The 1980’s hit musical, “Cabaret” not only was excellent entertainment; but in addition, possessed great significance as a telling statement, a sermon on the subject of an important flaw in the human character. In the presentation, the cabaret patrons, evidently symbolizing the Berlin population, which in the 1930’s, mesmerized by the exotic entertainment, hosted by a demonic master of ceremonies (brilliantly played by Joel Grey) were able to irresponsibly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the horrific Nazi atrocities( particularly against the Jews) then concurrently taking place in the streets. The flaw exemplified was the unfortunate human tendency to avoid dealing with unpleasant occurrences by looking the other way.
To come at once to the main point, it is frustrating and painful to observe that over the great many decades we have all been patrons in attendance at a real-life cabaret, averting our eyes and attention from the cruel, atavistic and barbaric atrocity that is the sport of boxing.
America was rightfully outraged and disgusted at news that a certain NFL player was engaged in the business of the public staging of brutal dogfights. He was found out, fined and suspended from play (at least for a period of time to allow our dog loving public to cool off). Cock fighting, a traditional Latino event, as well as all bloody animal contests are illegal; a federal statute makes it no less than a felony, punishable up to five years in prison plus a fine of $250,000. It is well known that there are several agencies and foundations established to prevent cruelty to animals, such as the ASPCA, PETA and, WWF. (See: Blog # 37) .Movies that use animal actors uniformly display a notice, together with the film credits, that no animal was mistreated in the production of the film as an assurance to the moviegoer.
The controversial subject of school sport injuries, especially concussions, is gaining ever increasing attention. Concussions, we are advised, are incurred either by a significant blow to the head or by the cumulative repetition of lesser blows. Customized helmets are being developed in an attempt to lessen the occurrence of concussions in football and other contact sports. In some jurisdictions, the wearing of a protective helmet is mandatory for motorcycle and bicycle riders. It should be noted that there is a great deal of ongoing and heated debate concerning the issue of eliminating football and other contact sports altogether from school, notably, high school.
In fairness, it must be noted that football is not a “blood sport.” The theme of the sport is to earn goals and not to cause injury. However, the all too frequent collateral injuries during football play, provide many a cogent rationalization for the banning of the sport.
In this context, what does the legally approved activity of boxing (and even worse, cage fighting) reveal about the nature of our civilized society? In ancient Rome, considered a brutish society, unfortunate gladiators (often slaves or prisoners) engaged in deadly combat for their life, for the primitive amusement of the bloodthirsty spectators. This barbaric travesty went so far as to feature, historians reveal, deadly combat between dwarfs and women for public entertainment.
Unlike football, where injuries are unintended and are collateral to the play, the express, sole theme of boxing is the causation of disabling injury to the opponent. The more lethal the punch, the more points are awarded by referees, avid and enthusiastic experts in discerning high scoring serious injury. Ultimate success is attained by rendering the opponent unconscious, the ultimate act of victory; usually met with howls of approval from a highly stimulated audience. We are not professionally competent to diagnose the mental and physical health of professional boxers over the course of their career, but it is safe to expect that it is not salutary.
For some time, and presumably, for the foreseeable future, we all seem to be patrons of our American cabaret and look the other way. Perhaps the contrasting interest in school sport injuries may be explainable by the fact that the young players are identifiable, often our own children.
What quality of compassion, sanity and wisdom do we evince by expressly and properly outlawing cruelty to roosters and dogs and simultaneously providing legal status and societal permission to this immoral travesty regarding humans?
Willkommen zum Kabaret