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55999Re: Existentialism acknowledges soft things too

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  • Mary
    Jul 19, 2011
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      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "William" <v.valleywestdental@...> wrote:
      > I am suprised you are interested in boxing and ask what you are learning from the study.

      Bill,

      I was primarily drawn to the film artistry of Michael Mann, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Tom Stern. But there is something very honest in a purely violent yet fair, skillful, and consensual duel, one which is generally not motivated by capricious or cruel domination. As in other sports, an opponent may symbolize forces beyond one's control, and vicariously, spectators feel safe in releasing their own aggression. In this sense I see competitive sports as healthy and not at all gratuitous.

      I've not followed prize fighters since Roy Jones retired, but remain fascinated by their ability to absorb such intense physical abuse. As a thirteen year old verbally defending my little sister, I was punched in the nose, not hard enough to draw blood, but was surprised by how much it hurt! That anyone chooses such a profession boggles my mind. But of course, the three fighters in these films--one was fictitious--did exactly that, because they were poor and/or African-American. I became interested in Ali during his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for Conscientious Objector status during the Vietnam war draft. The result was an 8-0 decision in his favor. However I was then unfamiliar with Rubin Carter's story, one of egregiously direct racism and injustice.

      All three of these stories exemplify rare courage, and those who supported them had strong character as well. I suppose you were right about viewing some athletes' struggles as an apt metaphor, though not strictly regarding competition. Rather, they risk their lives in pursuit of life itself, and competitive boxing is their vehicle. Their admirers and committed supporters were likewise challenged and rewarded. The woman boxer in Millionaire Dollar Baby asked for assisted suicide from the very men responsible for training and befriending her; the Hurricane was unjustly imprisoned for 20 years but released through the persistence of Canadian activists; and Ali, now suffering with Parkinson's, dedicated his life to also fighting poverty and racism.

      I'm not sure what you mean by corrupt humanism, but for these fighters, powerfully corrupt individuals and institutions created circumstances which were ameliorated with the help of other individuals who also showed exceptonal courage.

      Mary
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