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Boxing and Pessimism

We live in an age where the only thing that matters is force, by which I mean both the accumulation of power and the weight of data. Everything else is noise, memes and mockery shared with the like-minded that doesn't move the underlying balance of forces even one inch. What we have learned in the twenty-first century is that good journalism does not matter. Good teaching does not matter. Good arguments do not matter. Power is the only thing that matters, the accumulation of numbers is what tells in the end. If you take a certain number of blows to the head, you will get CTE. If you pump a certain amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, temperatures will warm, glaciers will melt, and the oceans will rise.

One of the reasons I like boxing is because it so brutally dispenses with the fantasy that how we feel matters beyond the immediate emotional dimensions of our domesticated lives. A few weeks ago, the nothing media of memes and political point-scoring delighted in discovering that a white American boxer named Rod Salka had been knocked out by a Mexican fighter after entering the ring wearing trunks supporting Donald Trump's noxious border wall. Perhaps, they saw in this outcome a kind of cosmic justice, or a sign that Trump's ethno-nationalism is doomed to fail. But that isn't the lesson we should take from the fight: Salka didn't lose because he supports Trump. He lost because he was an inferior fighter. If Gennady Golovkin had, for some bizarre reason, decided to wear those same Trump trunks in his fight last Saturday with the badly overmatched Vanes Martirosyan, Trump and the wall would have won the day. It would be good if all of us took note: the quality of your memes or your soundbites or your retorts is not what will win in twenty-first century America. The only thing that matters is whether or not you can punch harder and land the heavier blows on your opponent. Conservatives figured this out quite some time ago. For their own sake, liberals had better learn it soon.

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