Obama vs. Osama

Article excerpt

Foaming at the mouth over sweet revenge outside the White House; slavering as cage fighters pounded away at each other - two seemingly disparate events were a source of distress for those of us who believe that non-violence is key to the feminist project.

Within minutes of Barack Obama announcing that a special U.S. military unit had assassinated Osama Bin Laden, crowds gathered outside the White House to celebrate, as did hordes outside sporting venues, screaming an Olympic-style chant, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

The blood lust was astounding, the perils of vengeance obvious. Do we really think it's okay to be howling approval and revelling in someone's death?

Then again, can we be totally surprised that an extrajudicial assassination might garner the same response as a sporting event, especially in a culture that has now embraced ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts gladiator- type competitions?

In these prize fights, combatants combine wrestling, boxing and kicking with variations on martial arts movements to beat their opponents into submission. In an attempt to make you think no harm can be done, the official website lists over 20 fouls - tactics fighters aren't permitted to we. So you can't gouge anyone's eyes, or bite, or pull hair.

But you can continue to pummel your opponent while he's down on the ground, and you can smash his head onto the floor of the ring - sometimes a cage - and it doesn't matter how much blood you draw, the referee does not have to stop the fight.

It's ironic that while other professional sports are trying to reign in head injuries and end the concussion epidemic, specifically football, which has now banned head hits, and hockey whose premiere player Sidney Crosby may never play again thanks to a concussion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship - in which combatants do not wear helmets - has been given the go-ahead here in Ontario.

The Canadian Medical Association has already expressed its disapproval of mixed martial arts, arguing that it puts fighters at risk of serious head injuries and bodily harm. …