June 12, 2007

Just Stupid

Normally, I enjoy "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," but last night they did a bit about mixed martial arts (MMA) that was just plain stupid. I mean, seriously, here you had Jon Stewart and John Hodgman, two pasty, doughy, gonads who wouldn't know the difference between an armbar and a left hook, and who have certainly never been in anything resembling a fight in their entire lives, commenting on the "homoeroticism" of MMA, complete with nonsense slow-motion video of ground-fighting grappling which, if you've ever grappled, you'd know it's about as "homoerotic" as getting hit in the face with a rake and is, in fact, exhausting, fierce and competitive combat.

Here you have a sport that's eclipsing the NBA play-offs in popularity, and all they can do is make giggly jokes about the "man-on-man" action? It's like I'm back in high school all over again.


Posted by Ryan at June 12, 2007 08:23 AM | TrackBack

I understand your anger. I used to get really angry too when friends would make jokes about my masculinity before I came out of the closet. But I'd advise you to just let it go and let you be you.

Posted by: Micky McMakee at June 12, 2007 12:06 PM

Uhhhhh. . . okay.

Posted by: Ryan at June 12, 2007 12:18 PM

It was pretty lame humor, I saw it and thought that Hodgman is funnier than that and needn't have stooped to grasp at that unfunny bit.

Good thing they wear clothes now. Back in the day it was done naked AND oiled up and you know that means it must have been gay. Or not.

Posted by: Erik at June 12, 2007 01:53 PM

I don't remember when they oiled up. Did they really? I watched the very first UFC and I don't remember any oil. You sure you're not thinking WWF?

Posted by: Ryan at June 12, 2007 02:08 PM

Ryan -- so you're confused about the oiled up part, but a-ok with the nudity?

Did you wrestle naked in high-school?

Posted by: Stephen at June 12, 2007 03:40 PM

Oh, shit, I totally misread Erik's comment. LOL!

Posted by: Ryan at June 12, 2007 04:29 PM


This is John Hodgman writing. I found my way here via the comedy central blog.

Thanks for watching the show, and your thoughts. I think you have raised a fair point, and yet I don't entirely agree with you.

For what it is worth, here is my response, as it appears on my bad excuse for a blog.



THE EVER-AWESOME, EVER-BLOGGING Lindsay Robertson notes the divided response to last night's discussion of MIXED MARTIAL ARTS on television.

INDEED, Lindsay cites Ryan "Rambling" Rhodes's comment that "...if you've ever grappled, you'd know it's about as 'homoerotic' as getting hit in the face with a rake and is, in fact, exhausting, fierce and competitive combat."

SETTING ASIDE FOR THE MOMENT the thriving, erotic "rake-face-hitting" subculture, I concede that Ryan raises A FAIR POINT.*

THE GRAPPLING SPORTS have a long history, and "THE GROUND GAME," as it's called, is indeed a kind of mental and phsyical chess.

(Or at least, I know this from my research. Ryan is correct in presuming my own fisticuff history is limited: I was ONCE ELBOWED IN THE CHEST on the subway, and then I GRABBED THAT GUY'S NECK once in college.)

HOWEVER, I want to clarify that the footage was not shown in slo-mo for comedic effect. Nor did I or the staff of television have to search hard for these examples.

Indeed, if you watch MMA (and I have done, and I enjoyed it, and I will do so again), this is where pretty much every bout ends up: GUYS ROLLING AROUND ON THE FLOOR.

I CERTAINLY DO NOT MEAN THESE FIGHTERS OR THEIR CRAFT ANY DISRESPECT, and not just because I do not want them to break my forehead in half.

Some of the fighters I watched were incredibly skilled, and Karo "The Heat" Parisyan in particular KICKS ASS.

Some of them, though, seemed to be merely artless brawlers ROLLING AROUND ON THE FLOOR HALF NAKED.

EITHER WAY, IT WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF COMEDY if I were to avoid pointing out just how prevalent this aspect of the sport is, and how it would look to a space alien, or a non-fighter, or even, I daresay, to a portion of the MMA audience who do not know about the long history of the grappling arts: THE FIGHTERS SOMETIMES LOOK LIKE THEY ARE LOVING EACH OTHER.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Nothing, I suspect, that Ryan does not already know.

FIGHTING IS INTIMATE. I know that just from grabbing a guy's neck.** You're up close, often closer than you are when actually having sex with someone. In real life, it's scary and exhilirating and awful all at once. In a sporting situation, I can see how that potent mix of violence and bonding can also be joyful and awesome.

At the end of one of the bouts I watched CHRIS "THE CRIPPLER" LEBEN, still electric-eyed with excitement even though he lost, kiss his opponent in congratulations on the cheek. He didn't do it because some comedy writer told him to do it so he could write a joke about it later.

He did it spontaneously, genuinely, BECAUSE THERE IS A NATURAL, AUTHENTIC, AWESOME INTIMACY TO KICKING ASS--and competition in general--and that's part of its appeal.

THAT SAID, RYAN AND I CAN AGREE ON ONE FACT: I am a pasty, doughy gonad.


*Albeit, I realize now, one that relies on the ludicrous fallacy that "homo-erotic" is a synonym for "sissified."

**He deserved it.

Posted by: hodgman at June 12, 2007 04:40 PM

Well, this is about the closest I've ever had to a celebrity commenting on my blog. It's been a strange blog day.

One reason I took offense to the Comedy Central bit came about because I'm an MMA fan, but mostly because I also train in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, so it was a bit irritating to have ground fighting basically equated with giggly man touching. If you've ever gotten choked out in a triangle, you're pretty much concentrating on the fact you're getting choked out in a triangle rather than the fact your face is inches from another man's groin.

That said, you can aim your comedic lasers wherever you want. I'll continue to watch The Daily Show. But, I'll rain down raspberries when I think a bit tanked.

Thanks for visiting, and commenting.

Posted by: Ryan at June 12, 2007 06:45 PM

I said I would write a letter of protest so here it is....Brace yourself!!!


(I'm too literal!!) LOL


Posted by: Annje at June 13, 2007 09:26 AM

Actually, if you're going to write a letter of protest, you should just leave one of the following letters:

P. R. O. T. E. S.

Posted by: Ryan at June 13, 2007 09:33 AM

Sounds like somebody struck a nerve! No seriously, somebody struck a nerve. I can't feel my leg.

It's not funny!

Posted by: flamingbanjo at June 13, 2007 12:17 PM

A well-rounded, mature person should have a sense of humor about himself and his hobbies. The bit was funny, plain and simple. While you may take MMA seriously, keep in mind that some people don't, some people find it ridiculous and funny.

Lighten up, and good luck in your Jiu-Jitsu.

Posted by: Lhyzz at June 16, 2007 10:30 PM

ryan wouldn't know comedy if it tasered him in the nuts.

Posted by: spencer at June 17, 2007 05:45 PM

Right. Or something. I'm not sure what spencer's comment is trying to say. Meh.

Posted by: Ryan at June 17, 2007 11:06 PM

Spoken like a man who's never been tazered in the nuts... pussy.

Posted by: gorilla at June 25, 2007 08:10 PM
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