WESTERN un-CIVILIZATION


Notwithstanding that the U.S. population is the most recent manifestation and perhaps the jewel in the crown of Western Civilization, this same population can and often does exhibit a shallowness with respect to values that defies all logic. Consider: At present, the most popular TV programs appear to be the "reality shows," for which the kindest description could be that they're just crude, a pandering to voyeurism having to do with everything from near-nude people cavorting on an island (supposedly - no one knows) to the meat market stuff endemic to the shows hyping the public viewing of what, at least regarding the animal world, is called the "mating dance." Or, the biggest hype of the year is reserved for the Super Bowl, the most recent half-time show of which featured bare-breast-groping and lewd so-called dances designed to titillate anyone with the mindset and hormones of a high school sophomore boy.

Indeed, the world of sports is perhaps the most graphic entity purveying the crass/gross aspect of society. The most valuable player on a National Football League team is the guy who can give the opposing quarterback a concussion as early in the game as possible. This "sport" is characterized by players' bodily celebrations after each play that suggest climax/orgasm carried to the nth degree of ecstasy, players undulating their crotches or banging their chests against each other or doing the crotch-hop-skip-jump-tango while taunting whichever opposing player is flat on his back. Disgusting!

No absurdity, however, matches that of the lionization of boxers, men who if they performed their "craft" in an alley would go to jail, but who in the ring are acclaimed as everything from God's gift to humanity to role model extraordinaire to noble hero to epitome of greatness to whatever else ad nauseam ad infinitum. In truth, they are legalized murderers, since their objective is to render another human being unconscious, the best guarantor of that condition being death itself. Notwithstanding the head-hunting of the NFL, where helmets are at least worn, boxing is the only sport in which the goal is to hurt, maim, befog, bloody, and otherwise destroy the container of the main difference between man and beast, the brain, and therefore the power to reason.

In the city-budget of Louisville, Ky., is an expenditure of $80,000 to be used in creating a statue of Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, once and sometime heavyweight champion, whose name also appears on what used to be historic Walnut Street but now is Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Scheduled to undergo construction last May in the city's downtown is the $43.5 million Muhammad Ali Center, with the state of Kentucky kicking in $10 million of the cost (hard-earned taxpayer money) - all this to honor a man who, for money, knocked other men senseless.

The irony lies in the fact that Louisville has been the scene for years of astounding medical achievements in areas such as treatment for heart disease and the reattaching of severed limbs or implantation of limbs. The clinical trial for the AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart was conducted in Louisville, and the Jarvik-7 artificial heart of the 80s was implanted in a patient by a Louisville doctor, William DeVries. Drs. Dowling and Gray recently implanted an AbioCor heart in a man who was near death.

Louisville is recognized as the "hand-surgery capitol of the world." The method of reattaching hands was pioneered there by Dr. Harold Kleinert, and he and his colleagues at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute have trained more than 1,100 hand surgeons in 58 countries. In 1977, the first successful bilateral arm replant was done in Louisville. Much more could be said, but the point is that gifted doctors such as these men deserve statues, streets named after them, and world acclaim. Such acclaim is reserved, instead, for an individual interested in maiming, not healing.

The same could be said for Cincinnati. There is a street there called the Ezzard Charles Drive, so named for another heavyweight champion in 1977 by changing its name, ironically, from the Lincoln Park Drive. This is the city where Dr. Albert B. Sabin, renowned former member of the University of Cincinnati medical-school staff for 30 years, brought into existence the oral serum/vaccine to protect against polio. Dr. Sabin also developed a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis. The point: Those whose achievements in behalf of helping mankind on a scale so grand that they defy comprehension are hardly known, if at all, in a general way, while men who knocked other men senseless for millions of dollars are considered heroes. One could hardly imagine a sadder commentary on the society than this state of affairs. Disgusting.

Lest this be construed as racist or discriminatory, since Ali and Charles (now deceased) represent African Americans, the same holds true for arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Rocky Marciano, a white man who held the heavyweight title 1952-56 and was the only undefeated champion of all weight classes, winning all of his 49 bouts, 43 of them via knockouts. This also is not a personal condemnation, since there is room for disagreement on all that has been written here. It is to point out: (1) Boxing, rather than being a sport, is an exercise in thuggery, and (2) The society has a terribly misplaced sense of values.

It is abundantly obvious that in the name of political correctness the achievements and value of Western Civilization are being denigrated by especially the mainstream media and a multitude of college/university faculty-members, resulting in the un-civilizing of Western Civilization. The society's obsession with the trivial/banal and the gross, such as reality shows and boxing, is proof that something vital is being lost. This nation has achieved a modicum of greatness, but it is now in danger of sacrificing that greatness on the altar of the obscene.

ROLE MODEL

Role model was he…so everyone said,
He stung like a bee…inflicted deep dread;
With butterfly glide, he shuffled just right,
Would sharply deride each one he would fight;
He smashed fragile brains…his living - no more,
Like capital gains…or, running a store;
From back-alley brawls men may go to jail,
From legalized brawls…no need to seek bail;
An art, some insist…in great hall or mud -
An art-form of fist…on canvas of blood;
Character-builder…such sport makes a man!
No! death-blow wielder makes sport of a man;
Character-building is found in a trench
Where death-blow wielding is free of all stench
When freedom is served, mankind to protect,
And strong men are nerved…their safety reject;
Character-building is found in each place
Where folks shield themselves from sloth and disgrace
Through honest, hard work…through helping the weak,
Their tasks never shirk, while they never seek
Respect that derives from hurting for gain -
Disgrace that contrives respect from sheer pain;

Role model was he…so everyone said,
That butterfly-bee…could knock a man dead.