Today I saw a video about why an essayist thinks “battle royale” games are popular. They said it was an expression of sinfulness mixed with wanting to belong. I say it is just a sign of the west regressing back to the paganism of old replete with a move back to gladiatorial games.
The letter I sent in reply to him was as follows:
I found your comments on the br genre interesting, but I feel you are missing something. They are basically the modern form of gladiatorial combat. When St Peter saw the gladiator arena in Rome, he was disgusted. St Peter noticed the people in the arena were just pawns being used by the audience. The audience was using the slaves in the arena vicariously to live out their own bloodthirsty desires. St Peter noted that the audience projected themselves into the shoes of the fighters, and we’re not just watching but absorbing the accomplishments of the fighters as if they were their own.
This is shown by how gladiatorial games were banned originally. The emperor’s favorite priest was invited to Rome, and his attendants were ordered to show him around while the emperor was busy. The attendants got the priest into the coliseum to see the biggest fight in a while; a duel. The priest was appalled and jumped into the arena and stopped the gladiators from fighting.
The two gladiators were shocked that anyone would consider them human enough to save, but the arena was immediately swarmed by the crowd. The priest and the gladiators were then beaten to death by the crowd, as they had came their for blood and wish fulfillment and they were going to get it. When the emperor found out about this, he had the coliseum shut down and everyone in the seats that day publicly executed because he had seen that this vicarious bloodthirst turned his people into monsters.
GK Chesterton said that jazz music marked a strange return to this kind of thing. In the past, music was a community activity, but jazz marked a paradigm shift towards a slave/master relationship in music. The musician on stage gets to pretend to be the master for some time, famed over by the audience, but in reality it is the audience that is in control. The gladiator pretends to be superhumans and dominant when in the ring, but should they ever stop fighting the crowd would remind them what they really are. Chesterton said that should a jazz musician test just how in control he is, by sitting down in the middle of a performance and asking the audience to play for him, that the jazz musician would be dragged into a back alley and killed for his insolence just like a gladiator who had thought too much of himself.
Eventually jazz turned into rock music and the full return to the gladiator style of entertainment came back. The people who watched an rock band play, do so not to enjoy music but instead imagine they are instead on stage playing themselves. They turned these musicians into stars not because they liked them, but just so that the crowd could pretend the accomplishments of the musician were there own. Yet, should the musician get a big head and think they were the ones in control, they would be dropped or worse by the same people who claimed to worship them.
The performer pretends to be a master but is really a slave. The audience pretends to be a slave living vicariously through the performer, but they are the real masters.
Really, the love of these games is just a stepping stone towards reviving gladiatorial combat just as jazz and rock and big league sports were as well. Since the west is almost out of the fumes of Christian capital it has been running on for a hundred years, is it beginning to make the same pagan mistakes as the BC west.
Hopefully I get a reply as he seems intelligent.