This is a very strange topic to take up, especially after writing a whole piece on the complications and ills of violence.
It might seem like a huge contradiction on my part, but hopefully it’ll bear out.
Okay, so, here we go.
There have been a few instances of extraordinary violence in history that put a certain smile on my face, a glint in the eye and a calm feeling of satisfaction and warm fuzziness.
Here’s a picture of a guy called Peter Ramus.
I don’t like him at all. He’s dead. He died a long time ago, and I’m happy about it.
Here’s what happened to him. On a warm summer evening in Paris on the 23rd of August, 1572, he was murdered in a very bad way. A crazed group of Catholics committed a series of targeted assassinations against certain members of another group of Christians called Huguenots in an event that’s called the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
Ramus was among those assassinated.
Accounts vary, but some versions of history suggest that Ramus had a hook plunged into his stomach prior to being thrown out of a high window. The hook would have been tied to a rope and anchored to something sturdy.
The idea is that the rope runs out of length before you make it to the ground and the hook rips out your guts somewhere in the middle of your fall.
It’s like an extra “fuck you” to somebody you want to murder in the worst possible way.
Anyway, with or without the hook, the act of murdering somebody by throwing his (or her) ass out a window is called “defenestration.” It comes from the Latin, “fenestra,” which means window, but the word for the violent technique wasn’t coined until around 1620 (for the event known as the Defenestration of Prague).
So defenestration literally means to de-window a motherfucker.
The first known occasion of this was when the biblical Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal (King of Tyre—modern day Lebanon), was murdered by defenestration after being accused of being a false prophet. For a lot of people, that was the moment when a need for Feminism began. I would bet it was needed earlier than that, but whatever. Anyway, Jezebel didn’t get the hook, but her murderers left her corpse in the street for weeks to let it rot and be eaten by dogs.
If you’re looking for a more contemporary application of this tried-and-true method of horrific murder, watch this 18 second video clip taken from the 2001 movie Hannibal:
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIOLENCE (NSFW)
Hardcore shit, man.
Anyway, the reason I’m so gleeful about Peter Ramus’s defenestration has everything to do with rhetoric and absolutely nothing to do with religion.