The English, those sometimes politely arrogant bastards who invented the language, often take great delight in calling things whatever they damn well please, and logic, be hanged! For example, in England a “Public School” is in fact an exclusive, obscenely expensive, private school where the Ruling Classes send their male offspring.
Public school is where young aristocrats are groomed to take the reins of power from Pater and (to a lesser extent, unless she happens to be the Queen) Mater ‘s cold, dead hands. Here, they receive a Classical education, learning and perfecting homosexuality (Greek) and practicing totalitarian rule over the masses (Latin). At the famed public school Eton, the slang for a 6th form boy is “God”.
And almost all public schools have some variation of a system whereby the youngest boys are basically enslaved to serve the older boys, who are also often called prefects. Each young boy is allocated a particular 6th form boy to serve. They do things like, polish their shoes, make their beds, brew their tea, toast their crumpets, rub linseed oil into their cricket bats, iron their cricket flannels, run into town to buy them illicit cigarettes, do their homework assignments, that sort of thing.
These young, boy-servants are usually called “fags”. The fag system is one of the many ways that Public Schools practice the business of maintaining the status quo, the class structure.
And so to former Eton public schoolboy, internationally-renowned jazz trumpeter (and therefore, class traitor) Humphrey Lyttleton, who subsequently compounded his infamous career choice by later becoming the much-loved chairman of BBC Radio’s hilarious game show “I’m Sorry I haven’t A Clue”.
In one episode of the show, he relates how he once told an interviewer, on coast-to-coast US TV, that at Eton he was Lord Carrington’s fag. And that Liberace was on the phone before Humph had left the studio!
Fag (fæɡ) —n
1. A boring or wearisome task: it's a fag having to walk all that way
2. (Brit)Aa young public school boy who performs menial chores for an older boy or prefect
3. To become or cause to become exhausted by hard toil or work
4. (Brit) To do or cause to do menial chores in a public school: Brown fags for Lee.
He [the prefect] used to fag me to blow the chapel organ for him. ["Boy's Own Paper," 1889]
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