Friday, November 18, 2011


Still got some comments on the post about THE SITUATION, and how VS Naipaul's Booker winning manuscript was rejected by over twenty London literary agents when it was recently submitted under a different name. 

Karen says that as a reader she is disappointed with book publishers, and that content often doesn't match the cover. She also feels the revolution in eBook publishing shows that quality is indeed subjective.

Julie thought that crowd mentality comes into play when we assess the quality of something - which rapidly became the theme for the week.

FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH disconcerted many people - including me. If you're interested in the excellent Bill Phillips article that originally got me thinking, here it is ...

Kara was as perplexed as me by the Milgram experiments but agrees that she, too, has seen that behavior repeated over and over in life. It doesn't make sense - yet in light of Milgram it does.

Prudence feels that we have a sort of pack behavior built in. Antonia agreed with Prudence about pack animal mentality and also made the good point that we all teach our children to respect authority. How do we teach them when not to?

Adolf Eichmann, the man largely responsible for the death of six million Jews during the Holocaust, mounted his defence on the claim that he was 'just following orders'.

Many people expected Eichmann to be a monster but at his trial he appeared quite ordinary. Here's a very readable and quite chilling article about the 'banality of evil' from Berkely's psychology department. It also explains the power of the dissenting voice and why dictators throughout history have so brutally suppressed criticism.

Like Mandy, Emma liked the post and agreed that it makes sense in relation to Nazi Germany. She also pointed out quite rightly that nothing is worth seeing a child being hurt. Perhaps that is something we have not emphasized enough in our society.

But if you really want to scare yourself, take a look at this; it's a clip about a 2010 fake TV game show in France. 

A group of contestants posed questions to a man sitting inside a box in an 'electric chair.' A beautiful hostess and a chanting audience urged the players to send jolts of electricity into the man  when he gave an incorrect answer to questions.

Even when the player screamed out for them to stop, 80 percent of the contestants kept zapping him. In reality, the man in the electric chair was an actor who wasn't really being shocked — but the players and the audience did not know that.

Christophe Nick, the director, who was using the show for a documentary said: 'Most of us think we are responsible free thinkers but in certain situations power - in this case the power of TV - made people do things they did not want to do.'

One of the participants, Jerome Pasanau, said he was still haunted by the experience."I wanted to stop the whole time, but I just couldn't. I didn't have the will to do it. And that goes against my nature ... I haven't really figured out why I did it."

Pasanau pumped 460 volts of electricity until the actor pretending to be electrocuted appeared to keel over dead.


Who needs vampires and zombies? Ordinary human beings are quite scary enough!

Thank you all so much for your comments. Avagoodweekend Mister Walker!

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Many of our kind are monsters by nature. It takes work to go against that nature. What makes us more horrific than the vampires and werewolves is that we deny what we are. We call ourselves civilized, and yet we (as a people) turn around and do something such as electrocute a man for… what? Television? Insane! Madness.