“Crime and Punishment” / Memorable Fancies #825

         Politely, now, we allow those guilty of crimes to pay us money, or sit in a prison cell, or be exposed to public humiliation, as symbols of the sudden justice we would like to wreak upon them but now, by law, cannot.         But we remember: it was blood, back in the old days. Blood. Nothing else could atone for crimes, for ripping the fabric of society. And perhaps that’s still true even now, when we feel that money or imprisonment or shame doesn’t quite meet our frantic passions, … [Read more...]

“The Cannibal Variations – XXIII” / Memorable Fancies #608

(with Jun Yan)      In a starving world, convicted criminals are sentenced to “donate” body parts to the State so that the masses may be fed: left leg for a first offense, right for a second. Some jurisdictions take the effort to make the punishment fit the crime: a hand from a forger or a groper (called a “hand-off”), lips from those who utter sedition or disagreement with official policy. In justification, authorities point to the ancient Middle East practice of amputating the hand of a … [Read more...]

“Criminal Justice” / Memorable Fancies #499

     In the country of Oobla-Da, convicted criminals of the upper classes are allowed to buy their way out of punishment. As some gesture must be made to satisfy the victims, those found guilty must send their favorite clothing outfit to prison instead of their bodies.      In the prison, convicts are assigned to flail the “suits,” as they call them, with long bamboo strips. If their aim is good, the suits cavort and contort themselves as if the living were still inside, enduring pain and … [Read more...]