Blood Sports

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Ecurb
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Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

The Hay Day of blood sports, I suppose, was also the prime of the Romnan Empire, when gladiators battled to the death for the delectation of the crowds. During the lunch break separating the fighting, executions were held, generally involving people being burned alive or devoured by wild beasts. The Romans loved these entertainments, and I think if we can withhold our squeamishness, we can see the attraction. In days when all men were soldiers (or potential soldiers) watching skilled gladiators must have been dramatic and educational.

Of course we still thrill to boxing and martial arts matches which, if less deadly, remain dangerous and dramatic.

Bull fighting, dog fighting and cock fighting also remain popular. I believe cock fighting is still legal in Louisiana (it was 20 years ago -- perhaps that has chnaged). Bull fighting, with its pageantry and drama and its faint resonance of mythic origin was beloved by Hemmingway and Michner. Dog fighting attracts violent anarchists, but also dog lovers, who admire the strength, courage and "gameness" of the combatants. Cock fighting is popular world wide. George Washington once invited Thomas Jefferson to cock fights at Mt. Vernon. Abraham Lincoln may have been less approving, and is reported to have said, "As long as the Almighty permits intelligent men created in His image to fight in public and kill each other while the world looks on approvingly, it is not for me to deprive chickens of the same privilege." Anthropologist Clifford Geertz described Balinese fighting cocks as "detachable, self-operating penises."

It's easy to deplore this taste for violence and death, but perhaps we should also try to understand it. Maybe it belongs to a time when physical courage was more important to us humans; when it was dulce et decorum to die for your country. It is facile to decry the blood lust of the afficianados, but if you listen to them, or read about them, they admire the gameness and courage of the combatants as a moral virtue, tested and displayed by violence and death.
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JDBowden
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by JDBowden »

Interesting post. Let me take a swing at this...

From my personal understanding, the gladiator games were far, far less bloody than what we have in mind. Why? They were highly trained, specialized athletes. That means, extraordinarily expensive to train, house, maintain, etc. Of course we cannot go back in time to see what it was truly like, but having a modern day romantic idea of it, as seen by the 2000 film, would be described as fiction.

Here is another thought. Whereas we do not (normally) have public spectacle of blood sport. Have we given thoughts to current video games? We are talking head-to-head face ripping, sniper shooting, head cut off, stabs, rapes, gangbangs, skin burning, gore of the earth and we do what? We give it to little 4 year old Johnny to play with his day care friends up to and including working professionals to the point where we now have "professional gamers." Literally. They are paid to be as violent as possible in a 1-on-1 or team vs. team competition. These gamer pros now attract audiences in a circular formation which could be argued as resembling the Colosseum. Not to mention, highly paid.

https://cdn1.dotesports.com/wp-content/ ... 33ed_k.jpg

"As for the best-paid eSports pros, they can expect to earn as much as $35,000 a month, which is a massive $420k per year, according to AFKGaming."

So it seems our classical blood sport has diminished, but our new "eSports" in terms of intensity has far outpaced anything similar to the point where individuals have trouble understanding what is "real" anymore.

jdb
"Our disturbances come only from our own opinions … everything that we see will change and no longer exist … the universe is change and life is opinion."

― Marcus Aurelius
Ecurb
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

I recently read an entire book about gladiators. It is true that many gladiator battles did not end in death -- but many did and the public executions at half-time were gory and dramatic.

I don't know much about e-sports, but perhaps you are right.

I've never been to a dof fight or a cock fight, but I have been to a bullfight. My favorite part is the very start, when the noble and vicious beast enters the arena, proud and fierce, looking for something to fight. The nobility and courage of the buil is essential to the drama and beautiful to see.
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JDBowden
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by JDBowden »

A dog and cock fight I see as a "fair" fight. As both are equal in terms of general ability. Not to mention, same species.

Let me guess. The matador won vs. the bull at the show you saw, yes? Of course.

Man vs. bull however, is hardly even defined as a fight. I see it as only ego and arrogance. Let me explain.. seeing how the matador is dressed up like a fairy prancing around with a cape to hide behind, trick, deceive. Not to mention swords and hooks. I find it hard to see any said beauty or drama in a one-sided taunting show. Now, if you put a guy in the ring with literally, nothing, only bare hands. Then sure, we could argue a sort of fight is taking place.

It is equal to "hunting" deer/etc... Shooting a deer from 500 meters out using a state-of-the-art high-powered scope, rifle and round hardly classifies as hunting. It is a 100% one-sided activity where your target has absolutely zero chance.

Need to get some old school deep south red neck boar hunting tactics back into rotation. Wait in a tree, and jump on top of the boar using your hands, MAYBE a knife. LOL ... and yes, I have seen this actually done before.
"Our disturbances come only from our own opinions … everything that we see will change and no longer exist … the universe is change and life is opinion."

― Marcus Aurelius
Ecurb
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

I don't think hunting was ever meant to be a "fair fight". I mean, it isn't fair for those lions and leopards, either, with their fangs and claws.

Bull fighting is a ritual; bulls were sacred in ancient times. And the Spanish fighting bull is a beautiful animal, both in it's form and movement, and in its courage. I'm not a bullfighting fan; I've seen two bullfights in Spain. But I've also read "Death in the Afternoon" and Michener's chapters on bullfighting and I can appreciate why they loved it so much. Anyone interested should read "Death in the Afternoon", Hemmingway's non-fiction book about bullfighting.
Ecurb
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

Bullfights are, I think, very Spanish. The Spanish admire a certain kind of hostile but honorable masculinity. Think of Flamenco. Compared to Broadway tap dancing (which it resembles), Flamenco portrays love as a battle: aggressive stomping first from the man, then the woman. Tap dancing shows love as, perhaps, more "light weight". Fancy free, and free for anything fancy (as the song goes).

