EM and the death penalty

From brian carroll <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Tue, 12 Jun 2001 00:10:53 -0800

  one thought that came to mind given the recent
  events in the US media spectacle is the role
  of the electric chair and its early development
  in the death penalty, wherein edison and tesla
  (i think it was both) would each kill off animals
  with the others' AC or DC electrical technologies.
  edison was first, it seems. horses, dogs, thought
  even an elephant, but that may be the circus-like
  quality of such techno-exhibitionism.

  what has always stuck in my psyche regarding this
  is Warhol's painting of an electric chair as a
  cult/ural icon of Americana and its ephemeral
  state of being-in-itself-ishness.

  not publicly a decider of death penalty politics,
  i'd like to convey one thing that has stuck in
  my mind regarding electromagnetism and the e-chair
  and its role in delving out current that kills.

  instead of connecting to the larger electrical
  infrastructure, which is grossly inefficient in
  certain terms, which it is not judged by, because
  of economics and societal evolution. at the same
  time, if one were to be killed put to death by
  a current which is arriving, say, with 9/10ths
  of the energy generated, lost along its long-
  distance transmission, that it might be, or at
  least, appear, unethical or unsound in its waste-
  fullness and inefficiency. thus, so one rationale
  might go, they use a portable electric generator
  when putting someone in the electric chair, and
  self-contain the infrastructure to a portable
  device or a stand-alone device at least. or so
  i've heard. it seems so strange, the ritual of
  using electricity for death, but then detaching
  it from its larger infrastructure. any ideas
  on this, not about the death penalty per se,
  but about this subject are appreciated.

  so too, i was walking by the main street here
  in my area and a toy/comic store had a doll/
  cartoon character, whom was a serial killer
  in a toy electric chair, (sid something, was
  the comic's creator or the character's name,
  i seem to remember). the toy, or game, was to
  'fry' the serial killer in the electric chair,
  and watch him convulse and i think goo may have
  come from him or some special effect that appeals
  to a blood-and-guts audience of adolescent boys
  going through simulated rites-of-passages, and
  those scenesters whom find such cult/ural things
  hip enough to put in their collections of things
  that are so weird that they literalize the real-
  in-itself today, in the land of the sublime mind.

  in any case, a story, a painting, a ritual,
  and a toy, all aspects of electrocution. it
  is a somber thing to contemplate, and it is
  too difficult for me to do alone. so i share.


  the electronetwork-list
  electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization