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Recently, I devoted a shred of attention here to the dark curiosity to which I gave in at the prospect of witnessing a grainy and disturbing video of the execution of one former dictator of Iraq.

The political context of the execution — including a trial whose proximal relationship to actual Justice in the definitional sense has not thoroughly been discussed in the proper fora as yet — became a mere footnote to the pressing need felt by millions around the world to witness not just this convicted former leader’s execution but, one senses, any execution at all. We like this. This is what we like. (Pinker says there’s a chance that this isn’t what we like, and that we’ve actually come a long way, baby. But have we?)

Anyway, I confessed that I watched the New York Times’s post of the pool video that was released by the Iraqi government. I have not, in truth, watched the full snuff film recorded by an Iraqi guard on his mobile. Brilliant stuff, I’m sure.

But I did repeat something I thought I’d read (though I couldn’t find the reference, and so left one out) that the search numbers for that film were high not only for the correct spelling of the former dictator’s name, but also for a string of bizarre misspellings.

Now it comes time to admit that I check the stats on this blog (readership numbers are made available for the vain-at-heart, like me), and that one can even see the search terms that brought a reader to this site.

The sad injustice of a sham trial, the hasty execution of a criminal whose crimes have not yet been given their full and horrible account in a legal setting, the shame of defiling the execution of the law (and of the criminal) by recording not only the event but the deplorable and undignified behavior of the assembled — all of this pales next to the ultimate victimhood of language.

Here are the spellings of some of the searches that successfully connected a strangely phonetically-inclined global population with my deliberate and, I thought, farfetched misspellings:


sadam deth 3
saddams deth 2
deth of saddam 2
hanging sadim 2
saddam deth video 2
saddam execution film 1
sadam deth live 1
virgin 747 1
sadim hanging 1
the deth of saddam 1


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