As technology progresses in this society, more and more we are forced to encounter some hard truths: Bigfoot does not exist, ghosts do not exist, also: people die. That last one is particularly prevalent, as lately, the Internet has been increasing its amount of footage that veers dangerously close to “snuff.”
Snuff films are generally regarded as the recorded murder of an actual person without the use of special effects and/or camera tricks. The films may be distributed for entertainment or financial gain, and while long regarded to be a myth, the Internet is quickly changing that belief.
The latest footage to surface features a man named Edward Archibald engaging in a cockroach-eating contest down in Florida (no surprises there). The number of those poor cockroaches being slaughtered … actually it was Edward himself who died shortly after winning said contest, and the video leading up to his untimely demise is just brutal. Archibald and a host of other men, as captured by amateur video, are stuffing their faces with the Discoid roaches in a four-minute feeding frenzy, each desperate to win a python. A reptile store was hosting the event, you see, and apparently “free” pythons are viewed as a suitable reason to gorge yourself on cockroaches. I caught the footage on Mashable, and while Archibald does not die on camera, knowing that I am watching footage of a man causing his own death enhances the emotional resonance of the overall experience. For me, this is chiefly the effect one seeks while watching gruesome events. We want a rise off of watching the death of another; we are curious about how it’ll make us feel. The more socially integrated members of society, once their curiosity has been slaked, retreat back to the less visceral, “safer” images of kitties and shit like that. Others feed off the sharp reality and form subcultures such as 4Chan and 9gag. It doesn’t matter to me what predilections people have — I am just curious observer as to where we are headed as a society.
In the last couple of weeks, video footage of several deaths and people in the midst of dying have found their way online, from the cockroach guy to the FOX News suicide to the dying body of the U.S. Ambassador in Libya being swarmed by rioters. It is our new normal reality, ushered in by the infamous Afghanistan “beheading” videos. And as it seems most everybody on the planet now has a video recorder in their phone as well as a camera, we’re going to be viewing a whole lot more death. We’ve crossed the first barrier, now how long will it be until these videos start running ads before them? Once money is involved, anything can be made to seem normal, even baby-eating. Scoff all you want — based on what I’ve seen society tolerate this far, I’m already getting started on the cookbook.