Monday, November 23, 2009

Caged

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I've never watched an entire cage match, only a minute or so. I find it fascinating like a car wreck: can't not look but then wish I hadn't. I'm not talking about the phony-baloney wrestling cage events, I'm talking about these Ultimate Fighter competitions, in which two guys literally beat the crap out of each other until somebody gives up or dies.

Humans are such a contradictory species. Without any natural fighting weapons – fangs, claws, stinger, venom, strength – we are still the single-most violent animal on the planet. We're the only one that fights for entertainment, for things we want but don't need, over control of the TV channel changer.

But even though I have an elitist/pacifist attitude toward violence, I admit I'm still attracted to it. My favorite sport is hockey and I enjoy reading or watching shoot'em-up stories about good guys blowing away bad guys. But I think a part of controlling our violent nature is to realize it is part of our nature. I've always found it easier to behave ethically if I recognize my ability to behave unethically. I wouldn't take a job as a college professor, for instance, because I prefer to remain faithful to my wife.

When I see these "cage fighters," I often wonder what kinds of horrifying places they must have come from to have honed these kinds of skills to such a high level. (Same with Dick Cheney.) It's probably good to toss them in a cage and let them duke it out where they can't hurt anyone else. In fact, I'm thinking of bringing a cage home for the holidays.

11 comments:

Josh said...

You say that humans have no natural fighting weapons. What about our minds?

IBerg said...

I think you should sit down and watch an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) event with someone who knows the sport. If you can stomach Hockey, you should (I would think) be able to appreciate the level of skill and training necessary to enter a cage. I have become a huge fan of MMA. It is quite different now than it was back in the early 90's. It used to be something closer to a carnival side-show when it first started, but has evolved into a beautiful sport (if punching someone in the face can ever be seen as beautiful). The knowledge base and physical training to get to the highest levels is amazing. It is also a nice replacement for boxing, which has been absolutely ruined in my opinion.

I am not affiliated with MMA in any way other than just being a fan. I just wanted to share my love of the sport. If you are ever in Chicago and would like to give MMA an opened minded shot, I'd love to buy you a beer and explain the sport further.

Huh said...

I think you're wrong about other species not fighting for entertainment. My dogs snap and bite at each other, jump around and rough-house all over my living room. Then they start grooming each other. They're just having fun, even though it looks a bit violent.

Apes fight for no good reason all the time. Because one stepped next to a tree the other has claimed.

Dolphins scrape each other with their teeth. Sometimes to scratch an itch, sometimes because they're annoyed with each other. There are many examples from nature to which our own incomprehensible behavior can be compared.

Duncan said...

I wouldn't worry too much about humans being the only species that uses violence for fun. Their is plenty of evidence out there that dolphins do too!

Scotty C said...

Well Dan, I do understand what you're saying but I myself am a vegan animal rights activist, and have always been interested in martial arts - and now UFC. It is the culmination of many martial arts, and granted although it can be extremely bloody, the refs are incredible at stopping a fight before things get out of hand and someone is truly injured.
But you have to look up Mac Danzig who is a complete vegan, and currently fights in the UFC - really nice guy!

idsvil said...

George Carlin had a bit once where he suggested that we take all these "tough guys", all these "he-men" and put them on an island, feed them beer, meat and LSD for a month and have them beat the Sh#% out of each other until there is one left, and then as a reward for being the last one standing, he gets shot in the head. Probably too hard to organize, though. Maybe we could start out by sweeping up all these worthless gangbangers terrorizing American cities, dropping them off in Afghanistan, and telling these tough guys some Taliban just 'dissed' them...
Gosh, I miss ol' George.

Anonymous said...

And then, with the fighters, there's that genuine pleasure they seem to get from with taking turns being on top in missionary position as they hit each other as if to say, "I don't LIKE you, if that's what you're thinking!" (I have the fascination revulsion too, for a couple minutes every few years.) I just say kiss and get on with your lives. Lot less painful to just admit to the feelings.

PS: LOVE the twig breaking on the window cartoon yesterday/ LA Times.

Anonymous said...

It's rather disingenuous to say that humans are the most violent animals on the planet. We're capable of the most destruction, but there are a lot of animals that are more violent than we are, on average. That includes basically any predator. It's not the eating meat that's violent. It's the killing part.

Also, I realize that the intention is good, but I'd be careful not to demonize sports like mixed martial arts. The car ride to a professional event is probably more deadly than the fight.

It takes a lot of discipline to become a good fighter, and I suspect that, like you said, these fighters may have had difficult lives. But, I also suspect that the sport has done more direct good than bad, by turning dangerous violent people into disciplined, yet still potentially violent people.

Anonymous said...

If you get that cage for the holidays, I'm bringing a few people over to help 'entertain' the people you put in there. It'll be my gift to my family. Also, I'll bring you food as, uh, 'rent' I guess? For letting me add to the cage.

doug nicodemus said...

i did think this one was that funny but they ran the "kitten on the head" one in the parade on sunday and it's on the refrigerator..thanks for all you do do

The Good Atheist said...

Hey Dan,

I love your art, but I have to tell you that you might want to look at more examples of nature of violence. You'll find that human beings aren't special in our propensity for violence. Even dolphins kill their own for no damn reason; the difference with us is that we have the technological capability for it to escalate, but apart from that, we aren't the only ape that practices genocide either. Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be.