Monday, April 13, 2009

Mano A Mano

This weekend I watched the Winky Wright/Paul Williams bout after watching the documentary, Thrilla in Manila. Then I watched 300 which got me thinking about the epic battle scenes in Lord of the Rings. Movies, but more specifically, scenes like that really excite me. Just the hand-to-hand combat, the fearlessness, the honor, the men. I would love for a neuroscientist to study me. Hook up electrodes to my brain, play some violent images before me and monitor my brain activity. I've had a proclivity to violence; the old ECW, hardcore matches, the less-sanctioned UFC from the late 90's, shootfighting all that. I also understand "emotional violence", "honorable violence".

What would society be like today if warfare was still carried out the same way? Bill Maher caught a lot of flack for agreeing with one of his guests that the 9/11 terrorists were brave. What they did was terrible, inexcusable, wrong, but to sit in the cockpit of a plan and fly it into a building, knowing your own death is imminent takes a certain kind of person to do that, or just a certain state of mind. How many of us could play chicken at 50 mph? Just like the Spartans from 300, they went to battle practically naked with a shield and spear to fight one-on-one with another man out to kill them. Kamikaze pilots, anyone?

I wish people fought like that nowadays. When's the last good fist fight you've witnessed? If someone kicks my ass fair and square, fine. They were the stronger man and I gotta take my beating. But it happens too much nowadays, someone gets schooled by someone else's fists then shows up later and shoots people in the back. Cowards. Remember the gang members in the Jets and Sharks that pranced around with knives? They were brave.

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely more honor, more respect for your opponent and no desensitization when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. A warrior is forced to confront his fear of injury/death/capture and uncertainty of the outcome of a battle. That's why courage is a virtue to begin with but it's in the "old school" sense.

    Perhaps we would be involved in even less warfare if it were still face to face. Dropping a bomb from the sky is impersonal, you never look your enemy in the eye so in a certain way it's easier to live with doing that.

    We had a whole philosophical debate in one of my classes about the 9/11 terrorists especially the Susan Sontag quote that one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. It certainly takes some sort of fortitude but it's hard for people to say that because of the toll it took in American lives. It's hard to separate it from this personal thing that happened to "us."


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