Blaming the victim

Some horrible little man murdered his girlfriend by stuffing a live octopus down her throat, and then claiming it was an accidental death by choking while eating a traditional Korean meal. It’s tragic and terrible, but I notice that no one is mentioning the other victim: the poor cephalopod murdered by mastication.

Hey, Korea: your practice of eating living octopus is cruel!


  1. judithsanders says

    Ugh, we’re in Andrew Zimmern nightmare territory. I’m proud to be one of those squeamish Americans who won’t eat anything, even a bug, that hasn’t been swiftly dispatched before it hits the pot or pan.

  2. says

    Funny. You’re just a couple of inches away from a Slymepit worthy joke that the octopus is the real victim.

    That’s no better than MRA’s whining about their weenies on a thread about FGM.

  3. says

    If this is a joke, I do not get it. While practice of eating animals alive is deplorable, surely the right occasion to point this out is NOT a murder of fellow human being, someone, who left behind grieving friends and family? There is a line between black humour and morbid humour and this one, at least in my mind, crosses it.

  4. says

    Some people seem to have misunderstood my remarks as (merely) humorous. Being an inveterate vegan, I find anyone who eats any non-human animals morally repugnant: I am perfectly sincere in my wish that they limit their meat consumption to one another.

    As to laughing at others’ deaths: how will you be able to laugh at your own, unless you get in some practice?

  5. Dhorvath, OM says

    As to laughing at others’ deaths: how will you be able to laugh at your own, unless you get in some practice?

    Everyone dies Vijen, not everyone is murdered for insurance money.

  6. Doug Hudson says

    Why are people assuming this is supposed to be funny? Feeling sorry for the poor octopus, used as a murder weapon and killed horribly, doesn’t lessen the tragedy for murder victim, it just compounds the horror of the crime.

    Also, the fact that people eat these wonderful creatures ALIVE is ghastly.

  7. Dhorvath, OM says

    The problem is perhaps easier to see when looked at as part of a larger story. Yes, there are some things that we need to consider more carefully about how and what we eat, but we also live in a culture where domestic violence is used as a stepping stone to other platforms. As evidenced by several comments here, it has distracted from the severity of this crime for many readers. That could easily be mitigated by splitting the commentary into two separate posts.

  8. Tony •Prom King of Sunnydale High• says

    I’m not at all comfortable with how you’re making light of this poor woman’s death.

  9. marcuschristian says

    Yeah really, I understand and enjoy the whole octopi are cute meme on the site. I agree that eating a live anything is particularly cruel. However, making light of murder in relation to that is pretty weak. Are you trying to give the religious folks quote bate about how atheists think?

  10. jayceemess says

    I’m trying to envision a parallel universe in which this is entertaining. While I’m on board with eating live animals being more suited to our cousins on the evolutionary tree, murder just isn’t all that much of a knee-slapper. Unless I’m just missing the joke. Could someone explain to me how the cephalopod angle turns this from a horrific story of a woman dying horribly into entertainment?

  11. octopod says

    Well, the octopus thing turns it from a fairly normal murder (yes, this is callously stated; yes, it’s still true) into a more bizarre murder with an animal-cruelty angle.

  12. carbonbasedlifeform says

    PZ, your attempt at humor failed miserably. Besides, octopodia deserve no pity. They are the mafia of the deeps.

  13. Doug Hudson says

    I keep re-reading the post trying to figure out why people think PZ was trying to be “funny”, and I still don’t see it.

    I suppose if you really stretch you can see the “but no one is thinking of the poor cephalopod” as an attempt at humor, except that it’s true–no one (‘cept PZ) is thinking of the poor octopus.

    Sweet Zombie Jesus, these animals are being EATEN ALIVE.

    Saying, hey, let’s pay a little attention to that detail, as well as to the murder and related domestic abuse issues, doesn’t really seem that unreasonable.

  14. Ichthyic says

    actually, the octopus wasn’t to blame for the death at all, murder or otherwise.

    if one bothers to read any of the more detailed articles on this event, the coroner determined the woman was suffocated with a cloth, and the octopus used to mask the cause of death.

    “The most probable cause of death was suffocation by soft cloth, and there’s no evidence to conclude choking to death by eating the octopus,” a court spokesman told AFP.

    …total police incompetence not to have waited for the coroner’s report, and not to have noticed the 200K life insurance policy where the beneficiary was the murderer.

  15. Ichthyic says

    Yeah, this crime is a totally appropriate subject for humour.

    Was there a humor tag attached?

    not showing up on my view.

  16. says

    While “murder by mastication” isn’t as clear as “a Korean couple walks into a hotel”, it still doesn’t need a humor tag to show its intended meaning.

  17. lawmom says

    Equating the murder of a woman by domestic violence with the “murder” of an octopus by the cutely alliterative term “mastication” is definitely making light of the situation, humor tag or not.

    You know, I mostly lurk around her and considered posting my concern at about post number 3 or so, but refrained because I wasn’t in the mood to defend myself against bunch of idiots (you know who they are, even if they don’t!). I am pleasantly surprised that most posters agree and that the ones who disagree have done so politely.

  18. stanton says

    Technically speaking, the murder victim’s family commented how she always had problems trying to swallow (live) octopi, possibly implying that she disliked eating live octopi. Now the authorities assume that the murderer suffocated her with a cloth, then stuffed an octopus, or piece thereof, into her mouth and claimed she choked to death on her food.

  19. simar says

    Whether or not it was intended to be funny, I did find it funny. It does not distract from the tragedy of the circumstances to find humour in a part of it. To those who said they didn’t find this post funny, do you laugh at Darwin Award nominees? Many of them have died, but it seems to be OK to be amused by the cicumstances of their deaths.

  20. simar says

    Yes I am, and Black Comedy, both of which I enjoy. I would highly recommend the film “Four Lions” to anyone.

  21. simar says

    I wish to clarify that of course I am not amused by the circumstances of the murder, I was amused by PZ’s comment, whether it was intended to be funny or not.

  22. spectator says

    Hey, Korea: your practice of eating living octopus is cruel!

    Hey biologists: your scientific research on living animals is cruel!
    But did you forget how much of the carnivorous animal kingdom consumes live prey without killing it first? If humans are merely another omnivorous species on the tree of life, “cruelty” is essentially a meaningless human concept. Does it anger the gods if we eat another creature without killing it first?