human sacrifice and death penalty

JR Gardner jgardner at BLUE.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU
Sun Apr 26 17:44:44 UTC 1998

An interesting note of minutae on the following re. the Electric Chair.
It was invented by none other than Edison, who was at the time engaged in
a bitter dispute over Alternating Current (AC-- which we mostly now have)
and Direct Current (DC).  Edison favored the latter for safety reasons.
It is true that a call for "humane" death devises was voiced in some form,
but Edison answered another question by inventing the electric chair:  He
built it using AC to prove how horrendously deadly that form of
electricity was.  He lost the debate, of course, and the chair prevaled
even to this embarrassingly barbaric day.

As to the topic at hand re. sacrifice: perhaps the executions are not
sacrifices as Lars notes.  HOwever, it cannot be denied that they are
infinitely ritualized--with all attendant praayazcitti rites of debatable
efficacy--and certainly sanitized.  Our "justice" system bears some
reflection after watching the otherwise cult video "Faces of Death" which
includes one of the LESS gory electrocutions.  The guillotine was virtuous
by comparison.


On Sat, 25 Apr 1998, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> Not really. The electric chair was introduced as a more "humane" way of
> executing a criminal. Apparently, being hanged or shot was perceived as
> being less comfortable than being electrocuted. Electrocution was also a
> part of emerging modernism.

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