Friday, June 01, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #168: Historical Excisions

"History is fables agreed upon."

-Voltaire

Weekend Assignment#168: For reasons best left unexplained, you have been allowed to excise one and only one person from the course of history. Which would you choose to remove from history and why? That's right: Any one person you think history would be better without. You can now expunge, so who would it be - and how do you think history would be changed with their absence? See. Told you it was one that would make you think.

This assignment comes with two rules. First, the person expunged has to be a human being; deities (and human iterations thereof) should be left out of this particular exercise, mostly because I'd like to avoid all the ranting such an excision would add. Second, try not to choose Adolf Hitler (because he's too easy) or either the current president or his predecessor ( to avoid ranty political rantiness). Incidentally, picking either parent or any of these three folks just to get around this admonition is dirty pool. Other than that, pick whom you would like. This still leaves lots of potentially expungible historical figures.

Extra Credit: Favorite historical-themed movie. Because why not?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

My goodness John, this is a deep subject indeed! And it is one which I gave some thought to, but one historical name which did come to mind almost immediately was, Dr. Alfred P Southwick. As you all know, I can go on a political rant with the best of them. I have no problem sharing how I feel about things, it is after all part of who I am, and while I do share most of my political and social beliefs and ethics with you here on Ellipsis, one subject I don't tend to share too easily, is my complete and utter aversion to Capitol Punishment. In particular, the electric chair. As a means of executing a human being, "humanely" it has bothered me since I was old enough to understand what justice meant.

Dr. Alfred P. Southwick was inspired to invent the electric chair, in 1881, after witnessing an intoxicated man accidentally touch a live electric generator. After the man died, the doctor concluded that the man's death came swift, and with very little pain. Soon, Southwick proposed the idea to then governor of New York, David B. Hill, as a more "humane" form of execution as opposed to hanging, which had been seen as "cruel and unusual punishment" after a number of gruesomely botched executions had taken place.

The death penalty is as old as time. And folks feel the way they feel. This entry is not a social or political rant, although I might, at some point in the future, delve deeper into why I have formed the opinions I have on the subject. For now I am keeping with John's rules. I chose Dr. Southwick, not because he supposedly built a better mousetrap, I chose him to be expunged because I think the world would have gone on just fine without someone having discovered one more way to end a human life. It's just that simple. Particularly when you take into account, all the gruesome,and disgusting events which took place as a result of his idea. I have provided some links below if you would like to read the historical details for yourself. By the way, Dr. Southwick was a dentist... isn't that just the creepiest thought?

Extra Credit: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Yeah, I know it was a somewhat fictionalized account of their life, but I still enjoyed the movie for what it was. Someone told me once, it is considered one of the best first date movies. I can see that. :) I know I have seen it well over 50 times.

Electric Chair - Wikipedia

Inventions - About.com

-OndineMonet

1 comment:

boliyou said...

Awesome job, Carly. I like your well-thought-out reasoning.