Friday, March 15, 2013

Bring back the Gladiators

Everyday we yearn for that adrenalin rush but we don’t know where to get our fix. Some of us resort to extreme sports, other drive their cars really fast endangering the lives of the innocent. You even have those who join warring factions and fight others in proxy wars just for the fun of it, the good pay, and the glory.
My solution is nicer: Bring back the gladiator games of yore.
Before you start telling me how the gladiator games are barbaric and uncivilized, please note that our barbarism and lack of civility is pretty evident. We try to deny it, we try to say that we have risen above taking joy in the misery of others, in their pains, and suffering. All you need to do is see the myriad of wars that our modern civilization have started. Look at all the reality shows and movies that glorify violence.
This is how we can do it in Lebanon. (And later on we export that model to the rest of the world). The most suitable place would be La Cité Sportif du Camille Chamoun. (In Lebanese: Al Mal3ab Al Baladi). The contestants would be either convicts, or volunteers who long for fame and glory. They would either have to fight each other in a one-on-one battle, or group fights like red vs blue. And bonus rounds include fighting wild beasts like tigers, lions, and rhinos. There would be a wide range of melee weapons and shields to chose from. Of course an entire industry would evolve around this. The events will be televised on pay per view channels. Tickets would be sold for the live events. Commentators would be giving you the details second by second in various commenting styles (Egyptian, American, British…) which would sound something like this: “… and he swings his battle axe at his opponent but misses by a couple of inches… Well Jim, those battle axes are heavy and not that precise…” Before the games would begin, a picture of each individual warrior would be displayed next to a bunch of statistics and info. The flag of their faction waving in the background with lively music blaring though the speakers of your 40 – inch 3D LED TV. And after the match is over, an analysis would be displayed with 3D overlays projected virtually over the arena.
Oh and the merchandise… must not forget that! Towels, mugs, pencil cases, posters, action figures, trading cards, board games, videogames… the possibilities are endless. Even advertisements would be broadcast during the games, and companies can sponsor their own heroes that would sport a Mc Donald’s shield or a Samsung helmet (complete with supporting electronics).
Weapon makers and blacksmiths would flourish and perhaps the ancient art of crafting swords from Damascus steel would be revived. Experts from various parts of the world would be hired to fashion the most elaborate and sophisticated weapons.
We can even have someone dressed as Caesar and the warriors would stand before him and cry “Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant” (Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute thee.)
Just Imagine it, Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea duking it out in the arena, both bloody from the cuts they have sustained. Both suddenly finding themselves back to back, two mortal enemies, forced to team up against a pack of hungry lions.
Imagine Hassan Nasrallah and Ahmad Al Assir fighting to the death. One holds a trident and a fisherman’s net, while the other has a short sword, a Spartan shield and a helmet. Suddenly a referee blows his whistle. Soft music with an epic vioce come on: “Two long standing enemies are fighting for supremacy… but at the end of the day they both agree to one thing… the refreshing taste off Coca Cola…” Nasrallah and Assir at that point each open a chilling glass bottle of Coca Cola, drink a bit, and then say: “Ahhhhhhhh, Always Coca Cola!”
I would pay good money to see that. I would TiVo that match and watch it over and over.
Just imagine, and entire industry, employing thousands, creating amazing business opportunities. And of course… that adrenalin rush you’ve been dying for…


  1. and sometimes old is gold !
    i'd be your first supporter on that.