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Karsten
19th May 2010, 20:01
Hello. I've been a long-time lurker here, but the new Kelsey Olson interview, which I loved, finally prompted me to register.

I know that the question has come up frequently on the forum of what a male-oriented parallel to the Judgment of Paris might look like. Well, I think I may have found the answer, in a show called The Deadliest Warrior.

Here's the series' official Web site:

http://dyn.ifilm.com/website/ver2/userModule_31082.jpg

http://www.spike.com/show/31082

It's a really enjoyable program on the Spike Network that pits warriors from different centuries against one another in hypothetical duels. Thus, you have, say, Viking vs. Samurai, Spartan vs. Ninja, and even team contests, like IRA vs. Taliban, etc.

It's a very gory series, with lots of blood. The warriors prove the efficacy of their period weapons against skulls, human torsos, sides of beef -- anything to simulate human bodies. The lethal results are calculated, fed into a computer, and after the program runs 1,000 simulated battles, it designates a winner.

Mostly the contests are randomly adversarial, but some have an interesting historical underpinning, like the "Waffen SS vs. Viet Cong" episode, which implied a battle between national socialism and communism -- two political ideologies that are mortal enemies in any century.

Also, sometimes the show doesn't just pit representative warrior classes against one another, but specific historic individuals as well. For example, one episode featured William Wallace (of Braveheart fame) up against Shaka Zulu, a king of the Zulu nation.

Within all of the show's entertaining mayhem are some genuine lessons about history, told in an accessible fashion. The show's hosts have a real, infectious love of the carnage that they film, a genuine grown-up-boys' enthusiasm, which makes the episodes fun to watch.

Here's a representative clip -- a test of a Claymore, the Scottish sword that was the weapon of choice of William Wallace:

<embed width="600" height="338" src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:ifilm:video:spike.com:3173479" quality="high" bgcolor="000000" name="efp" align="middle" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" flashvars="autoPlay=false" allowfullscreen="true"></embed>

Many of the complete episodes are viewable online; for example, "Spartan vs. Ninja." Note that each episode concludes with a hypothetical reenactment of the results that the computer simulation comes up with, so the winning warrior is shown triumphing over his opponent. You can fast-forward to that section here, if you like, which begins at 38:50 and lasts about two minutes:

http://www.spike.com/full-episode/spartan-vs-ninja/31578

Here's the "William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu" episode. The final battle simulation begins at around 40:05.

http://www.spike.com/full-episode/william-wallace-vs/32222

The show really is a perfect male parallel to the Judgment of Paris. Just as the female principle is represented by Venus, the goddess of beauty, so the male principle is represented by Mars, the god of war. Whereas a female-oriented site innately inclines toward indulgence, pleasure, and other life-giving properties, this male-oriented show presents the male equivalent, which is discipline, ferocity, and the joy of dealing death. It's a unique program.

HSG
9th December 2010, 02:37
Just as the female principle is represented by Venus, the goddess of beauty, so the male principle is represented by Mars, the god of war. Whereas a female-oriented site innately inclines toward indulgence, pleasure, and other life-giving properties, this male-oriented show presents the masculine equivalent, which is discipline, ferocity, and the joy of dealing death.
Karsten offers an eloquent summation of the complementary relationship between ideal femininity and ideal masculinity, which also illustrates the distinction between the aesthetic of the sublime and the aesthetic of the beautiful.

In a recent discussion about burgeoning Japanese warrior culture, we <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1840#post5694" target="_blank">observed</a> that the West also enjoys a rich cultural tradition of celebrating martial, masculine values. While such values have not been quite so aggressively suppressed in modern civilization as have traditional feminine principles, they have been nevertheless been dumbed down and reduced to vulgar, prosaic forms.

It was not always thus.

In the nobler eras of the past--which many of the <i>Deadliest Warrior</I> episodes revisit--martial traditions went hand in hand with cultural refinement. After all, the art of war and the arts of music, literature, and visual expression were all characteristic of the nobility. The aristocratic classes <i>were</I> the warrior classes. That is how the aristocracy came to be--it consisted of the knights who defended the lands and the peoples from foreign invaders.

Indeed, it was the warrior aristocracy that made Western civilization possible. It is no coincidence that the collapse of Western culture since the 20th century has exactly paralleled the fall from power of the traditional European aristocracy.

Or to put it another way, without kings and princes and nobles, there will never again be any Beethovens or Byrons or Friedrichs.

