Trashy Talk

August 26th, 2017 will, for boxing fans, be a memorable day. That will be the day on which Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather fights Conor ‘Notorious’ McGregor, not for any title, nor for fame (they are each already quite famous,) but perhaps for ego, and for a paycheck which could increase the standard of living for all the citizens in a small developing nation.

The press conferences (read: promotional events) leading up to the upcoming fight have, so far, been ‘over the top’. Boasting, disrespectful comments, name-calling, swearing, insults, death threats… it really has played out, as so many other similar events do, like a childish playground pissing contest, as it were. In everyday life, an insult leading to a physical confrontation is grounds for litigation, so why do it? It is as if they needed a reason to fight, besides the huge payday.

The public is being led to believe, in the interest of showmanship, that these two combatants are really angry with each other and hate each other deeply. The fans are not stupid; they have probably witnessed many other such contests after which the two boxers congratulate each other, speak graciously, and give each other the credit to which they are both rightly due. Whether or not there is genuine animosity between the two ‘men’ (which I doubt,)  There must be another reason given for them to engage in the brutality which is sure to ensue. That reason, you guessed it, is ‘the cheddar’.

Boxing has become an enormous moneymaker, not just for the fighters, but for the promoters, the venue owners, the Pay-Per-View affiliates, the merchandisers, and on and on… but wouldn’t the revenue generated be the same whether or not the fighters insulted each other? Wouldn’t everyone involved stand to gain the same amount if events such as these did not degenerate into dramatic soap operas and shouting matches? This point is debatable, but doubtful. Conflict breeds interest.

It can be argued that this sort of behaviour serves to prime, not only the fans, but the participants themselves. Is there an advantage in tricking yourself into believing that you really do hate your opponent, and that your anger towards him will give you an edge? Ironically, most martial artists would disagree. What is required in combat is a steely nerve and focus, both of which become blurred when under the influence of emotion and/or personal gain. There is a job to be done, and emotions introduce other influences which tend to distract from it. If you are thinking about your hurt feelings, then you are not concentrated on the task at hand. It is said that, in feudal Japan, for example, the best way to avoid a fight with a samurai was to anger him, for rage represents a loss of control just when control is what is most crucially needed.

This sort of behaviour certainly does not set a good example for the youth watching, and does nothing to promote good sportsmanship, despite the fact that they will invariably ‘hug it out’ afterwards. It is actually quite hypocritical, so why do it in the first place?

What it does is set the tone for all the attention an event of this magnitude needs in order to generate the profits desired by all involved. It’s all about the hype. Hype equals attention, and attention generates revenue. It’s as simple as that.

Vasy Lomachenko reacts to Conor McGregor… (Lomachenko won the WBO featherweight title in his third professional fight.)

(02:31)

But what does this say about our society, that we must be whipped into a frenzy before we can enjoy a technical contest between two superbly well-trained athletes? Is it not enough that they are competing for a nine-figure payout? Why does anger have to enter into it at all? The Olympics do not need it, and reflect an opposite position, and those games are unquestionably the largest and most popular sporting event on the planet. If Olympic athletes behaved in this way, they would surely be sanctioned, and might even be banned.

What is it about us and our need to suspend our own disbelief in these cases? Is it an outlet, a proxy for our own frustrations? Is it a way for us to expel our pent-up rage through others? Is this, and events like it, what keeps us from exhibiting our anger towards those who do us wrong in our everyday lives? Is there an innate need for violence in the human psyche? If so, it may be a necessary evil, and a good thing.

Any way one looks at it, it’s bound to be a helluva fight.

 

ZIKARIO is not a Brazilian Footballer

Is it snobbery, is it paranoia, is it legitimate fear, or is it all nonsense?

Seventeen athletes have, so far, declined the invitation to got o the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil citing the danger of zika. Even the USOC has said it ‘would understand’.

The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.

A few athletes from Britain have chosen to remain at home, as well. Greg Rutherford froze some sperm before leaving.

