October 31, 2005

Maximus Humanitus…

(Lolly's random ponderings…)

As did many other people, I settled down to watch Gladiator on TV last week. Some of the more gory violence, I simply couldn't watch and I also cried at the end when our good old hero dies. A few people have expressed their surprise at these facts…almost implying im a kind of emotionally weak individual! Heaven forbid!

But if one isn't going to cry at the death of a hero, reunited with his wife and child, killed in such a horrific manner, what is one to cry at? If one can't stand to watch humans being sliced up like meat, is that so strange?

This fundamental loss of humanity in us is echoed in so many contexts of today's society. People don't think about the real effects of hurling abuse at a stranger in the street, kicking the hell out of somebody, throwing a random insult…When did we stop considering others as human beings with feelings and forget the fact that others can feel pain…physically and emotionally…?

I know a film is just a film: a piece of art. But we all know how much the line between reality and art is extremely blurred and often indistingishable…art often reflects "life," we become involved, identify with pieces and find wider issues reflected therein…

Maybe crying at Maximus' death isn't so strange if we look a little deeper? And maybe people's reactions should be a warning to us all to reclaim the real humanity within us before it slips out of sight altogether…?


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  1. Here here! i totally agree, well done lolly, you put that perfectly :-) the gory bits in gladiator are terrible, i can't watch some parts either, altho i don't mind them being there, because that is what life was like in the good old roman days… you would have thought life had progressed somewhat from those sort of bloodthirsty spectacles, but apparently not. And the ending, i agree, is very sad, i can't understand how some people don't find it emotional.
    Love em, your classics mate!!
    xxxxx

    31 Oct 2005, 01:25

  2. I read this at 0420. It has scared me into going to bed.

    31 Oct 2005, 04:15

  3. author of said piece

    why it scare u christophe? because of the actual content or the fact there's something half-sensical on our blog? Hehe! Probably best something pushed you to go to bed however, it being random-o,clock in the morning, so glad I at least assisted you in that way,
    Lollyana x

    31 Oct 2005, 11:39

  4. Amy

    Hello lolly-boo,

    I totally agree with your article, which is really well written im gona make you join the warwick paper if it kills me!!!!! yeh-people do just hurl abuse and dont appear to give a dam about the victim of their insults.

    Gladiator is a bloody god film. Maximus-man on a mission.

    ps. we must also join the underground at some point in our lives…...

    lots of love,

    Your tile hill buddy…..THE O

    31 Oct 2005, 17:04

  5. A bloody god film?? Hehe!! :-)
    Love u, xxxxx

    31 Oct 2005, 17:26

  6. It scared me because it was a bit too deep for the time of the, er, night? Morning? Either way, it was an interesting blog.

    31 Oct 2005, 18:40

  7. I rooted for Joaquin Pheonix in that film, he just wanted to be loved! Also his was a superb performance, whilst Russell Crowe just swung a sword and grunted a lot.

    That out of the way, I think you're overstating the problem. I neither cried, nor shied away from the violence in Gladiator, does that mean I'm desensitised and have suffered a fundamental loss of humanity? No, it simply means that while Maximus's death was tragic and sad, I did not feel the need to cry. People who are surprised you cried are not neccessarily feeling any less than you, simply feeling differently.

    That said I can't remember the time I saw someone throw a random insult, or give someone a casual stream of abuse and not incur the feelings of all who saw it Similarly if someone was having the shit kicked out of him, I reckon bystanders would probably intervene. I, personally (and please remember this is just an opinion), don't think that as a society we've forgotten people have feelings, or that our actions effect others as well as ourselves, I think that our western society is possibly as caring as it's ever been. The only reason it seems uncaring and unfeeling is that more and more people do care, and hence notice the increasing minority who do not.

    That's just my opinion, possibly hopelessly optimistic (I do that sometimes), and certainly influenced by my own personal bias and desire for everyone to be a feeling and caring person.

    01 Nov 2005, 20:38

  8. I rooted for Joaquin Pheonix in that film, he just wanted to be loved! Also his was a superb performance, whilst Russell Crowe just swung a sword and grunted a lot.

    That out of the way, I think you're overstating the problem. I neither cried, nor shied away from the violence in Gladiator, does that mean I'm desensitised and have suffered a fundamental loss of humanity? No, it simply means that while Maximus's death was tragic and sad, I did not feel the need to cry. People who are surprised you cried are not neccessarily feeling any less than you, simply feeling differently.

    That said I can't remember the time I saw someone throw a random insult, or give someone a casual stream of abuse and not incur the feelings of all who saw it Similarly if someone was having the shit kicked out of him, I reckon bystanders would probably intervene. I, personally (and please remember this is just an opinion), don't think that as a society we've forgotten people have feelings, or that our actions effect others as well as ourselves, I think that our western society is possibly as caring as it's ever been. The only reason it seems uncaring and unfeeling is that more and more people do care, and hence notice the increasing minority who do not.

    That's just my opinion, possibly hopelessly optimistic (I do that sometimes), and certainly influenced by my own personal bias and desire for everyone to be a feeling and caring person.

    01 Nov 2005, 20:44

  9. Hey james, thanks for your comment. Of course just because people didnt shed bucket-loads of tears over Gladiator, it doesnt mean that they are cold-hearted thugs: that's not what my implication was at all. Obviously, we are all different!

    However, (and I'm sorry to burst your bubble) I have often witnessed strangers having random abuse hurled at them, including being a victim of it myself on numerous occassions, (increasingly so in the last few years) as well as watching violence occur with nobody intervening! It's all good in theory to claim that someone should help etc. but in reality, the situation and the fear of many observers at the time, prevents any such action! As for the verbsal abuse, the protagonists, if anything, find a hurtful response, amusing, if it even manages to crack open their hard hearts!

    Besides, intervention is besides the point there, as the fact that someone is prepared to attack someone in that manner in the first instance, is what I was getting at and for that type of action to be acceptable to an increasing number of minds!

    I find it difficult to deny that we live in a society which is again increasingly tolerant of violence…you do not have to look far to see a complaint about the increasing violence in film and television, in school children or teenagers, or to hear someone speak of violence in a city centre as an accepted part of life there, particularly on a Saturday night. The shock factor is no longer there…hardly any report of violence on the news is a surprise.

    I merely used the example of Gladiator as a stepping stone to a larger issue which I feel, is preavalent in other areas too. I don't claim that such an example reflects the whole problem or therefore, one's reaction to the film condemns you as human or not! Rather, to an extent, it is a microcosm of some loss of sensitivity in us on ONE level, to SOME extent…

    A reversal of a society that became civilised and long ago rejected such practises as public hangings, as barbaric…I just wonder where the slow slipping back into apathy on this issue becmes dangerous.

    03 Nov 2005, 16:06


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