Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam Hussein's execution is truly Web 2.0?

The other week, Time Magazine made "You" the person of the year in reference to growth of social networking, blogging and general user generated content. Yesterday, as anyone who wasn't under a rock will know, saw the execution of Saddam Hussein in Iraq for just one of his many crimes.

The mainstream media outlets all reported that scenes from the pre-execution had been broadcast on Iraqi television, and, to my knowledge, few of the western mainstream oulets has carried that footage at all, instead simply reporting on it. Matt Drudge has linked to footage of not just the pre-execution but also, taken by a camera phone the execution itself.

Not surprisingly (to me at least) the video is freely available for all to see on Google Video, and given that it was first leeched by someone on the Something Awful forums, it's undoubtedly also been grabbed, mirrored, and cross-posted to alt-binaries.gore and all the other Net sub-culture sites out there that enjoy that sort of thing.

Now... we don't do public execution in the West, and yet the viral spread of Hussein's execution video (it's been viewed a lot) suggests that, at least in terms of sheer morbid curiosity, if such things are available to see people will view them. Saddam Hussein not only appears to have gone viral (at least in the interim), but his execution - as user-generated and distributed content - is truly "Web 2.0" too.

Kind of creepy huh?

Update: I've been watching the referrers and monitoring the search engines over the past hour or so and it looks like the viral nature of the full execution video has gone absolutely crazy. The search term "Saddam Hussein execution video" appears to be very popular right now. What does that say about us?


lilith said...
31 Dec 2006 09:49:00  

Seriously creepy. I found it difficult/tastless/unnecessary that there was a picture of him with a noose around his neck on the front page of the BBC yesterday.

mitch said...
31 Dec 2006 10:32:00  

I think it was right to show it so everyone can see just what happens at the end of our "ethical foriegn policy" and make no mistake T blair is as responsible for this as the bloke who opened the trapdoor.

dizzy said...
31 Dec 2006 10:38:00  

make no mistake T blair is as responsible for this as the bloke who opened the trapdoor.

surely it's Blair's parents parents parents parents fault for having his parents parents parents?

mitch said...
31 Dec 2006 12:17:00  

perhaps i didnt explain as clearly as i should i just meant we are too insulated from the real things that happen.I thnk the world is well rid of the lets see the same action in darfur and other places where oil is not the issue then the moral high ground might be ours again.

Ellee said...
31 Dec 2006 14:56:00  

It's too creepy, I was not one of those, though I believe he deserved to be executed.

Just want to wish you a very happy and successful New Year, I know your blog will go fron strength to strength.

LG Test Blog said...
31 Dec 2006 15:51:00  

Yeah no surprise to me either, elsewhere I put up a thread just after he was killed asking how long it would take for the footage to appear. Seems odd that they filmed it but wouldn't show it yet allowed someone to film it on their phone. Viral campaign anyone? Soften everyone up so they can do what they want; show the good quality video without any backlash. Just an off the cuff theory but an interesting one none the less.

Anyway, this is all bullshit, note how we're now talking about the video being seen and whether that is right, not the rights and wrongs of capital punishment (I'm firmly against and don't buy this bull about it being a sovereign choice for Iraq, like there were no outside influences on the narrowness of the charges etc).

Fucking typical if you ask me...

dexey said...
1 Jan 2007 13:45:00  

Shouldn't you be asking what it says about you?
I haven't watched it but I have seen people die up close, both quietly and messily. I don't have any need to watch a guy twitching on the end of a rope.

dizzy said...
1 Jan 2007 15:00:00  

I think I did ask that, the us was a collective phrase. Having been online for so long I can't deny that I'm utterly de-sensitised to such thing. Yesterday morning I woke up and thought "well it's been just over 24 hours, I bet it's out there somewhere", didn't take more than a minute to find it either.

Praguetory said...
1 Jan 2007 16:14:00  

I have put it up on my site. At one time this morning I must have been topping some sort of search as I was getting about 30 new readers a minute. is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to