Found this on YouTube the other day. The sound’s lousy, but it’s an action-based scene. You only have to watch the first 20 seconds:
I think Leo speaks for all of us who have ever been asked that question.
Slate had a piece earlier this week on the amateur street-fighting genre on YouTube. I clicked a few links, but found reading about them more enjoyable than watching them. Real violence, even captured in ShakyCam with Extra Graininess, packs a wallop that even Scorsese can’t touch. John D. MacDonald had a nice passage in one of his Travis McGee books about fistfights — that 99 percent of them end after one punch, with both guys astonished by the pain, one in his nose and the other in his hand. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a punch at anyone. Once I swung a clipboard at Name Redacted in my college newspaper newsroom, and didn’t connect, although he richly deserved it. It was also the first time I’ve ever vaulted a table in one leap — I jumped from my seat in the copy-desk slot and cleared the desk like Bruce Willis. I wish I had a video. The fight ended with Redacted holding me at arm’s length while I waved my clipboard impotently. The tension was defused when everyone started laughing. All was forgiven, and he remains a friend. His wife is even one of our commenters here. And I think if I had hit him, and I could fill the jury box with other slot men, they wouldn’t even bother ordering lunch before they acquitted me.
Remember Danny DeVito’s line in “The War of the Roses?” Oliver, my father used to say that a man can never outdo a woman when it comes to love and revenge. Women retain a capacity for viciousness that probably goes back to the cave — it’s our genetic mandate to protect the kiddies, after all — and all I can say is: I’d really like to have a couple of those breakaway beer glasses like the one Leo uses so well.
Not much for you today, folks. I’m off to Christmas-shop, lunch, work, run errands and hunt down a 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable. But first, a shower. Make merry in the comments, if you like.
Adrianne said on November 30, 2007 at 9:59 am
I had one of those moments at my college newspaper, too. But my weapon was a pencil. And though it did satisfyingly connect with Name Redacted’s head, it couldn’t have hurt that much.
LA mary said on November 30, 2007 at 10:44 am
I hit a butcher on Second Avenue who tried to jump me in the walk in. It does hurt your hand, but he backed off.
nancy said on November 30, 2007 at 10:47 am
If only you’d had a cleaver.
Men and their impulses — it is to laugh. Who else could find the erotic atmosphere in a walk-in cooler?
brian stouder said on November 30, 2007 at 10:54 am
Thanks to Samantha Power’s* surprisingly readable and evocative book A Problem From Hell, I’ve been thinking about violence lately; not violence that packs a dramatic wallop, but the sort that exceeds one’s ability to comprehend, and overwhelms one’s ability to respond.
An interesting constant that Power points out is that when all civility ends and a slaughter is looming, most people, including the people being targetted, simply don’t believe it.
In other ways and other circumstances, I’ve noticed this effect within me; one would guess that it’s the other side of the same human intellectual ‘relief valve’ that allows the perpetrators themselves to carry on
*She’s a journalist by trade; and she therefore has a crisp, accessible writing style (despite the subject matter)
Danny said on November 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm
I had a friend in my early twenties who was quite the fighter. He had a real mean streak, but it wasn’t that he was the type to go looking for a fight. It was just there always seemed to be a steady stream of bozos at the bars we frequented who thought they had something to prove.
What frequently happened was that the fight would end before the first full-fisted blow. My friend would walk up nonchalantly to the fellow who was jawing about how he couldn’t wait to kick my friend’s ass, then without warning, my friend would lay the loudest, full-monty slap on the guy’s face, and very quietly and earnestly say something like, “Okay. You wanna fight? C’mon, Sweetheart. Let’s go for it.”
Something about the force of the slap, the quiet tone (along with the incongruous ‘Sweetheart’ appellation), and the total bat-sh*t-crazy-I-am-going-to-kill-you look made most people start apologizing profusely on the spot about how it was just a great big misunderstanding and how they really didn’t want to fight after all.
