January 17, 2004
Cruel And Unusual, But Not Unjust?

I finally got around to seeing the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer, Un-Cut a few nights ago. If interrogators really want to break the spirits of Saddam and his henchmen -- and I certainly hope that's the plan --, they could arrange to have this movie equipped with Arabic subtitles that explain every nuance of every joke in every scene (not just those where Saddam appears) and then show it to the high-ranking prisoners over and over again. Only a lawyer would know for sure, but I suspect this would not be a violation of the letter of the Geneva Convention, though it massively violates the spirit. With these prisoners -- I'm thinking of the deck of cards --, I have no problem with violating the spirit.

If the subtitled version were then distributed throughout the Arabic-speaking world, all the better. I assume it would not be available for sale openly in most countries, on grounds of verbal and pictorial obscenity and general crudity, but there would surely be a demand for bootleg copies. Of course, it may already be a hot item in the back alleys of Barbary. But professionally-done subtitles would help.

I didn't find the South Park movie half so amusing as advertised, but that doesn't affect my point. When it comes to torturing motivating prisoners, the cruder the better. In fact, I've never found South Park half so amusing as Beavis & Butt-Head or Duckman. I don't know why the latter has not been repackaged on DVD: the number of fan sites on the web suggests it would sell well.

About the only redeeming feature of the movie portrayal of Saddam from his point of view is that he is depicted as (please excuse the jargon) the penetrator, not the penetratee in his dysfunctional relationship with Satan. If the CIA had made the movie, it would surely have been the other way around.

Speaking of sex roles, I think David Janes of Ranting and Roaring meant to call the Canadian politician who wants to bring traffic radar cameras to Ontario "pathetic", not "pathic". As the second definition on www.dictionary.com puts it, "pathic" means "A male who submits to the crime against nature; a catamite", in the terms of the movie a Satan, not a Saddam. So Janes' "evil, pathic little man" likely violates Canadian non-discrimination law by implying that there is something wrong with taking that particular role in a homosexual relationship. Then again, the dictionary's archaic "crime against nature" is probably illegal, too.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at January 17, 2004 07:06 AM