Friday, January 04, 2008

Imagine the USC Marching Band Accompanies this Entry

It's 104 years ago today that poor Topsy went turvy and thereby made execution and film history (you can go watch the film at YouTube, but I don't really want it on my blog). Thomas Edison always thought big, so figured if you're going to make the first snuff film, don't waste the celluloid on a butterfly. (That's why he invented collagen before filming his earlier historic film "The Kiss.") Although it is unclear if Edison was a Democrat, he decided to fry an elephant (it was eight years too early to go for a Bull Moose, after all, and there's no point in executing someone like Fred Thompson now as he'd just sleep through it). Yes, it all had something to do with arguing for safer DC versus scarier, easier-to-electrocute-giant things AC, and for beating out Westinghouse, and making money, but my guess is nobody asked Topsy how she felt about that. One day you're rumbling along Luna Park in Coney Island without a care in the world except where your next peanut is coming from, and the next day they're shooting 6600 volts through you. After all, you didn't mean to kill your trainer any more than he meant to try to feed you a lit cigarette. I'm sure it was all in good fun both ways. If nothing else, Topsy has a monument and made the list of famous elephants on Wikipedia. The trainer didn't even make the list of mean and stupid humans. Of course, that's a mighty long list.



Blogger Mike said...

From what I understand (arguably very little), part of Edison's agenda was to show that Tesla's theories (AC) were more dangerous than his (DC).

Of course, Telsa wins the science in the eyes of history, Edison wins everything but the science (in other words, kids write essays about Edison in school; cheesy bands name themselves after Tesla).

And Topsy loses big.

5:26 PM  

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