We would laugh about it over tequilla shots afterwards.
Dave K. said on November 30, 2007 at 1:06 pm
I never fought a lot, but my favorite punch was in a Ft.Wayne vs. Indy rugby match. Indy’s hooker, Glen”Ugly”Peeples, was off-sides in a ruck. I drove my shoulder into his ribs, he elbowed me in the temple. I responded with a right hook to his eye, which opened a nice cut on the brow.
Several months later, Glen and some of his mates attended Ft.Wayne’s annual awards banquet and dance, “The Leather Ball”. They presented our team with a nice plaque, recognizing the longstanding rivalry and friendship between our clubs. Then Glen gave me a special award, an envelope with the stitches which were removed when his cut eye had healed.
Sadly, Glen has passed away, but whenever anyone wants to know what true “Rugby Spirit” is about, I tell them about “Ugly” and his stitches.
MichaelG said on November 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm
Strangest I’ve seen are the Aussies. In Vietnam during the war, I was sitting at a bar with a friend. There were two Aussies on the stools immediately to my right. Everybody was quietly drinking beer when one of the guys from Oz suddenly punched the other in the face. The punchee fell off his stool to the floor. He picked himself up, got back on the stool and they resumed their conversation as if nothing had happened. A beer or two later the original punchee suddenly clouted the other guy. Again the punchee fell on the floor, got up and resumed his stool and the conversation as if nothing had happened. It hadta been an Aussie thing. I still don’t understand it.
alex said on November 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm
That’s also a hilljack thing, Michael. They’ll even bite each others’ ears off and wear their wounds as badges of pride, or so I’m told. Aussies and ‘billies actually come from the same genetic stock of paupers from the far north of the Mother Country, which emptied its prisons into the colonies to provide cheap labor. Swaggering cheap labor with attitude.
michaelj said on November 30, 2007 at 6:26 pm
Isn’t it strange what triggers memories, as Marcel Prousst might say about madeleines, or onion bagels, if he’s grown up near the Fabulous Modern Bakery on 7Mile. In this case, vaulting a table in a single bound.
My brother Chris was the singular athlete in a family of good athletes. Two of four played college football. Three of us were All-State in HS.
My dad was a protege of Albert Sabin, who, family lore says fed me (God knows what) some sort of babyfood in my high chair (I know I would have preferred coffee black.) So anyway, we were getting the vaccine, like it or not. Chris bolted down a hospital corridor in abject horror at being stuck with a needle.
Alert orderlies wheeled a gurney into his path, but Chris cleared it with no problem. He can’t have been more than four. Now he’s an incredibly highly paid corporate lawyer in Phoenix. What fueled his leap? He might claim some sort of inciipient Libertarianism (although he grew up with a giant Bobby Kennedy poster over his bed.) And although he knows you can’t let everybody go packing. I asked him this specifically, and he agrees with me that it would take a dangerously out-of-control society to agree that Bob Knight should ever be allowed to get within miles of a gun.
But anyway, he jumped the table. In his Senior HS year, at 5-11 tops, he cleared 6-7 in the Michigan State Meet, having never high jumped in competition, and also went something around 25 ft. in long jump. I suppose this is related to the Urban Legend about picking up a jeep and turning it around on a narrow jungle track.
So anyway, Nancy, I think you were provoked, and you made a leap. We do things in unusual circumstances. I think you ‘ve got an accurate memory. I wish you’d been blessed with something more benign. Like breakfast pastry.
There’s something abot this site. We have Bobby Riggs. Negotiated rules said Bobby was giving doubles lines to w
michaelj said on November 30, 2007 at 7:46 pm
Nancy Nall seems to understand what made Detroit speciaL, but she she never lived in the city. I lived in a suburb, too. Birmingham. I did go to school inside7Mile.
Earlier today, I heard Persecution Smith on the MIT (wmbr, and download Winamp) radio station. Persecution Smith is what Detroit was about in the late Sixties. We knew you couldn’t trust the government. It’s definitive about why some time in history in Detroit was just better, and more instructive about politics Civics class.
