In light of today’s news of another botched lethal injection execution in Oklahoma, here is another great article about the history of the death penalty in America; ” the Constitution’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” applies to the death penalty as well, and has been variously interpreted as protecting the dignity of even those subject to capital punishment, or requiring that methods of execution be made compatible with society’s evolving standards of decency.” From the Boston Globe by Austiin Sarat. http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/04/27/what-botched-executions-tell-about-death-penalty/n857QsoDKDLN7fdNB6fimO/story.html
Last night I watched the great Patrick McGoohan in the screen adaptation of Brendan Behan’s play The Quare Fellow, quare meaning queer, not as in the modern connotation of gay, but as in oddball, or strange.
The play is about a man who is sentenced to death by hanging. We never see him, but we hear him singing a song, The Auld Triangle, a device used to signal transitions within the prison.
I watched in disgust as the hangman gets drunk and dances the night before he hangs The Quare Fellow. The hangman’s soul is without blemish, or so it would seem, but The Quare Fellow killed his own brother, so he must be killed as punishment for his crime.
I was reminded of a fantastic comment in The New Yorker, which highlighted the culpability of all with…
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