of ritualised scarring, scarification.
posted by nickyskye at 8:50 PM on February 22, 2007


Vasculature? Haemoglobin? Bah, we only had simple diffusion and we liked it!

This ritualized fencing seems really - odd - to me. Ok, I understand the concept of being able to take damage and survive, but to me, the point of dueling is about winning, not getting injured. Getting injured is incidental, and frankly, not something to be proud of. Having killed someone over a conviction, that would be commendable.

Reminds me of a crazy friend of mine in college who sat crosslegged across from another crazy person, abutted forearms, lit a cigarette, lay it in the valley between the two forearms, and each took turns taking a puff and putting it back.
posted by porpoise at 8:56 PM on February 22, 2007


Uhm sounds much like a roomful of faggots (no, not the same as homos)

Truer words...

You should see the sassy little schoolboy caps they wear on the town...
posted by geos at 9:08 PM on February 22, 2007


Ah, the Mensur scars that my grandfather used to have. I still have the pictures where he stands youthfully boisterous between two freshmen who have just been inaugurated and look more than a little dazed with the bandages on their faces.

There's a great description in Koestlers autobiography on the social rituals around schlagende Verbindungen. F.i. how they put on a kettle with boiling water with stitching yarn in it before a duell and how a fellow student of his got hit on the jaw and lost all his molars on one side.

Schlagende, besonders pflichtschlagende, Verbindungen betrachten die Mensur als wichtige Hilfe zur Persönlichkeitsbildung.
So it's a way to become a man. Not uncommon to have a scary ritual like that in old tribal societies.
posted by jouke at 9:24 PM on February 22, 2007


Having killed someone over a conviction, that would be commendable.

I think we have more than enough of that going around in the world. Ritualization of the violence to the point where it is minimized is a good thing.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:25 PM on February 22, 2007


b1tr0t - that's what I mean. If there's no cause to met out violence, why ever to artificially enact violence? Dueling as a convention is a one-on-one affair. No-one else is being (physically) harmed over the argument (unlike the plethora of what's going around in the world, although I'm aware that the dueling tradition can lead to family feuds where successive generations keep holding grudges and keep killing one another - for example, sectarian violence in Iraq).

Maybe it's that I don't understand ritualization of this kind. It smacks of wanting to imitating one's elders (challenging the leader, kinda thing) but the environment has changed where the old ways don't make sense/aren't needed.

For the record, I feel that 'trial by combat' can be an extremely flawed means of justice. In some very limited circumstances, though, it can be a means of settling disagreements that involves less harm than otherwise.
posted by porpoise at 9:40 PM on February 22, 2007


I read this post and thought it was metaphorical. I'm totally creeped out now.
posted by Miko at 9:49 PM on February 22, 2007


In rather ironic if not antitheticalways, it strangely parallels capoeira, but instead less musical and quaintly german, and yet needs not be less soulful. Haben die Jugen des Deuschlands weniger Seele als anderen?
posted by sarcasman at 9:59 PM on February 22, 2007


In some very limited circumstances, though, it can be a means of settling disagreements that involves less harm than otherwise.
Yeah, but... courts? Law? Ritualized violence is still about trying to hurt someone for getting in your way.

And in my day, if we wanted the devil to punish us, we had to build our own Miyamoto Musashi out of chipmunks and duel him with a sharpened forefinger.
posted by ormondsacker at 10:03 PM on February 22, 2007


...'trial by combat' can be an extremely flawed means of justice. In some very limited circumstances, though, it can be a means of settling disagreements that involves less harm than otherwise..

When we might be talking about millions of lives destroyed by industrialized warfare, we should consider how much justice the world can afford, and whether the lives of a few (see previous Survivor comment) are worth the lives of many.
posted by cenoxo at 10:17 PM on February 22, 2007


"it strangely parallels capoeira"

Speaking as a capoeirista, no more than any other ritualised combat. Unless you could expand on that analogy?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:29 PM on February 22, 2007


ormondsacker - Yeah, but... courts? Law? Ritualized violence is still about trying to hurt someone for getting in your way.

