Not Pulling Your Weight

This is probably not the only New Year’s Day row in which only half of the crew did any work.

31 December 2018

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch gets historical.

We have all been in boats in which we have felt that some of the crew were not pulling their weight and were more like passengers. Here are some historical images showing that this is not a new phenomenon.

“The Exiles of Tiberius” by Félix Joseph Barrias shows a frieze of people banished by Tiberius, ruler of Rome from 14 to 37 BC. They deserved to be banished if they thought that this was the most efficient way of propelling a rowing boat.
Several centuries on from Tiberius, the Anglo-Saxons had done little to improve things. Presumably, they went around in circles a lot.
“Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze, a scene from the American Rebellion of 1776 (referred to by the rebels as the ‘War of Independence’). This seems to show that The President Who Could Not Tell A Lie had assembled a surprisingly shambolic boat, looking more like something to be expected from The President Who Cannot Tell The Truth (except more of the latter’s crew would have jumped ship).


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