TEHRAN, Iran. Ending a tradition that dates back to Biblical times, Iran's chief justice today ordered an end to public executions, saying they represented a "barbaric anachronism" that should be viewed only by premium cable TV subscribers.
"We'll be right back after this message from our sponsors. This is Iranian Capital Punishment TV!"
"It is time we moved into the twentieth century and ended a practice that is not accepted among civilized nations," said Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a moderate conservative cleric whose show "Judge Mahmoud's Court" consistently tops afternoon television ratings. When advised that the twentieth century ended seven years ago, Shahroundi replied "We'll get to the twenty-first century later."
Early television game show: "You Bet Your Worthless Life!"
The last public execution legally conducted in the United States was the hanging of Rainey Bethea on August 14, 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The development of television in the late 1930's provided an alternative form of family entertainment that did not require human sacrifice, although it exposed impressionable youth to the horror of commercials featuring Speedy Alka-Seltzer.
Speedy Alka Seltzer: Creepy.
Executions will be available for viewing only by subscribers to the ICPTV Network Iran's premium cable sports package, which also features the regular and playoff games of the National Buzkashi League. Buzkashi is a game similar to polo involving two teams of horsemen, a dead goat and two French mimes.
Copyright 2008, Con Chapman