On the rights and wrongs of decapitating someone

Good day to you, comrades.  I hope you’ve enjoyed a productive week, and all that.  Before I begin, I fear I must issue a clarification.  Not because I was wrong, but because I was right to such an extent that people’s eyes didn’t believe the truth they were seeing.

The chocolate bar under discussion did indeed contain enough sugar to kill a medium sized rodent.  Allow me to elaborate.  Even if we were to discount the possibility of the animal choking to death, or the impact the chocolatey goodness would have on the animal’s teeny-tiny digestive system, but for reasons of toxicity.

Sugar in that quantity is actually slightly toxic.  I have looked up the medium lethal dose (LD50) level for sugar, and I can tell you that it is 29.7 grams per 1 kg of body mass.  Since this bar of chocolate contained 218 grams of sugar, any mammal weighing less than 7.34 kilos would likely suffer a fatal overdose.  So really, any rodent barring the giant talking ones that feature in ‘Biker Mice from Mars’ should probably avoid eating this chocolate.  But I am not an expert, and I do the bare minimum level of research before submitting this stuff.  So, should anyone wish to contribute something further to the how-much-sugar-is-required-to-kill-a-medium-sized-rodent question, then feel free to do so.

Onward.

Yesterday brought the insane news that Facebook has decided to allow its users to use its site to watch videos of real-life decapitation.  That is, people getting their heads chopped off.  I can’t think of very many reasons why anyone would want to watch people getting their heads chopped off.  In fact, I can only think of two:

  1. Information.
  2. Entertainment

Let’s discount the second reason for the moment, and address the first, which is the one that Facebook are using to justify the fact that they’re going to host videos of people’s heads being forcibly severed from their bodies.  It will facilitate discussion of the rights and wrongs of decapitation.  Perhaps, for some of you, this is helpful.  Perhaps you really feel that you absolutely have to see someone getting murdered to be able to really understand the reality of what murder is.

I’m not sure why Facebook feels the need to provide this service.  Are a lot of people demanding it? Though I haven’t checked, I would assume that, the internet being the internet, these people could quite easily track down videos of people being murdered elsewhere.  If they really were that way inclined.

A Facebook spokeswoman said:

“People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different.”

Oh, well that makes all the difference.  Quite how Facebook intend to qualify whether the murder is being celebrated or not, I have no idea.  Maybe a decapitation would qualify for a ban if it is soundtracked by something sufficiently flippant, like Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’.

However they’re going to make this distinction, I’m not sure it makes a great deal of difference.  To act as though this point is an enormous game-changer, as Facebook are doing, seems slightly naughty to me.  Do we really need to see a decapitation in order to condemn it?  Are there really some people undecided on whether or not they approve of decapitation, who require a video to be finally persuaded that decapitation is, on the whole, not a good thing?

Now, onto the real reason I suspect that a lot of people will want to watch this sort of thing:  entertainment.  They might want to gawp, revel in the horribleness of it all for the moment, or delight in the fact that they’re breaking some taboo.  Perhaps it’s simple morbid fascination.  Whatever the reason, these people must already have had an interest in seeing people getting their heads chopped off.  Again, quite why Facebook feel they must feed this interest is beyond me.  If anything, this will just make more people turned onto the pleasures of vicariously enjoying someone else’s suffering.

In response to this decision, there has been widespread outrage.  Many are predicting a U-turn, but it turns out there has already been one U-turn, back in May, and so a second would constitute the second part of a double-u-turn, or a w-turn.  Or perhaps it would be more like a slalom run.  In any case, it’s the sort of maneuverer that leads me to believe that Facebook have not the slightest idea of what they are doing, or why.

There will be some who say that this is an issue of freedom of expression.  Everyone, according to this view, should be able to view pretty much whatever content they like.  One only need apply this same logic to child pornography to see this objection fall to the ground like a decapitated corpse, but let’s indulge it for the sake of argument.  In general, I have a lot of time for free expression.  But Facebook don’t.  Just look at article seven from Facebook’s terms and conditions:

“You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”

That’s pretty much everything imaginable, then, with the merciful exception of religion-baiting. It’s worth observing that Facebook (and indeed society at large) consider naked tits more worthy of censorship than someone getting murdered.  I suspect this observation will be repeated so often that it seems almost trite already.  How can tits be more damaging to the viewer than murder?  How can someone’s dick be more worthy of a ban?  I consider even full penetrative sex less offensive that someone getting murdered!  Even the most depraved sort of scatological gangbang is less offensive!  Ask yourself what’s more disturbing to watch:  someone having an orgasm (something you’d wish to happen to yourself), or someone having their cervical vertebrae penetrated with a bread knife (something you certainly wouldn’t)?

This is not to say that I think Facebook should start slackening their censorship of excessive nakedness.  If we want to see tits, we can go elsewhere, to a site explicitly designed for that purpose.  I’m reliably informed that such sites exist.

In any case, they’re presumably going to scrub that last little bit off this particular article quite soon, since I can’t imagine many things much more graphically or gratuitously violent than a human being having their head sawn off (though I confess, as a human being myself, I might be suffering from a little bias).

In fact, I can only think of one thing more violent, and that’s a small child getting their head sawn off.  Would Facebook allow that, I wonder?  If not, they’d have to put in place some sort of age limit on the decapitation victims in the videos they are hosting, which will then have to be moderated by a team of people responsible for determining whether the person getting his/her head chopped off is old enough to be getting his/her head chopped off on Facebook.  A fourteen year old decapitee might be acceptable.  A thirteen year old one might conceivably not be.  Where does one draw the line?  There is no real right answer there, is there?

Yes, actually.  There is.  I can tell you exactly where:  Don’t host videos of people getting their heads cut off, Facebook.  You psychopathic fucking cunts.

Until next week!

PS. For those that haven’t already, don’t forget to like my facebook page!

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