Jodi Arias: A Taste For Blood
by Rauan Klassnik
(written while watching Nancy Grace and her live coverage on CNN just before and after the Murder One verdict came down).
I am not talking here about Jodi Arias’ obvious penchant for blood (or the way blood was splashed all over that bathroom and hallway as she butchered her on-again and off-again lurid lover, and all the images thereof, implied and actual, that we’ve been subjected or treated to). I am talking about the mob’s need for blood. I am talking about human need. I am talking, of course, about our need.
It is 1:45 PST now and Jodi is 15 minutes late, holding up the country (and, indeed, much of the world) as the Jury’s verdict waits to be unveiled in the eye of a storm that’s ready to explode. Helicopters are buzzing in the Phoenix skies. The mob is chanting out “Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis!”
People, here in the U.S. at least, no longer flock in huge numbers to public executions because, well, there aren’t any. But, yeah (you can bet your life on it, your soul, your blood) that given the chance, they sure as hell would.
(Look at boxing fights, UFC events, WWE wrestling, for crying out loud!)
And now as the verdict comes down and each Jury members confirms with a solemn “Yes” to the question “Juror Number (1, 2, 3, 4….) is this yr True Verdict?” the mob punches the air and claps its hand together like frenzied primates.
Yes, most everyone wants her blood. And this wanting, this needing, is just who we are. Civilization, ethics, upbringing, blah, blah, it doesn’t seem to matter: it’s in our DNA. Our blood.
And when we’re given permission and opportunity to air our hearts we do it with class and style! (yeah, right)
I think often (and am thinking now, of course) of Turgenev’s detailed account of the last public execution in Paris in his essay “The execution of Tropmann” and how thousands thronged overnight to watch the guillotine’s perfect blade come down one final time.
And then dozens of onlookers rushed under the wooden platform, struggling against each other, to dab their handkerchiefs in the blood which trickled on through the slats. (At a hanging or lynching men, I am told, fought or argued to get bits of the rope.)
Cheers continue to reverberate all round the Arias courthouse. Total strangers (of Arias and her victim) are elated. Beside themselves. Hijacked by adrenaline. Their blood swirling, rollicking, on fire. Someone now, in fact, is thanking Jesus!
(& how many of us watching, participating, in the privacy of our homes are experiencing the same sort of blood heat? How many of us now are thanking Jesus too? . . . Plenty, of course. Yeah, yeah.)
Our culture may suppress, in its mainstream medias, actual gore but the need and appetite coils potently within us. Not as demonstratively as it worked through a murderous Jodi as she shot, gutted and repeatedly stabbed her victim, but nonetheless just as real and just as dangerous.
(& if you want graphic go to Mexico. I lived there for six years and every morning I knew, for sure, that a bloody corpse — narco execution usually — or decayed corpse, or severed tongue in an ice box, waited for me on the covers of the tabloid rags.)
We may think we are better than this. We may pretend. But we simply aren’t.
And now we await the “aggravation” phase of the trial! And CNN can prey on and feed our need for drama and for blood. And we can hang on every moment, chewing our fingernails, waiting, waiting and hoping for the death pronouncement.
Too bad that we won’t get the chance (if it happens) to see the blade come down. Or to compete in the blood dabbing.
[ Note: as of today, June 6th, America’s seething blood can catch its breath as the jury couldn’t decide on death or life in prison. And, so, we’re in a holding pattern till July 18th when a new jury will enter into the penalty phase and decide whether she dies or not.
But in the mean time of course we get to salivate, peep and tear-orgy over disasters in Oklahoma, women held captive in a monster’s basement, etc, etc – all of life’s great, daily tragedies ]
Images by the author
About the Author:
Rauan Klassnik’s new book, The Moon’s Jaw, was released earlier this year from Black Ocean. His first book, Holy Land (also from Black Ocean), was published in 2008. Rauan grew up in South Africa, then lived in Dallas, Texas (yeah, yeah) and now resides with his wife in the quiet suburbs of lovely Seattle.