As I was drug into the lounge with the accompaniment of light cajoling and plea’s from my friend, trying to convince me that it was an egregious travesty that I had not yet seen this movie, I could only shake my head and steel myself for the usual drudgery and disgust that follow after any viewing of physical violence, even one so shined up as Cinderella Man.
Before I continue, I should perhaps explain that for some time I have been a strong believer in the idea of Non-Violence. The brutality and senselessness I find in violence in any form have been with me my whole life, and more recently I have been trying to filter out what I deem as useless for me, be it in mass media, the people I am around, and even the way I have been brought up to think. It is a tedious process, given how ingrained most of us are with a fascination towards violence in many forms. So, my agreeing to watch this film about boxing was something I would usually think of as superfluous on many different levels, not to mention a small step in the opposite direction of where I have been trying to get, a two hour session of uncomfortableness I was subjecting myself to as a favor to a friend.
But hell, it had RenÃ©e Zellweger with a Boston accent, so I would give it a shot, I reasoned. I could always close my eyes if it went too far beyond the line my nonviolent tendencies had drawn in the sand.
140 minutes later, I was rearing for a fight. I pushed and poked at my friend, hoping he would retaliate so we could go toe to toe in our own impromptu boxing match. I stared down strangers in the elevator, sizing them up, deciding if I could take em, and even planning out what jabs and uppercuts I might throw in the potential ensuing fight. I was relying heavily on my naturally quick southpaw and light feet to counteract those wicked combos I had convinced myself the barista at the coffee shop could throw. I was the Bulldog of Burgundy, the people’s champion, fighting for freedom and liberty and goddamn it if that man across the street didn’t look like a fellow who hated both of those things, and maybe a couple of boxed ears might change his mind, eh?!
Well, needless to say, I didn’t actually get in any fights. And it wasn’t until the next day that I realized how a simple hollywood film changed my whole perspective and attitude. I should probably mention that I have not turned into a raging brawler. But for a good three hours after coming into contact with that media outlet, it had the profound effect of making me throw some of my core beliefs out the window. Should we get rid of films like this, since they seem to breed violence in people? Probably not. However, we should be aware of the effect that they can have on each of us personally, and not get too carried away by whatever thing the industry throws at us next, with a big glamourous ribbon around it to help beautify an otherwise less than appealing subject. It’s ultimately up to you, the receiver of that information, to decide how you will interpret it, and what you will choose to take out of that interpretation.