Skip to main content

SORRY, JOYCE CAROL OATES. KUNG FU IS COOLER THAN BOXING



In a somewhat recent New York Review of Books article, Joyce Carol Oates wonders why boxing is no longer so popular. That's obvious, its ass has been beaten in the global marketplace by kung fu. Not that karate, tae kwan do, muay thai, and capoiera aren't also beautiful in their own way, but the Chinese created the martial arts movie and if someone in Hollywood is looking for a martial arts choreographer, it's probably going to be someone from a kung fu background. Kung fu movies led to Hollywood rip-offs, video games, and a whole new sport based on the plot of Enter the Dragon. Nowadays, you almost never see a John-Wayne-style slugfest in a movie. Even all-American Jason Bourne uses martial arts (it looked like krav maga to me).

Kung fu has become part of American culture. African-Americans were again ahead of the curve on this, as they found the martial arts movies' themes of self-improvement and struggle against the (Manchu) man congenial. In the days of the melting pot, it made sense for ethnic groups to show their pride by fighting by the same rules and in the same tradition. Nowadays, with the multicultural salad bowl, it's only right that each fighter compete in his own martial style. Or what the hell, why not an African-American sumo against a French capoeira mestre? That's the way the world is today. Let's face it, what's cooler to watch: a guy holding his hands in front of his face and jabbing occasionally, or a guy who can stand on one foot and kick somebody behind him with the other?

Some people think it's weird that Joyce Carol Oates loves boxing, but I see the appeal. Hey, sweaty, half-naked men moving around in a choreographed fashion, what's not to like? I just find kung fu more beautiful and (since I limit myself to fictional entertainment) less likely to cause irreversible brain damage.

Comments

JethSeux said…
As a former boxer I must stand up for that form of traditional blue collar butt kicking.
At the same time Kung Fu looks cooler, and also sounds cooler. As the legendary Rudy Ray Moore once said "I got an army of girls, they know just what to do, they're foxy as hell and train in KUNG FU!" That just wouldn't rhyme as well if the girls knew boxing . . . .
ash966 said…
Well, I was thinking of boxing as entertainment rather than self-defense. If it's the latter, I figure whatever works for you personally is best. Isn't Pro Wrestling the most blue-collar, though? That's a whole other ball of wax.

Popular posts from this blog

THINGS I PAY FOR ONLINE

This I ripped off from library guru Walt Crawford , who got it from SF author and uber-blogger John Scalzi . From whom I learned that AOL still exists and that there is a paid version of LiveJournal. Who knew? And why Rhapsody? Who are these people who are willing to pay every month to rent music that could be taken away from them at any time? Those who don't want the option of making a mix CD or tape do not love music in any way I can understand. I was glad that some of Scalzi's commentors mentioned library subscriptions. Don't pay for any online encyclopedias or magazine articles if you can get them free with your library card, people! The f ree Encyclopedia Britannica subscription for bloggers is also awesome. 1. IpHouse for Internet with Qwest DSL. I could save by bundling with Qwest and get msn.com email (ugh!), but IpHouse has given me such great support over the years and I can always get someone on the phone right away. 2. Netflix (4 movies-at-a-time grandfat
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW PORCINE OVERLORDS . . . I read an article in the New Yorker (1) last year about the growing threat of feral hogs. Apparently they have become a major nuisance in most of the US, destroying native habitat and species, even uprooting irrigation pipes. Plus, they are so wily and tough that only an expert hunter with at least 4 dogs can defeat one. Now, I learn that wild hogs may have caused the most recent outbreak of e. coli . It's clear what's going on -- the pigs are trying to kill us! Trichinosis just wasn't doing the job. With all the bacon I've eaten, I'll be the first up against the wall after the piggy revolution (here is where my sweetie Dr. Somneblex thoughtfully points out that he's given up pork). Coincidentally, I was just reading Oryx and Crake , which features the protagonist being attacked by genetically-altered super-pigs. Clearly, a pig-related horror movie is going to go into production any minute now. A good ti

I MADE YOU A POEM

Photograph by Dimitar Denev .  I've been trying to write an essay about Generation X and popular culture since I saw School of Rock in 2003, but it always eluded me. Then in a fit of insomnia, it came to me as a poem for some strange reason (I'm an English major, but I'm very picky about poetry and don't like most of it). So here it is, enjoy.  Song of the Aging Gen X-er I'm old and I'm tired Of defending what I like. Once it was too odd Now it's too popular, Yet still weird somehow. But why wouldn't I like it? We put weird on the map. We gave you the "graphic novel", I'm not gonna see the movie version? Once it was "Psychotronic" -- King Fu, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic. Now they get awards. And why ever not? Some of us are mad. 1 We had to work so hard to find it. Scour second-hand stores, send away by mail. Self-addressed envelopes. Ask for a ride to the city. "Is the new L & R in yet?&quo