Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Thoughts on Saddam Hussein's Snuff Video

It took less than a day for what looks like a genuine video Saddam Hussein's execution in more or less its entirety to show up on the Internet, than linked by Matt Drudge. A few thoughts:

1. Two big bombings, each killing dozens, immediate follow the execution. But nobody can be sure if this is part of revenge outburst or just business-as-usual. And that pretty much summed up the story for me.

2. Mr. Drudge links to the Google video service. (Perhaps that YouTube purchase is already paying dividends for Google.) The video may or may not be on YouTube as well, but a word search there (as well as at the Google site) turns up so many irrelevancies that only the most obsessive surfer would take the time to wade through them all in the hopes that he (much less often she) will turn up the one video that goes beyond the MSM version. Go to the most frequently viewed/Top 100, and you'll do no better, although the list as of now (Tokyo, Dec.31, 12:30 PM) is dominated by Saddam Hussein takes. Or so they say, for compounding the difficulties are the videos that use Saddam Hussein's execution to trick people into looking at completely different content. This is not an isolated problem. Fake titles (often involving female celebrities in various states of purported undress) are used extensively to perpetrate this petty fraud. Which reminds me of the "Anna Kournikova photo" email that spread a computer virus throughout OECF in 1998… but I digress. Ebay used to let petty con-men cheat its clients out of money; YouTube and its lesser competitors lets them steal your time. I think there's an opportunity for a video-contents selection service that links to interesting, subject-oriented videos in return for watching a short commercial. Or possibly a community of volunteers - WikiTube? – who perform these services for free. Of course, the former may founder on cost, and, as for the latter, who in his right mind is going to volunteer to help bring the best of Brittney Spears to his peers?

3. I'm surprised that the Iraqi authorities took Shisaku's lesson to heart and avoided not only Christmas but New Year's Eve for all of you who obey the Gregorian Calendar. Unfortunately they chose the first day (or eve; the reports conflict, due to Western unfamiliarity with Islamic calendar) of Eid ul-Adha for the event. I'm sure that the Arabic blogosphere is ablaze with speculation about this sinister Zionist/America-hatched plot to heap abuse on the Islam Nation. Which, like most conspiracy stories, begs the question: why would they bother to go to all that trouble? (New Year's resolution memo to self: Start listening to those teach-yourself Arabic tapes immediately.)

4. It's apparently okay for the English-language MSM if it's okay for the Arabic media. Reminds me of the Masako-sama feeding frenzy in Japan after WaPo broke the story. And more generally, the JMSM following up on scandals after they've been reported in the weekly tabloids.


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Jun Okumura said...

11:17 AM spam deleted

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