I used to trust the pledge of allegiance, until they beat me bloody down at the station. They haven’t fot a word out of me since I goy a million years probation. When did doggerel written by a devoted Socialist become the fold standard for patriotism?
Tomorrow, those wackjob homeless guys in Miami face life. They were supposedly committed to Al Quaeda. There oath of alliegance was administered by an FBI agent that promised them cash and shoes. I’m shaking in my boots. What’s wrong with this country? Are we, is this country, joking? Like Jose Padilla, the famous ‘dirty bomber’. The guy’s IQ is approximately 70.
Actually, Billie was given the doubles lines against a really old guy. If she wanted to prove something, she could have played Johnny Mac with the same rules. Or some other old guy. Game over. But she would have played him.49 vs. 70 is kinda stupid.
basset said on November 30, 2007 at 9:41 pm
four-pin to six-pin? hmmmm, somebody is inputting camera video… into iMovie, I suspect. you’ll love it.
just remember, though…
zoom with your feet.
let your shots run.
and turn off all the wipes and flips and fancy transitions. straight cuts and dissolves are all you need.
joodyb said on November 30, 2007 at 11:53 pm
Brian: Kill Bill Vol. 1 in a nutshell.
i’m getting that book. thanks.
michaelj said on December 1, 2007 at 1:08 am
Kill bill isn’t Kill bill if it doesn’t have Kwai Chang Cain. Old fool with eyerows,simply tedious. Attempt at Braid Lunner. Not even close. Blaid Lunner did a man’s work.
Danny said on December 1, 2007 at 9:57 am
Evel Knievel is dead.
As a boy growing up in the 70’s, we sure jumped a lot of things on our bikes because of him. And we got the injuries to prove that when they say, “Kids, don’t try this at home,” it is sometimes excellent advice.
And then there was the little model motorcycle and action figure that you cranked up to jump things. A lot of skinned knuckles with that one.
There was also the attempt he made at the Snake River. As a 10 year old boy, I tuned in with much anticipation. I remember hearing an interview that Jim Rome had with him a few years back and at one point Rome asked Knievel why he did the 1974 Snake River Canyon jump, knowing he had a 50-50 chance to survive. Evel responded, “Do you know who the hell I am?”
Rome thought that was classic and often refers back to that interview and that particular quote. I think Evel even gave Rome a replica of his diamond encrusted cane which also doubled as a flask for Wild Turkey.
brian stouder said on December 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm
joodyb – you know, I’ve never seen Kill Bill – but Pam caught it and loved it, and so at some point it will surely end up in my hand at the video place, when I see it.
Evel Knievel is certainly an interesting person, eh? Think of all the barn-stormers and other assorted dare devils who didn’t take nearly the risks he did, and still died young. Who’d a thought Evel would die of old age? (Yeah yeah – 69 isn’t really ‘old’ – but 69 Knievel years has gotta be like 122 normal human years!)
And one of D-Town’s old Princes of the City died – Roger Smith. On the one hand, I thought it was vaguely unfair that every obit about him will mention Michael Moore in the next sentence (if not in the lead sentence)….but on the other hand, the world almost certainly wouldn’t have noted his passing except for Michael Moore’s film – so fair is fair.
edit: btw, I loved the clip w/Leo. When he lowers his voice, I think of Howard Hughes! (a genuinely good movin’ picture – The Aviator!)
joodyb said on December 3, 2007 at 7:47 pm
KB I&II would not be my normal fare, but uma is compelling and thus is everyone else. the graphic novel aspect is what i liked.
as for Blade Runner i must say having seen in theater when it first came out the violence is not what lingers. We were so enthralled/in love with Ridley Scott we walked around in a daze for weeks. still husband’s fave film. at least right up there. the deal with KBs is how carnage takes actual visceral toll on viewer. muscle memory.