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Bad Sport

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I suppose that I shouldn't be shocked. The celebration of brutality for its own sake is scarcely novel in our "culture." Compared to the open gloating about the possibility of many of our soldiers coming back in body bags that was so common prior to Desert Storm, this article ["Fight Like a Man," September 9] was mild.

Nevertheless, let us examine what is being celebrated here. A group of young women went out, and beat each other bloody, because they enjoyed doing it, and others enjoyed watching them. That is, by definition, what occurs during boxing. Incredibly, one is left with the suggestion that the increased willingness of these young women to practice violence against each other, and to be the victims of this pointless, sadistic violence, should be viewed as a victory for feminism! While, of course, open-minded, "progressive" men will sit back, get off on watching them do this to each other, congratulating themselves for having such good attitudes toward women.

The participants freely choose to do this? Any pimp or pusher can offer the same defense. As civilized human beings, we aren't supposed to offer support, or even silence, when others engage in self-destructive behavior, much less facilitate such behavior, or enjoy watching it. Just how cool would it have been if one of your promising young scholars had suffered irreparable brain damage? Or if your "aspiring model" had been disfigured? How about if one of them died? As for the thrill and intensity--that's true for any violent act. Should we bring back the gladiatorial games? I understand that they were even more intense.

Please do not try to pretend that this piece was "objective" or "neutral." By repeating the arguments of those who favor this, and not even mentioning the opposition, you gave up all pretense of balance. How about talking to some of the physicians who've treated some of the victims of this "sport"--people whose minds and bodies will never be whole again? Or some of those victims and those close to them? How about talking to a representative of the American Medical Association, which has called for the legal abolition of boxing, and asking him why? But the worst part, surely, was the attempt to portray the women here as determined young heroes--encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

Yes, men have been doing this to each other for generations--and what a screwed up bunch we've been encouraged to be. But now, apparently, "progress toward equality" means, not showing all equal concern, but rather, being equally callous toward all. I quote from your own article: "Chris hates to lose. When you hate to lose, you'll do anything to win. Chris, when she gets in the ring--I hate to say this, it's my wife--she would think nothin' of killing you, maiming you. She wants to hurt you; that's the killer instinct."

This attitude has spread to a place where it was not seen before, and it is claiming victims who were not at risk before. And we think that this is a good thing.

Joseph Dunphy

Chicago

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