Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Question for the Week of June 25 - July 1: Seagal's Pain Philosophy

"What does it take?... What does it take to change the essence of a man?"
It's from On Deadly Ground, a middle/late entry in Steven Seagal's "the title begins with a preposition" series. It's asked by Seagal to Mike Starr, who plays a meathead that torments an Eskimo in a bar. In keeping with Steven's work, the 3-fold answer is unexpected: slap your hands impossibly hard, karmically-just humiliation, and internal bleeding.

Of course, this leaves room for interpretation. Maybe "changing the essence" refers to the blood transfusion Starr will get in the hospital (perhaps from an Indian? hmmm?). Maybe Mike's talking about literal healing when he whimpers the reply, "Time. Just time." - to stop bleeding inside. Most heroes either beat you up or philosophize at you; only Steven enjoys that niche market of doing both.

And couldn't Seagal have turned his pudgy justice against the bar full of Alaskan losers who didn't mind the old guy being bullied and ethnically insulted in front of them? Making fun of a drunk is one thing, who doesn't care that suddenly the topic is race?...

Too much analysis, right? Well, I hope you enjoyed this positive message: sending someone to hospital can really make them reconsider their racist attitudes. It's not experiencing bigotry first-hand, or realizing that we're all sort of the same, or learning that harassment is an actionable crime. Nope, it's gut-punches until someone both throws up and spits blood.

My personal answer was "try painting," "work out more," or "choose a charity." I'm such an idealistic fool...

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