« annals of collaboration | Main | awaiting moderation »

May 12, 2012

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834518d3769e20168eb75496c970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference envelope pushed into can of worms:

Comments

ejh

and collected the fee for the bullet.

Christ.

Does this still happen?

Barry Freed

I think it's all done intravenously these days. Maybe they make your relatives pay for the needle.

Strategist

and collected the fee for the bullet

I thought that was something invented by Terry Gilliam for the film Brazil. (Jonathan Pryce has to go to a guy's wife to deliver a refund on the cost of his torture and execution, as he had been executed by mistake, due to a clerical error.) Which shows what I know.

Is this in fact a widely spread custom? A Commie thing? A traditional Chinese thing? A colonial thing?

jamie

It always struck me as the Maoist version of Daily Mail populism. Make the people's enemies pay! I think they stopped it in the early nineties, and they've been shifting over to lethal injection for a while now.

Wouldn't be surprised if they still did it in Henan, mind.

Strategist

So is it just a Maoist thing, then? Not a trick that Beria ever pulled, for example?

(Just wondering what influenced Gilliam. I only press because B&T regulars are so damned knowledgeable...)

johnf

Isn't it a way of preventing the spirits of the the dead coming back to haunt the executioners and those who ordered it.

The things that killed him or her, the bullets, belonged to his own family. A double curse.

Barry Freed

That's an interesting take. I've always seen it more as the final humiliation visited upon the condemned. An admission in itself of the condemned's guilt.

It's a little like being forced to eat a shit sandwich and then being further forced to pen a glowing review of the establishment that served it up.

Here's a question: Does anyone know if there are actual paper bills/receipts in existence for these executioner's bullets? And, I'm not being facetious here, did they give the family the spent cartridge too? That would make for a fascinating exhibit.

Alex

Supposedly, in the Napoleonic French army, someone who was executed was said to have got his "quatre sous".

Richard J

It's been killing me all weekend that I read somewhere recently about a non-Chicom precursor to this, but can't for the life of me remember where.

belle le triste

On the face of it only indirectly related: but British executions from the Tudor period onward sometimes (if only apocryphally?) saw the axeman or hangman being tipped or bribed, to ensure a sharper edge to the blade or a strong silken rope, or to make certain the body was returned to the family for respectful burial, and not eg handed over to the students of the college of surgeons for cash down

jamie

The red army used the phrase 'issued with nine grammes of lead' for executing alleged deserters. Think they might have charged the relatives. So could be a soviet import from it's 'China's Big Brother' period.

Madam Miaow

Fascinating stuff, jamie. Why aren't you writing for the Guardian? They need some informed commentary.

Strategist

could be a soviet import

It just feels so plausible - but I don't think any contibutor has evidenced it yet.

British executions from the Tudor period onward sometimes (if only apocryphally?) saw the axeman or hangman being tipped or bribed, to ensure a sharper edge to the blade or a strong silken rope, or to make certain the body was returned to the family

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but this feels to have a quality of mercy (crossed with private enterprise) that is somehow the opposite of being coolly issued with an invoice by the state authorities.

The comments to this entry are closed.

friends blogs

blobs

Blog powered by Typepad

my former home