Torture is a term that is used to describe the act of inflicting severe pain or mental anguish, but not death, on another person as a means of punishment, interrogation, revenge, or entertainment (mostly entertainment); in fact, it is one of the most common forms of entertainment according to a telephone poll conducted by Torture Magazine in 2003. Torture is, almost by definition, a gross violation of human rights; and that's what makes it funny. Many human rights organizations have campaigned to have torture banned in the United States but nobody cares what they want.
Main uses of torture
Sometimes, a person may be tortured as punishment for breaking rules or violating orders. In elementary schools in the United States, for example, it is not uncommon for a boisterous student to be made to eat his own severed legs while being dipped in hot lemon juice, undoubtedly to the delight of his fellow classmates. In the workplace, an employee who violates company policy is likely to be fired; that is, burned severely with a gasoline fire until he can't even move his arms without passing out from agony.
If one person knows something that another person don't know, and that person would like to know that thing as well, torture is usually the answer. Some people might be surprised at how much horrible pain a person can endure before he cracks and spills his guts (not literally, of course — that would be counter-productive), but everybody has a breaking point. It should be noted that smelling salts and first aid kits should be kept on hand at all times during a torture session for this purpose; after all, an unconscious person can't divulge any information.
While torture is sometimes used for punishment or interrogation, the most popular use is, by far, for entertainment. The horrible pain, the humilation, the long-lasting psychological trauma: it's all hilarious. In 2003, it ranked as the #2 American pastime, only barely falling behind beating women. This uproarious pursuit dates back several hundred years. For example, in the 17th century, many kings would have jesters stripped naked and beaten unconscious by lesbians for humiliation and amusement, and in 18th century unruly peasants would be forced to eat extremely hot pizza, thereby burning the roofs of their mouths, and that really hurts. To this day, this use of torture continues to flourish in many different forms.
Common methods of torture
There are many, many different forms of torture. A few of the most common ones are described here.
The most obvious method of torture is the beating of a restrained target repeatedly and without restraint. While any idiot can swing his arms and make contact with a non-moving target, it takes many years of practice and precision to beat an offender efficiently. The key to this form of torture is to find the highest point on the parabolic pain/intensity graph; that is the point where the most intense beating (and thus, the most pain) can be inflicted without dulling the sensitivity of the target (or in extreme cases, causing him to black out). Beating is usually done with fists or clubs, but sometimes it is done with animals or other people.
Another common method of torture is baking; the application of extreme heat to a person's extremeties in order to cause the rather obvious consequence of burning him. This is commonly done while making tacky, inane comments like "At least it's a dry heat," and "Hot enough for ya?" in order to add insult to injury for the target. 35 minutes at gasmark 4 should be enough for most subjects.
Chinese Water Torture
This form of torture only works on sissies and pansies. For some reason, dripping water on their heads causes them to cry and panic like little babies. No scientist or psychologist has been able to successfully determine why this happens — probably because they are manlier than a dandelion.
One of the gayer forms of torture is the tickling of the feet, often using feathers or the back-ends of small furry animals. One might think this form of torture is preferable to, for instance, beating, or fire, but this is not the case; the emasculation and humiliation endured during this form of torture is enough to make even the manliest of manly men weep like a little girl, and nobody likes a crybaby.
The Iron Maiden
This is a particularly cruel form of torture in which the victim is locked inside a crazy, spike-filled, body-shaped chamber and forced to listen to the music of Iron Maiden for hours and hours on end. Eventually, the music will become so intolerable that the victim will willingly plunge his body into the wall of spikes on the front of the box. This is a particularly cruel form of torture and its use is generally frowned upon except in the most extreme of situations.
The most hilarious form of torture is known as scaphism, in which honey is packed within the victim's ass, and insects get up in there and start causing all kinds of problems. The person will probably die at the end of this form of torture from the internal bleeding and septic shock, but that's alright; he will assuredly want to die, so really it's not a bad thing at all. This form of torture is used almost exclusively for entertainment value, because once it starts, the victim can't do much else other than yell and make comical faces and sounds.
The gayest form of torture is definitely whipping; especially if the victim is naked and the whipping is performed by an archetypical dungeon master wearing black leather underwear and skullcap. When this form of torture is going on, it's best to keep a third person in the room to supervise and make sure things don't go off track.
The Geneva Convention is an annual convention in which people from all over the world to discuss and participate in torture. Many vendors set up booths to sell torture-related accessories and literature, while other booths accommodate minor celebrities from the world-wide torture community who make appearances, often in an attempt to temporise their rapidly plummeting careers. The location of the convention changes every year. Some popular locations at which the convention has been held include the Guantánamo Convention Centre in Cuba, the Royal Abu Ghraib Hall in Iraq, and the Camp Auschwitz Recreation Area in Germany. Although in recent years popularity has been steadily declining, the convention has been attended by billions during the past 5000 years.