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Happy Birthday, tygercowboy!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

panopticon
The name given by Bentham to a proposed form of prison of circular shape having cells built round and fully exposed towards a central "well," whence the warders could at all times observe the prisoners. The penitentiary Millbank [in] London was originally constructed according to Bentham's plan.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909


Death of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832),
eccentric English philosopher and writer on ethics and jurisprudence, who wrote, "The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law." At his request, he was dissected in the presence of his friends, and his skeleton padded out and dressed in a suit of his clothes -- still to be seen at University College, London. The skeleton, which was completed with a wax rendering of Bentham's head, holds his walking stick and is seated in his chair. This reconstruction, which Bentham called an "auto icon," was done to allow him to "attend" occasional meetings with friends and colleagues. In 1791, Bentham explained his prison design: "In a panopticon prison ... there ought not to be a single foot square, on which man or boy shall be able to plant himself ... under any assurance of not being observed."

Hence the irony of the government chambers on Gallifrey...

-The Gneech

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
kylet
Jun. 6th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Panopticons! Merge to form ALCATRAZUS...
the_gneech
Jun. 6th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
*veep vop voorp voop*

-TG
tygercowboy
Jun. 6th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
You silly cat :) Thanks huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugs
klepsydra
Jun. 6th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
University College London is my alma mater! I used to walk past Jeremy Bentham in his glass case on my way to class every day. Amazing how quickly one got used to him sitting there, as part of the scenery....
megadog
Jun. 6th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
It's alleged that the stuffed Jeremy Bentham 'attended' several meetings where he was minuted as being "Present (not voting)".
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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