Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rocky Balboa

Boxers like the movie Rocky. The website's so full of crap embeds it's hard to paste from, but Boxing Scene wrote about how the original movie brought a whole new generation of young fighters to the sport. It's a story of blue collar men doing things for themselves, without help, getting up at 4:00am to run in the freezing morning, of pain and endurance and winning, even when you get knocked down and lose the match. You win because you did everything you could. No help asked for, or accepted.

In The Guardian, writing about recent sequels, Ryan Gibley wrote:

I'm not opposed to the continuing employment of these fine performers (Stallone excepted). And I don't doubt that they can still be entertaining in the action genre - what little enjoyment I took away from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came entirely from seeing Ford accepting visibly the physical limitations of turning 65.
But Gibley, and The Guardian, are out of touch with the overwhelming majority of people, thankfully. It was precisely the refusal of a 60 year old Rocky to lie down and accept his limitations that made the last of the franchise work.

This attitude, partly the advocacy of pre-emptive surrender, partly the idea that any blue collar, working class person who fights their own damn corner without help from a nice middle-class outreach worker is abhorrent, informs almost everything that appears in The Guardian.

Allied to this attitude is the idea that Stallone is inarticulate. He wrote the screenplay. He can talk the hind leg off a mule. He wrote an inarticulate character and played the part, and another - Rambo. That's actually the sign of a fine writer, and a fine actor. Inarticulate men, and women, exist, but they don't go to the sort of dinner parties Guardian writers frequent. Even though they might not be sure how to eat asparagus, they neither want nor need the help of people who do.

One proof that the Guardian is out of touch with people in general came recently, in this year's Britain's Got Talent competition. This was won by a young lad who had entered the previous year, not got through, so he went away and tried even harder. His determination to succeed - without help - won the hearts of the country and he won the show by popular vote. Here's his audition:

That young lad is walking in the footsteps of Rocky, and this country loved him for it and voted him the winner. The Guardian is an irrelevant sideline, or rather should be. In fact, they are part of a middle class conspiracy to transfer wealth from ordinary people to themselves, and this conspiracy has the support of the government.

There's evidence, in popular TV shows and cinema takings, that this conspiracy - let's call a Liberal Conspiracy - goes no further than that.

PS - also watch this cut from the last of the Rocky series. [UPDATE: I meant to comment on this, but Stallone's pretty cut for a man of his age in that clip. Fair play to him for that.]


Anonymous said...

Oh come on, the final rocky was rubbish!

but they don't go to the sort of dinner parties Guardian writers frequent

Its easy to be disaparaging.

You think the Telegraph invites working class heroes or something?

Peter Risdon said...

That's whataboutery, Sunny. But in fact the Telegraph is not locked into the same mindset as the Groan. There's plenty to criticise the right wing press for, but not this particular point. On the whole, they admire self-reliance and can-do.

Anonymous said...

But in fact the Telegraph is not locked into the same mindset as the Groan.

I'm not sure this is entirely the case. They are as elitist as middle class lefties are in many cases. What you're doing is highlighting what you hate about the left without acknowledging that the right may do the same in many cases.

On the whole, they admire self-reliance and can-do.

For the already well off, yes. Otherwise they'd be more interested, as the left is, in also providing a leg up for the less well off.

And lastly, the left as other qualities I admire: compassion for the less well off, a desire to see more equality in society, charity.. etc.

It boils down to the fact that we have diff priorities.

But my point about dinner parties still stand. I'm afraid you're rather naive if you think they're more egalitarian. That's just the impression they like to give.

Peter Risdon said...

Well, this is still whataboutery: I've made a point about the Guardian class, and you're saying "What about the Telegraph?". Whatever the case may be with the Torygraph, the argument about the Groan can stand as a valid, or invalid, point.

The Tories are certainly elitist, but they generally draw the lines differently - between those who try to work and those who, in their eyes, don't, for example. They don't just look at wealth but also how it came about (except in the case of inheritance, where they are unconcerned about fairness of opportunity, on the whole).

You might be surprised by this, but Conservatives generally give more, including more time, to charities than do the left in the USA. I'm not aware of any similar data for the UK. Americans give much more to charity than do Europeans anyway, and it has been speculated that this is because they don't outsource compassion to the state.

Compassion for the less well off is not the preserve of the left; it's just that people on the left believe that to be the case. That seems to be because they can't or won't accept that there is more than one manifestation of genuine compassion, or that genuine compassion might lead different people to different conclusions.

A desire to see more equality in society is characteristic of both left and right. For the left, it's equality of outcome, for the right it's equality of opportunity.

Both left and right have people who lack any visible compassion.

But here's the main thing, perhaps: can you really not understand that you don't make people independent by intervening? You can only do so by leaving them alone. The idea that poor people need your help actually demonstrates contempt for them. What they really need is a lack of hindrance. This is sometimes called the 'falafel test' (see the comments).