Happy Feast of the Epiphany

The twelve days of Christmas officially end tomorrow, so take down those holiday decorations, people.  I didn’t get what I really wanted for Christmas, but hardly anyone ever does.

Anyway, during Christmastide I watched the latest round of the Ultimate Fighting tournament at some dude’s house.  I’m back in northern Ontario now and it’s interesting seeing how stuff is different here than in Halifax, especially the casual codeswitching.  There are quite a few francophones here and even a dialect of French peculiar to the region, so bilingualism in French and English is common among locals.  Many people from here switch back and forth between English and French quite easily, although I noticed that they do it intersententially instead of intrasententially (meaning that they switch the language of their sentences, but not within the sentence itself, i.e., no “Do you wanna coucher avec moi?”).  Still, this intersentential codeswitching happened at a gathering where the speakers couldn’t be sure that everyone spoke French, although they knew everyone spoke English, so the codeswitching would probably be different if the audience was entirely bilingual.

Still, one of the more peculiar parts of the evening (I guess besides the part where people gathered to watch savage beatings on tv) was in the waiting period before the fighting started, when one of the guys there invited everyone to watch Saddam Hussein’s hanging on his laptop.  From the excitement in the way he talked about it, the video sounded rather graphic.  I declined to see it, but most everyone else saw the recording.  Apparently the video quality was rather poor, especially with the shakiness of the cellphone camera.  “That was it?” seemed to be the prevailing sentiment among the viewers.  Still, I wonder what exactly they expected.  Perhaps an execution like on film, with a dramatic speech and bloody climax?  Maybe with the prisoner shouting “Freedom!” until his voice fades away?

The banal nature of the execution seems to be the kicker, added to by the very method used to capture the proceedings.  Surely the execution of the greatest monster of contemporary times (or so we have been told), surely that execution couldn’t have been so ordinary?  Shouldn’t there have been more of a spectacle befitting this most extraordinary death?  Shouldn’t a tumbril have at least been involved, or maybe a bulletproof Popemobile?  But a secret hanging recorded on a cameraphone?  Where’s the drama, the blood?  I can imagine it was a disappointing video to see.  I suppose the videos of various beheadings floating around will have to do until the next important execution.

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