The situations I was hypothesizing were ones where formalized law tends not to have a good track record of. Besides, I'm against ritualized violence.

For example, malicious slander/libel. Or when people just don't respect law and the courts either because one/both parties either distrusts the disinterest (or special interests) of the law or if the law is actually corrupt. When these transgressions that the formal courts cannot meaningfully address occur, the outlet of dueling is better than, say. internecine warfare.

I suppose one could interpret my stance as pro-vigilante-insm, but a formal duel requires that there be seconds and, more importantly, witnesses who know the story behind the (usually) fatal clash. It's not utopic, but at least it's very sociologically under-flawed.
posted by porpoise at 10:59 PM on February 22, 2007


ormondsacker : Yeah, but... courts? Law? Ritualized violence is still about trying to hurt someone for getting in your way.

Agreed. But in a weird sort of way, I can't dismiss the concept of duels outright. I have no argument that it is not a form of ritualized violence, but unlike most examples of that, a proper duel (at least in the western-world sense) is not supposed to be against a unsuspecting opponent. Done properly duelist should first, take offense. Then issue a challenge, if that challenge is accepted, both parties have entered into an agreement that one of them will be harmed. A place is chosen, weapons are decided upon, and at a predetermined time, the duelists engage one another, settling a score with (hopefully) no collateral damage to onlookers and innocent bystanders.

Unfortunately most duels of times past were to the death, and that is their real flaw.

I really believe that the world would be a better place if when some takes offense at your actions, you could engage them directly and solve the hurt feelings right then and there.

Non-violent people (and those that have no martial skill,) would quickly become very diplomatic about finding ways to turn down duels, and the rest of the world would not have to suffer a war or two over an unexcused umbrage.

I guess I'm believing that if the people that 'lead us' were willing to put themselves on the line to take a lashing or a scarred face, maybe we wouldn't be involved in the pointless engagements that are killing good people today for no real reason.

Let the leaders of these fights duke it out. Winner takes all, and all that.
posted by quin at 11:14 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Miko writes 'I read this post and thought it was metaphorical. I'm totally creeped out now.'

Same here, Miko. Before I got past the second sentence of the post, I was imagining some form of flyting, or playing the dozens (in which I see you have an interest!).
posted by jack_mo at 2:35 AM on February 23, 2007


the drinking is even more ritualised than the dueling.
posted by kolophon at 3:28 AM on February 23, 2007


kolophon, those are some fine schmisses on display. Do you know anything more about the video? Are they prosthetic or are those actors actual duelists?
posted by roofus at 3:56 AM on February 23, 2007


Otto Skorzeny (the chap sporting that scar in the FPP picture) was a bit of a piece of work. Rumours abound that he was the lover of Eva Peron amongst other fantastic tales (such as being creator of the "ODESSA" network). At one point "the most dangerous man in Europe" for his special operations such as the rescue of Mussolini and also the threat to assassinate Eisenhower he was probably one of the more amazing characters of WWII. The fact that not once after the end of the war did he give the slightest hint of remorse for his actions as a member of the Nazi party makes him an amazing character who just happened to be a collossal shitheel. Either that or a pawn of western anti-communist intelligence agencies - rumours tie him to the CIA, MI6 and Mossad throughout his life after the war. Sadly the Wiki entry is light on detail but as a man for whom OPSEC was a way of life that's not too much of a surprise.
posted by longbaugh at 3:57 AM on February 23, 2007


Haha, kolophon, I remember some of that ritualised drinking from my student days.
I'm not at liberty to talk about it of course.
posted by jouke at 4:13 AM on February 23, 2007


Otto Skorzeny, hell yeah! He's like a character in a Trevanian novel.
posted by breezeway at 4:44 AM on February 23, 2007


Those injuries are mostly slashing because the traditional swords are not stabbing weapons

And they call themselves traditionalists.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:38 AM on February 23, 2007


languagehat: Yes indeed, it's exemplary. Although technically it should be Schmiss, mit a kapital S, or even Schmiß. In case anyone's interested, Schmiß is from the verb schmeißen 'to throw, chuck, sling'; also, musicians used to say "Es hat Schmiss!" for "It swings!"