Australian athletes have been issued thicker, coated, zika-proof condoms, and will attend. (It’s Rio, after all; who’s kidding whom?)*

The Koreans have developed a zika-proof uniform. (Presumably, a larger version of the Australian solution.)

The Chinese athletes got some health advice.

Some have  gone very far out of their way to find a necessarily convoluted reason to slip the word ‘zika’ into their article, obviously trying to capitalize on the click-bait nature of the modern wwweb. It goes to show to what lengths some will go to in order to hype a story. Stories that are broadly good for the media raise all their boats and so see the most attention. It has precious little to do with what’s really going on. Besides, the press are not under any obligation to tell you everything. They don’t have the resources to cover everything, after all. The following article is a good example of click-bait.

Rio 2016 Olympics: Zika threat bugging Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan

“The threat of Zika at the Rio Olympics is on the mind of many athletes but few more so than China’s former badminton world champion Wang Yihan, who was attacked mercilessly by insects while competing in Indonesia last week.”

“They’re itchy,” she told Reuters…

Itchy?!? Is that all? That seems pretty weak. So what?

“I’m really not sure what kind of bugs they were. I don’t think they were mosquitoes. Maybe it was on the bed that I was sleeping on.”

Oh, bedbugs. Indonesian bedbugs, no less.

“I bought some cream for them, but they’re still itchy.”

Great setup for the zika scare story. By the way, ‘Zika’ is always capitalized.

When asked about zika:

“Yes, I think everyone’s been thinking about (Zika),” Wang said. “But obviously we’ve been told about how to be safe, wearing repellent and staying indoors and so on.”

She doesn’t seem too concerned, does she?

What’s with all the hype?

Thankfully there is some truth out there, if you read Portuguese.

“I don’t know where it comes from this information that children up to seven years would be the most susceptible, but it is not so,” he says. -trans. (Yandex)

There is a lot of evidence (and common sense) which indicate that zika should not be a significant threat, not to mention the fact that many tourists would be going to Rio, Olympics or no Olympics.

Anyhow, as Vox reports, August isn’t mosquito season in Rio.

“It’s going to be winter [during the Olympics], so the risk is going to be low in terms of mosquito transmission,” said Duane Gubler, a leading researcher on mosquito-borne diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School.

But if you like your fear even more ‘porny’, here’s a scary story from China, which rebuts the ‘winter’ claim. It hasn’t deterred Chinese athletes from attending, though. I suppose, when one grows up with dragons, a little mosquito isn’t really  that bad.

*There’s also a more disturbing plot affot. Remember those Australian condoms? Reuter’s, CNN, RT, the Guardian (and several other British papers) have all pushed the story, but it turns out to have been a marketing gimmick. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Here’s the thing: all condoms protect against Zika infection when used correctly.

So is this a case of snobbery? Do certain athletes from certain countries not want to participate because of Brazil’s third-world status? It didn’t keep them out of the world cup, did it? Or is this a political move aimed at the scandalous behaviour of the government? Maybe it’s just good old-fashion fear-mongering. Should we all be afraid all the time? Or is this something else?

Are mosquitos (humanity’s natural vaccinators – they hold disease in check by exposing everyone’s immune system to very small doses of it) to be the new ‘boogey-man’? Whatever could be the reason? Is a vaccine in the works? You bet!

The discovery “could lead to the development of a universal vaccine” against both diseases, they hoped.

Much of South America suffers from pollution, economic strife (which causes shortages in medicine,) and food shortages, and  and the CDC states that microcephaly is caused primarily by toxins, infections, and malnutrition. Is it any wonder Brazil is a ‘hot-spot’ for zika, mosquitos or not?

A bit of advice for those going to Brazil: Don’t lose your pretty little heads over it.

.

*Update*

Q: “Who Owns the Zika Virus?

A: “Of significance, the Zika virus is a commodity which can be purchased online from the ATCC-LGC for 599 euros, with royalties accruing to the Rockefeller Foundation.”