Saturday, December 30, 2006

I'm Surprised This Is Even An Issue

From Reuters:
Networks face quandary over Saddam execution

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the world awaited word of Saddam Hussein's fate, U.S. television news executives faced a quandary over whether to break a taboo against airing footage of executions should video of his hanging become available.

As of Friday evening, two major broadcast networks -- ABC and NBC -- as well as cable news outlets CNN and Fox News Channel -- said they would wait to see what images of Saddam's execution, if any, surface before deciding whether and how to use them.

All said they would break into regular programming with special coverage when they confirmed the former Iraqi leader was dead, although none contemplated any live pictures from the hanging.

CBS appeared to be the most reluctant of the networks to take the unprecedented step of broadcasting video footage of an execution on television in the United States, a country where 53 people were put to death in 2006 alone.
We're a bloodthirsty nation! Just look at our censorship codes: godforbid a woman's nipples be seen on network television, but when it comes to violence? Well, I'll let an expert speak to that:
Because ours is a puritanically-based society and we have problems with depictions of sex, we tend to eroticize violence.

For many people this creates an unfortunate, often even unconscious, link between sex and violence.
In the course of a year, the average person will see roughly 10,000 acts of violence and 2,000 simulated deaths. That's a LOT of sex.

To glorify and eroticise violence does no one any good, so I say, let's show what really happens when a man dies. Let's see him piss his pants, and his cock get erect. Let's see the stool slip down from his pantsleg, making a grimy greasy puddle on the floor, because you know what? In all the years I've watched violence on television, real and simulated, from hockey fights to bad soap operas, and in all the years I've fought and been fought with, I've never seen any TV program do justice to the horrors of violence (occasionally, a hockey broadcast will inadvertently linger over a bloody injury). I've yet to see a camera follow a victim of a beating, through the vomiting and dizziness, and the glazed look in his eye as he tries to find an escape from more violence, until he passes out, and then the sickening crunch of bone on flesh or worse, wood or metal on flesh.

Maybe it's time we as a society grew up a little and honestly dealt with how a person dies when the state kills him. How a man can lie on a gurney for 34 minutes while a "lethal injection" makes its way through his body, wracking him with pain that doesn't end.

Some would say "He deserved it," but many of those people are the same people who ducked out on fighting in war, who have never seen how a person dies. I can guarantee you that most of those folks would change their minds if they saw even one person die violently.

So let the American people see what they're substituting for sex. Maybe then, finally, we can put down our torches and axes and move forward and join civilization.

For another point of view on this, please read Lydia Cornell's article, "Death Is Sexier Than Sex (To Ann Coulter)"

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