Friday, November 02, 2007

Nihilist home videos

A friend of mine recently told me a story of an unforgettable character he met back in India.

He recounted how an especially annoying and whiny teenager kept bugging him to "be his friend", and wouldn't take no for an answer. Finally, after weeks of badgering, my good-natured friend relented, hoping this would placate the needy kid and let my friend do his job.
This only changed the subject of the young fellow's pleas: now he wanted my beleaguered friend to look at something on his cell phone. "It's so hilarious, it's so funny, you'll love it! Please, look, look..."
Well, my friend eventually gave in once again, and consented to watch what was offered. He expected some kind of "America's funniest home video"-style clip of a guy falling off a bike or possibly chairs overturning at a wedding, or some such slapstick frivolity.
He says he nearly threw up, as he was shown a jihadi video of masked vermin sawing off someone's head. **That** was what was "so funny" to this upper-middle-class, well-dressed, lonely teenager.

I was reminded of that horrible story this morning, in reading of sickening news from Denmark, as the 21st century continues to introduce us all to an unpredecented pairing of technology and nihilism, adding a whole new dimension to the tradition of "home movies".
[my translation from the french news site "7Sur7"]
Adolescent beats a man to death then films with his cell phone

A young dane used his cell phone to film a man that he had just beaten to death, near the stadium in Aalborg, in northern Denmark last week, the police said Friday. The clip, of about ten seconds, was found in the phone of a 15-year old student, who had been arrested and charged for the murder of a 48-year old man, Henrik Bjerremand Kristensen, Saturday, according to Danish TV2 News.

“It is revolting that someone could do such a thing. It is the expression of a cynicism that I have never seen before in all my time on the force”, declared Frank Olsen, the deputy inspector of Aalborg’s police on Saturday to TV2. He did not want to specify whether the murderer had filmed the death throes of his victim, indicating that the killer had taken his time to record the images, before fleeing at the sound of ambulance sirens.

The victim had been found lifeless in an unrecognizeable state after having been beaten by the youth in the process of being robbed of his money, according to the investigators hypothesis. The macabre film had been sent to at least one friend of the presumed murderer, according to police, which launched an appeal to high schoolers and other colleagues [of the criminal] suspected of having received the film to delete it, or else risk facing charges.

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