Every day the rightwingnutters push the envelope of credibility and tolerance one (or more) step further with irrational and bigoted and racist responses to irrational acts, as Dr. Dawg notes of reactions in the rightosphere to the terrible murder of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus on Wednesday night. The alleged murderer, Vincent Li seems to be of Chinese descent. Oh no, he beheaded his victim, he must be a Muslim!
May I remind any rightnut who happens to pass by here that beheading has an “honourable” history in the Judaeo-Christian world and in the West:
The story of Judith slaying the Assyrian general has been a theme for some of the Western world’s most famous Italian painters, including Michelangelo Caravaggio, Artemesia Gentileschi and Donatello.
Biblical hero, David, beheaded that big, nasty bully, Goliath:
Armed with a slingshot, five stones, and a belief in God, David advances toward a dismissive Goliath, and hits him between the eyes with a stone. As Goliath falls, David draws out the Philistine warrior’s own sword and beheads him. When the Philistines see their once-invincible warrior decapitated, they panic and flee. David carries Goliath’s head triumphantly to King Saul’s court in Jerusalem and keeps the sword as a spoil of war.
A Michelangelo fresco of David slaying Goliath adorns the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Other artworks include Caravaggio’s painting of David holding Goliath’s deathly pale head by his hair while the Philistine warrior’s expression is frozen in a terrifying scream.
The New Testament features the head of John the Baptist on a platter:
Queen Herodias had first been married to Herod’s brother, and John had condemned her new marriage as incestuous. Herodias’ daughter, Salome, dances for King Herod, who is so pleased with the performance that he promises to grant the girl anything she wishes. Salome, at her mother’s urging, asks for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter. Herod is upset, but a promise is a promise. The incident has been immortalized in paintings and plays by artists ranging from Caravaggio to Titian to Botticelli to Oscar Wilde.
That good old Muslim, William Shakespeare, immortalized one famous beheading in Richard III. Then, of course, there was that most self-absorbed of all beheaders, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I contributed her fair share to the making of people headless. King Charles I and Marie Antoinette are also famous victims of the human prediliction for separating people from their thoughts.
This is not a specifically Muslim “tradition”. In fact, it may have been a faster, less painful and more humane method of execution than that currently used for state executions in the United States of America. Check your own backyard, wingnutters, before going off about the “barbarians”. You never know, “they” might be you.
As Lamont Cranston said, famously, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”
Crucifixion was most common in ancient Rome. Although it has never been legal in the United States, it is worth noting that a CIA interrogator killed Manadel al-Jamadi in Abu Ghraib Prison in 2003 by crucifixion.