If I ruled the world, I would get rid of chain e-mails altogether and devise a special form of torture for those who send them. The e-mails are rarely funny, usually vaguely sexist or racist, and insulting to one’s intelligence. Last week at work I received one that was especially tasteless. It contained a gif titled Saddam’s Cat which shows a cat batting at dangling legs. I was in a coworker’s office with several other people when she opened the e-mail. Laughs all around. A few hours later, someone sent around an e-mail with the video of Saddam’s hanging attached. A quick search showed that millions of people have logged into YouTube or Google and watched Saddam Hussein die. Have you?
We talk about the “sanctity” of things often on the Bloggernacle: life, the temple, imaginary gay marriage. What about death?
Respect for the dead transcends national and cultural boundaries. The desecration of a body is almost universally taboo, and the veneration of one is a part of many cultural traditions, including my own. At the same time, we’re all aware of how popular public executions were throughout history. In 1936, the last public execution in America was attended by 20,000 people. What is this morbid fascination that makes us slow down to see a car wreck, to devour newspapers with grisly headlines, to glue our eyes to the computer screen in the absence of a public square?
If you click here, you can watch a man die. Will you?