I viewed MILLION DOLLAR BABY on TV last night ….ah, yes, and I got another induction into American right wing ideology.
The thing about right wingism is that it undermines the premises of the movie’s tragic form. You cannot have a real tragedy, I tend to think, if the events that lead up to the tragic result are rather avoidable.
Here’s the thing. According to this movie, you Americans need to get better referees to quality control the game between your women fighters. Just as is the case for the men, any blows that deliberately go below the belt should be the basis for disqualification. That way the integrity of boxing as a sport — rather than the degeneration of boxing into a blood sport — is upheld.
But right wingers always do too little and too late. Perish the thought that anyone from Maggie’s party could have intervened on her behalf to assure that she had a fair fight when her opponent was fighting dirty. Yet when she is more or less literally mortified upon a hospital bed as a paraplegic, sympathy and attention to the reality of her situation starts to kick in. It is when she is in her gangrenous state that she truly attracts the loyalty of her “boss” and trainer. Too little, too late — but this is what right wing pseudo-tragedies are made of. There is never any point intervening in reality — which is presumed to have a mind of its own, in any case beyond the power of human beings to intervene in it — until the point when extreme morbidity takes over, and the right winger is suddenly to be found in his true element (the psychological state of a shared morbidity). It is only once he is in this condition that the right winger can suddenly act decisively. Things really have to get this bad for him to start to get an intuition about what to do.
Yes — killing the wounded is never easy, but this kind of situation gives the right winger the tragic image of himself that he so craves. He has been forced to act at last — but not by his analysis or perceptions of a situation. He requires, for his vanity, that fate itself should move his hand.
And so, we have, finally, a story about euthanasia, and not about boxing at all.
The boxing I did see in this movie was very good. But — nobody comes out of their corner like a rabid pit bull terrier, ready to lay in a set of teeth, do they? I mean, I’ve seen Danny Green fight, and the approach I’m used to is much more cautious, with a kind of testing the waters, feeling out the opponent for the first two rounds. I realise, however, that what represented in the movie were 4 and 6 round fights, and DG’s fight was scheduled to last for 12 rounds. So this difference probably has an impact on fighter strategy.
1. The movie starts with a close up of a cut on the cheekbone of a black fighter. The wound is opened up by further blows, from which the fighter fails to defend himself adequately. A close up is drawn of the newly opened wound, dripping fresh blood. It looks like a stigmata.
2. The protagonist states that “in boxing everything is backwards”, for instance “one goes towards pain, rather than moving away from it”. Similarly, Christ, going to his execution.
Is there any question that the writer’s intention was to portray an inevitable execution, brought about by passively allowing the forces of fate to impose their form on life in a way that a right wing — therefore pessimistic — theoretician would already anticipate as having to be negative? But didn’t the very passivity of the protagonist, though obliging fate but not his own will, unconsciously serve to bring about this dire result?