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02/01/2007

Public executions brought back by YouTube culture

Video footage of Saddam Hussein's execution - official and unofficial versions - are everywhere on the web it seems.

According to various buzz charts and memetrackers either versions are the most linked to and blogged about videos on the web right now. If you're in the networks it's a hard thing to avoid today. 

It's a grim thing that social media has de facto resurrected the public execution for the 21st century on a global scale.

It occurs to me that a couple of years ago we would have called a video of someone being executed a snuff movie, something extremely taboo and illegal and widely reviled.

These videos are a darker aspect of the fact that content is extremely hard to suppress or control in this age of open networks of content creation and distribution. Perhaps you have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to such freedoms.

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Comments

Antony,

You pretty much summed up my views. I do think that the fact that more and more phones are now shipping with better and better video capabilities means that we will see this more often . . though perhaps without this level of historical interest. Various comments I have read say that the device was a phone and I guess you can imagine our 'correspondent' getting it into the room with little or no problem. That may not have been the case with a regular video camera. Perhaps at future events of sensitivity, we will all be asked to leave our phones outside rather than just turn them off. After all, they now have much more intrusive functions than irritating ring tones.

Hi Antony,

Happy new year first off, hope you are well.

The first thing I thought when I saw the Saddam video was that it is a snuff movie; it's video footage of someone being killed. In the age of information in which we now live it seems that if something has happened there are no longer any barriers, physical or moral, to everyone seeing exactly what happened in all its gory glory.

I agree with you - this is the negative side of the information sharing, open networked world we live in today.

Does the positive outweigh the negative?

Steve

These movies only show what actually happened, and if that is abhorrent, then the problem lies with the act of execution, not with the documentation of reality. Private execution would be no less grim, except in appearance.

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