In common with other informed members of the public, we were able to breathe a grateful sigh of relief regarding the news that Buffalo Bills,’ 24-year-old, Damar Hamlin is, now, expected to survive. Hamlin’s near-mortal injury, as reported, was, incurred, in the course of a violent tackle, during a professional league, football game. The incident re-ignited our eternal abhorrence of violence, most especially, for the questionably moral, purpose of spectator amusement.
The occurrences of painful, life-sustaining injuries, even death, are predictable, events in the context of the aptly, called, “contact sports.” However, the acquisition of substantial profits derived from the public’s accepted, perverse and barbaric pleasure, spectating human beings in physical competition commonly, productive of pain and suffering, seems to override, socially, humanistic inclinations. On numerous occasions, we have been present at homes, where televised football games were being viewed, and recall the loud, ecstatic and congratulatory cries of “great hit,” at the occurrences of the most violent blocks and tackles.
It is ironic, to note that, in the interest of propriety, the sadistically, cruel exhibition of cockfights and pit-bull conflicts, are illegal by State Statute. Such empathy and respect appropriately accorded to the State’s roosters and dogs are not, in this “compassionate,” Nation, extended to human beings. Boxing is and has always been, legal and popular, in the United States. Champion boxers are awarded star status, and treated as celebrities, for their brutal, effectiveness in the delivery of unrelenting, physical cruelty to their opponents. In such savage “sport,” unlike football, there are no complex considerations of tactical play strategy, no, runs, blocks, kicks and goals, but, simply, hard, injury intended, punching.
In the event of a failure, of the officially, designated, conclusion of the match (consisting of one combatant, savagely, and successfully, striking his opponent with sufficient, savage blows to the head, as to cause him to fall down and be rendered, unconscious, or comatose, (the reverenced, “knockout,”) points are justly earned and officially, awarded by the referee and judges, for the most, potentially, damaging hits, most often, to the head.
We would recommend to the reader, in this context, an eye-opening, classic movie, entitled, “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” in which the tragically, debilitated life of a long-time boxer, is painfully, and compassionately, depicted. The protagonist of the movie portrays the boxer’s pitiful loss of normal brain function, an empirically, predictable, result of a boxing career.
What sort of judgmental observation can be rationally, comprehended, regarding an evolved, sentient species of planetary fauna, that evinces the bizarre, contrary capacities, to derive pleasure from reading a Jane Austin masterpiece, enjoy the pantheistic, beauty of Wordsworth’s poetics, or the humanistic, authorship of John Steinbeck, while, simultaneously, possessing the perverse inclination to savor the witness of an intentional and barbaric, mutual infliction of pain and injury, by boxing combatants, or between competing, team players, engaged in a violent, contact sport?
We are able to conjure up two possibilities, in resolution of this strange confluence of contrasting, human traits. In our view, the most probable of the two is that the multi-faceted, persona of humankind is capable of contrasting, even divergent, traits and behaviors, regarding which, the contemplative, sensitive individual has the innate capacity to employ any one of the same, as desired, or, secondly, that the essential will of man is insecure and fluctuates, as he is bidden, by external stimuli, e.g. advertisement, other, tasteless, humans.
We would prefer, and therefore, opt, to select the first possible explanation, regarding the capability of choice. If such reasoning is correct, one will have, revealingly demonstrated the true nature of his innate persona by his evaluation of recreational choice.
It should be empirically noted and instructively, observed, that those individuals, with the good fortune to possess the inclination to explore sources of internal (intellectual) benefits of aesthetic pleasure or amusement, are especially, rewarded in ways that are lasting, and conducive to their personal advancement and, as well, to the decency and humanistic growth of their Society.