Here’s how I know I’m right about certain things: Bill O’Reilly disagrees with me. I know that sounds like a simplistic world view, but it’s held up remarkably well thus far. Things I believe in — supporting my arguments with logic or facts, treating those who disagree with me with dignity and respect — he is solidly against. That’s fine with me.
I don’t mean to mix politics with MMA. To me, Bill O’Reilly isn’t even representative of a political view so much as a demographic one. You know who likes O’Reilly, who really thinks that he’s expressing an honest viewpoint and not just ranting about whatever he thinks will drum up ratings? Old people. The guy who’s always yelling at people to stay off his lawn, he looooves Bill O’Reilly.
That’s why it doesn’t surprise me to see O’Reilly once again going after MMA with the same inane arguments. Apparently, MMA on TV is a sign that our society is failing, that we’ve become the Roman Empire, etc. Again, this isn’t a political stance, but it does seem to be consistent with a certain age group. Is it possible that old people, for whatever reason, will just never get MMA?
In a way, that seems strange to me. Look at boxing. Look at any sport, really. Your grandfather is more likely to tell you what a bunch of sissies pro athletes are today than he is to complain about anything being too violent. The stories about Ty Cobb sharpening his cleats, the brawling sixties and seventies in the NBA, the naked brutality of turn-of-the-century boxing — these get held up as signs of the good old days.
So why is MMA — which is statistically safer than boxing — such a popular target?
The easy answer is, it’s new. The same way your grandfather isn’t going to waste his time figuring out the internet, he isn’t interested in hearing about the intricacies of the ground game. It’s in a cage, there’s blood (P.S. anti-blood is a strange stance for a pro-war hawk like O’Reilly, no?), and he’s never seen anything like it on CBS before.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but this seems fairly consistent. It just seems so counterintuitive. Since when are old people opposed to violent sports? And how can you possibly make a connection between a sport that’s no more dangerous than boxing or football and the destruction of society?
The gladiator analogy obviously doesn’t hold up, because gladiators were slaves and they often fought to the death. Not to mention, for all you history buffs, the Romans didn’t somehow discover gladiatorial combat a few years before the destruction of their empire. They didn’t discover it at all. They learned it. It was a fairly common practice, and they weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it. It went in and out of fashion, but the Romans had a pretty good run even while engaging in it.
My point is, there’s no reason to even argue this stuff with people like O’Reilly. Just like there’s no point in trying to convince my dad that punk music is awesome. It isn’t going to work. If anything, we should just remember that these arguments against MMA don’t come from any rational point of view. They come from the same reactionary stance that hates new-fangled ideas.
My grandfather’s not about to start text-messaging, and people like O’Reilly aren’t going to get MMA. That’s the way the world is, I suppose. It’s just shame those people get to have TV shows and run the government.