The bull, it reminds us of the Bull from the Sea, that Poseiden sent to torment Crete. The queen, Pasiphe, fell in love with the magnigficent white bull. She had a bronze cow built, and got inside it and, well, it's hard to put this delicately, "knew" the White Bull. The offspring (you guessed it) was the Minotaur, man eating monster eventually slain by Theseus, the most problematic of all Greek heroes.

The bullfight echoes some of these themes: the sexual imagry of both the matador being gored, and the Bull being stabbed is obvious. So is the effeminate but highly masculine ritual behavior of the toreros. I'm not sure what's going on: but simple cruelty doesn't explain it.
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JDBowden
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by JDBowden »

At the end of the day, it is nothing but a cow. We can call it sacred or special etc. but it just isn't. It's a cow.

Yet to have a trained swordsman stabbing it for a show and spectators echos nothing more than machísmo, which the Spanish (and the rest of Latin America) crave. Why? Ego.
"Our disturbances come only from our own opinions … everything that we see will change and no longer exist … the universe is change and life is opinion."

― Marcus Aurelius
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chewybrian
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by chewybrian »

Ecurb wrote: August 4th, 2022, 10:48 pm Bullfights are, I think, very Spanish. The Spanish admire a certain kind of hostile but honorable masculinity. Think of Flamenco. Compared to Broadway tap dancing (which it resembles), Flamenco portrays love as a battle: aggressive stomping first from the man, then the woman. Tap dancing shows love as, perhaps, more "light weight". Fancy free, and free for anything fancy (as the song goes).

The bull, it reminds us of the Bull from the Sea, that Poseiden sent to torment Crete. The queen, Pasiphe, fell in love with the magnigficent white bull. She had a bronze cow built, and got inside it and, well, it's hard to put this delicately, "knew" the White Bull. The offspring (you guessed it) was the Minotaur, man eating monster eventually slain by Theseus, the most problematic of all Greek heroes.

The bullfight echoes some of these themes: the sexual imagry of both the matador being gored, and the Bull being stabbed is obvious. So is the effeminate but highly masculine ritual behavior of the toreros. I'm not sure what's going on: but simple cruelty doesn't explain it.
It may be more than simple cruelty for the spectators or human participants, but not so to the bull. I don't know whether you want to romanticize this to justify it or to dissect it or judge the morality of the "game". I don't think anything justifies cruelty that is not necessary, which would include bullfighting or sport hunting, to me. I think we (humans) can do a little better than that (most of us, we should hope).
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."
Ecurb
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

I actually meant to analyze the attraction, not to either condemn or justify. However, bullfighting is not much more cruel than any other method of attaining beef. The fighting bulls probably lead better lives (until they are killed) than beef cattle. It is reasonable to decry the blood lust that is doubtless part of the attraction for spectators, though.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Ecurb wrote: August 3rd, 2022, 8:05 pm It's easy to deplore this taste for violence and death, but perhaps we should also try to understand it. Maybe it belongs to a time when physical courage was more important to us humans; when it was dulce et decorum to die for your country. It is facile to decry the blood lust of the afficianados, but if you listen to them, or read about them, they admire the gameness and courage of the combatants as a moral virtue, tested and displayed by violence and death.
I think you have it here: this blood-lust is an anachronism, perhaps one that we should've grown out of by now?
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Ecurb
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by Ecurb »

Pattern-chaser wrote: August 5th, 2022, 11:39 am
Ecurb wrote: August 3rd, 2022, 8:05 pm It's easy to deplore this taste for violence and death, but perhaps we should also try to understand it. Maybe it belongs to a time when physical courage was more important to us humans; when it was dulce et decorum to die for your country. It is facile to decry the blood lust of the afficianados, but if you listen to them, or read about them, they admire the gameness and courage of the combatants as a moral virtue, tested and displayed by violence and death.
I think you have it here: this blood-lust is an anachronism, perhaps one that we should've grown out of by now?
The flip side is that blood-lust celebrates our atavistic nature. Sport hunting is another example.

We have distanced death. Modern medicine, hospitals, and hospice care allow us to do so. In the past, by the time a child grew up he had probabluy seen people die in his own house. In a way, this distance is a good thing. It has shielded and protected us. But it also allows us to ignore reality.
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JDBowden
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Re: Blood Sports

Post by JDBowden »

Ecurb wrote: August 5th, 2022, 12:00 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: August 5th, 2022, 11:39 am
Ecurb wrote: August 3rd, 2022, 8:05 pm It's easy to deplore this taste for violence and death, but perhaps we should also try to understand it. Maybe it belongs to a time when physical courage was more important to us humans; when it was dulce et decorum to die for your country. It is facile to decry the blood lust of the afficianados, but if you listen to them, or read about them, they admire the gameness and courage of the combatants as a moral virtue, tested and displayed by violence and death.
I think you have it here: this blood-lust is an anachronism, perhaps one that we should've grown out of by now?
The flip side is that blood-lust celebrates our atavistic nature. Sport hunting is another example.

We have distanced death. Modern medicine, hospitals, and hospice care allow us to do so. In the past, by the time a child grew up he had probabluy seen people die in his own house. In a way, this distance is a good thing. It has shielded and protected us. But it also allows us to ignore reality.


I think death has not distanced, but rather the opposite. Back to the video games I mentioned earlier. We "relax" after work now by playing games and killing thousands of people with an arsenal of weaponry. We blow off, chew off, rape off their faces. It is now normal to snipe someone and throw grenades. We even have a term for it: desensitization... Far more extreme than playing dress-up and sticking a sword into some cow.
"Our disturbances come only from our own opinions … everything that we see will change and no longer exist … the universe is change and life is opinion."

― Marcus Aurelius
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