crap/not crap: cockfighting

peta vs. pedro: now here’s the horns of a dilemma, if yr pattyjoe, in which my animal rights-ish-ness and my disciplinary dispositions towards cultural relativism collide in the DR: what’d old cliff geertz say about the Balinese fight?

In the cockfight, men and beast, good and evil, ego and id, the creative power of aroused masculinity and the destructive power of loosened animality fuse in a bloody drama of hatred, cruelty, violence, and death.

Drawing on almost every level of Balinese experience, it bring together themes – animal savagery, male narcissism, opponent gambling, status rivalry, mass excitement, blood sacrifice – whose main connection is their involvement with rage and the fear of rage, and binding them into a set of rules which at once contains them and allows them play, builds a symbolic structure in which, over and over again, the reality of their inner affiliation can be intelligibly felt.

In the cockfight, then, the Balinese forms and discovers his temperament and his society’s temper at the same time. Or, more exactly, he forms and discovers a particular facet of them

What it says about that life is not unqualified nor even unchallenged by what other equally eloquent cultural statements say about it.

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4 Responses to “crap/not crap: cockfighting”

  1. jordn Says:

    I have a friend from the Brazilian interior who non-challantly observed that all cockfights end either in tragedy–some nasty, raw death–or comedy, where they just chase eachother around and no fight even happens. He seemed to imply that the comedy aspect is often underrated by outsiders.

  2. Dave3544 Says:

    I once (mentally) designed an EA Sports-type game called “Cockfighting” wherein one could take on a variety of roles in the cockfighting world, from cock-raiser/fighter, buyer/fighter, trainer, bookie, bettor, etc. It was going to be quite the multi-dimensional globe-spanning game.

    The only things that held me back were my complete lack of knowledge about game programming, cockfighting, and the fact that cockfighting is pretty repellent and no one would produce it, let alone play it.

    Ah, the dreams of a younger man.

  3. lexdexter Says:

    Jordn, How do you spell what we pronounce as “Ha-zhay?” Would you say that, like cockfighting, the aforementioned bloodsport doesn’t lack in black humor and/or phsyical comedy?

    Uncle, Would you be interested in developing any of the following games for me:

    – Service Employee Card Check Campaign?
    – Rest Stop?
    – Antique Show?
    – Hardball w/ Chris Matthews?
    – OSHA?

  4. jordn Says:

    I think you meant to say “Hajjeh”. Good try Hajjeh-quan, your fained ignorance is soooooo transparent. Next time your in a bathroom stall, watch for the butter knife to hit the floor.
    And yes, all anthro-nalysis applies.


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