Who Killed Benny Paret ? By Norman Cousins
Benny Paret 's Real Killers No one can deny that violence has become a pervasive part of the American life . Violence is everywhere . It is delivered right at home through cable tv . It is considered a form of entertainment and majority of Americans consume their dose of violence through the news and through their patronage of prizefighting sports such as boxing and wrestling Indeed , violence is as much part of the social landscape of rich and poor alike , through their promotion and participation in deadly sporting activities both inside and outside the
No one can deny that violence has become a pervasive part of the American life . Violence is everywhere . It is delivered right at home through cable tv . It is considered a form of entertainment and majority of Americans consume their dose of violence through the news and through their patronage of prizefighting sports such as boxing and wrestling Indeed , violence is as much part of the social landscape of rich and poor alike , through their promotion and participation in deadly sporting activities both inside and outside the
In the essay Who Killed Benny Paret ' Norman Cousins delivers a stinging critique of society 's complicity with the violence and death caused by the immense popularity of prizefighting as a sport . The author notes that the observations of renowned boxing promoter Mike Jacobs about the consumers of prizefighting are in fact true and real . People do not line up at boxing and wrestling matches because these sports teach values about endurance or stamina . People go to see boxing and wrestling bouts because of a more guttural need to see two human beings trading punches that could kill them both . The tragic death of Benny Paret is but one proof of the culture of violence that pervades America and the rest of the world
A young boxer , Benny Paret went into a coma and never woke out of it after receiving too many punches on his head which caused severe brain hemmorhage . The government and the boxing authorities , alarmed by the event , launched an investistigation to determine responsibility for Paret 's death . This investigation involved a probe into the culpability of the fight referree , Paret 's manager , and Paret 's physical condition in causing his early demise . However , as Cousins argues , the investigation glossed over the real perpetrators of Paret 's death : the brutality of the sport itself which exposes its players to the risks of being maimed or killed in the ring
One cannot help but emphatize with Cousins ' despairing tone regarding the futility of the investigations on Paret 's death . The outcome of the investigation itself has already been precluded by the fact that Paret 's death is only a sign of a complex , and pervasive social problem wherein the existence of prizefighting as a form of sport itself is highly questionable . In this sense , investigating and trying to heap the blame on the referee for his perceived negligence is not only unfair , it also worsens the problem . As Cousins rightly points out , the referee himself is compelled to perform his duties and responsibilities based on crowd expectations . That is , the referee cannot intrude into the heat of the boxing match because two men are hurting each other : that is what the crowd pays for to watch in the first place
Clearly , a more critical probe into Paret 's death should look at the normative values and social standards that perpetuate the existence of boxing and other forms of prizefighting as a form of entertainment...
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