It's obviously also related to smite, smote, smitten and smut. Possibly also smash and smithereens.
posted by sour cream at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hah. When I studied in Germany, I frequented two half-Spanish, half-German (the half-German bit is important, more to it later) guys who were also members of a duelling fraternity. I visited them often there, and gained quite an insight of it, even if I always weaseled my way out of witnessing a "Mensur" (It was not so much the gore that put me off, but the deep intoxication. And projectile vomiting. These guys could have given Delta House quite a run for their money.)

It's a pity that the first link is so uninformative about the history, structure and politics of the "schlagende Verbindungen" (duelling fraternities), and that the little they tell about them is lifted directly out of their talking points. I heard the bit about Karl Marx and being "banned" by the Nazis quite a few times...

Now, there are several types of German student fraternities ("Verbindungen"): the duelling ones, which include Corps and Burschenschaften, and the non-duelling Christian or Catholic "Verbindungen", created in the late XIX century by the Protestant and Catholic churches, which didn't much like the duelling, or, in the case of the Catholic church, the politics of the duelling "Verbindungen". Because they were (and still are) political. Oh yes.

Since these are institutions going back to the time when higher education was the preserve of the (very) few, nearly all "Verbindungen", duelling or not, are quite conservative. But this conservatism comes in very particular flavours, related to their complex history and that of Germany.

The first fraternities were the Corps, going back nearly to the Middle Ages. They were quite bound to their home region, aristocratic and (as their name indicates) quite military. But this was the time when Germany was divided in a gazillion small principalties, so they spent their time mostly fighting each other.

After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, the German learned classes were imbued with a strong nationalistic and liberal spirit. This gave rise to the "Burschenschaften", which seeked the end of the old aristocratic era and the unification of Germany. In 1817 they held a little party in the Wartburg castle, where they affirmed their commitment to a unified Germany, civil rights (they apparently invented the expression there), waved the black-red-gold flag that later became the flag of Republican Germany...and ended up burning a bunch of "reactionary" and "unpatriotic" books (uh-oh). They were also very active in the failed 1848 Revolution.

Duelling fraternities remained a strong force in German universities until the 1930s. But the "and then we were banned by the Nazis" is a little economical with the truth. Like good totalitarians, the first thing the Nazis did upon reaching power was to absorb all of civil society into their own organisations ("Gleichschaltung", that is, "equalisation"). Just as the Boy Scouts were absorbed into the Hitler Youth, so were all student organisations swallowed by the National Socialist Student Association. Some Verbindungen resisted (notably the Catholic ones), others...not so much. The Burschenschaften, where the nationalistic flame remained alive and well (better than the civil rights flame, anyway), had actually endorsed Hitler already in 1932, so I don't think their resistance was terribly strong. As for defending their Jewish members...actually, most Verbindungen didn't accept Jews in the first place, so it's a bit overblown as a motive for the ban (not entirely false, though).

Nowadays, duelling frats are generally regarded by the other students as a bunch of alcoholic, far-right whackjobs. And from my own experience, this is not entirely unaccurate. In their house, during the first Iraq War I witnessed a "Bursche" offering free drinks for each Scud missile to hit Israel. I leafed through a substantial stash of pan-German, far-right literature. Another visitor also told me of taking the wrong door and finding a room full of (very, very banned) Nazi-time flags. And this was a "tolerant" Burschenschaft that got no end of crap from other duelling fraternities for acepting "half-bloods".

All in all, the main thing that I can say about them is nevertheless that they weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. But then, you can't be if you are that hot for self-mutilation...
posted by Skeptic at 10:47 AM on February 23, 2007 [11 favorites]


I always thought Destro was just Otto Skorzeny in disguise.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:58 PM on February 23, 2007


“All in all, the main thing that I can say about them is nevertheless that they weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.“

Indeed, if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2007


And I thought student politicians were tedious arses.

A Mensur is also described in Jerome K Jerome's Three Men on the Bummel, the follow-up to Three Men in a Boat.
posted by athenian at 5:13 PM on February 23, 2007


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