From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Strangling is compression of the neck that may lead to unconsciousness or death by causing an increasingly hypoxic state in the brain. Fatal strangling typically occurs in cases of violence, accidents, and as the auxiliary lethal mechanism in hangings in the event the neck does not break. Strangling does not have to be fatal; limited or interrupted strangling is practised in erotic asphyxia, in the choking game, and is an important technique in many combat sports and self-defence systems.
In real life
Louis Althusser, French Marxist philosopher is infamous for strangling his wife on November 16, 1980 and not being tried for it. Althusser was diagnosed as suffering from diminished responsibility and committed to the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital. Althusser remained in hospital for three years.
In The Simpsons, when Homer finds out that his son, Bart has done or said something wrong or stupid, he yells, "Why you little—!" and strangles him in anger. Sometimes he does it for little to no reason at all.
Two notable strangulations occur in The Godfather:
- Early in the novel, shortly before Don Vito Corleone is attacked in front of his office, Luca Brasi visits Bruno Tattaglia and Sollozzo in a Tattaglia nightclub. Tattaglia distracts him with a drink and a cigarette, and Sollozzo pins Brasi's hand to the bar with a knife, then an unidentified murderer slips a garotte around Brasi's neck and pulls it tight.
- Near the end, after the climactic baptism scene with its multiple assassinations, Michael Corleone gives Carlo Rizzi a plane ticket and tells him to take a ride to the airport. After Carlo gets into the front seat, Peter Clemenza, in the back seat, says "Hello, Carlo," slips a garotte around his neck, and strangles him.
In both cases, Puzo notes the excretory consequences of strangulation: he states that "the sphincter" released "the body's waste" but does not specify which sphincter or what kind of waste. The movie omits this ugly detail and instead has Brasi's grimace and Rizzi kick through the windshield.