Let us return now to those thrilling days of yesteryear and revisit the literature of the aristocratic warrior tradition. German Romantic Poetry provides especially fine examples, not only because verse is easily digestible in one reading, but because poetry itself is the most aristocratic form of written expression--for which reason its antonym, "prosaic," has base and common connotations.

Beware, though. These verses are not for the meek or faint of heart. They breathe the uncompromising, aristocratic warrior spirit of a nobler time than ours, a time peopled by far greater men than currently walk the earth.<p><center>* * *</center><p>An ode called "<a href="http://angerburg.blogspot.com/2010/07/king-hachos-death-song.html" target="_blank">King Hacho's Death Song</a>," translated by Johann Gottfried von Herder from an ancient Nordic text, speaks of a heroic Viking warrior-king who is selected by the Valkyries to fight at the side of the god Odin. The Valkyries entice him with visions of greatness:<p><blockquote><i>"Brave monarch, know,
Thou to Valhalla's joys shalt go,
There to drink mead in skulls of foes,
And at the feast of gods repose."</i></blockquote><p>But Hacho (pronounced Ha-ko) entreats the Valkyries to allow him to die in battle:<p><blockquote><i>"Yet be my sword," the King replied,
"Once more in Norman slaughter dyed;
Let me, as heroes should, expire,
And fall in fight, as fell my sire."

He ceases, and to combat flies
He fights, he conquers, and he dies;
But soon he finds what joys attend,
Who dare in fight their days to end:
Soon as he gains Valhalla's gate,
Eight heroes there to greet him wait;
The gods a friend the monarch call,
And welcome him to Odin's hall.</i></blockquote><p>The timid modern mind can barely comprehend such superior notions of valour and glory, yet these were what gave life meaning for the warrior aristocrats of the past, the great men of another time.

The final stanzas of the poem have an apocalyptic touch, promising that the fame of a warrior king will last even to the breaking of the world, when the wolf god, Fenris, will set Ragnarök in motion, and time itself will end.<p><blockquote><i>Who in Valhalla thus shall be
Loved and revered, oh! bless'd is he;
His conquest and his fame shall long
Remember'd be, and live in song.
Wolf Fenris first his chain shall break,
And on mankind his fury wreak,
Ere walks a king in Hacho's trace,
Or fills so well his vacant place.</i></blockquote><p>Images of full-figured goddesses--both today's plus-size models and the well-fed beauties of the Old Masters--are frequently associated with spring and summertime, with life burgeoning and teeming, being in full bloom. In contrast, archetypal masculinity is often associated with apocalyptic fire, with the grand ending of the world in a mighty conflagration, with the finest of deaths as the greatest of triumphs.<p><center>* * *</center><p>Such ancient, warrior values took on particular significance in times when the Teutonic nations were imperiled by foreign invaders. In our previous "masculinity" post, linked above, we noted the example of Theodor Körner, the Prussian patriot and Romantic poet whose verses gave his fellow soldiers courage on the battlefield in the war against the French tyrant, Napoleon. Körner's actions spoke as loud as his words, for he died on the battlefield, writing his last poem in his own blood.

In another one of Körner's stirring verses, called "<a href="http://angerburg.blogspot.com/2010/07/men-and-knaves.html" target="_blank">Men and Knaves</a>," he compares the warrior spirit of the Prussian heroes fighting for their homeland with the effeminate wastrels who cowered from the conflict. When we read his stanzas today, his Viking-like verses effectively contrast the courageous Prussians of his time with simpering, modern metrosexuals:<p><blockquote><i><dl><dt>The storm is out; the land is roused;
<dt>Where is the coward who sits well-housed?
<dt>Fie, on thee, boy, disguised in curls,
<dt>Behind the stove, 'mong gluttons and girls!
<dd>A graceless, worthless wight thou must be;
<dd>No German maid desires thee,
<dd>No German song inspires thee,
<dd>No German Rhine-wine fires thee.
<dd><dl><dd>Forth in the van,
<dd>Man by man,</dl><dd>Swing the battle-sword who can!</i></dl></blockquote><p>Reviving the warrior ethos of the Nordic pagan past, Körner indicates that for real man, dying in the defense of one's Fatherland is a great distinction, compared to which dragging on a shameful, cowardly existence is a disgrace.

The references to Rhine-wine and to ringing German goblets are the 19th-century equivalent of the draughts of mead that enflamed the hearts of Viking warriors in battle. (Compare the Valkyries' promise that the king will "drink mead in skulls of foes," in "King Hacho's Death-Song.")

Note too how much distinction Körner gives to the young women of Germany, who, as he states, could only desire a brave warrior, not a coward.<p><blockquote><i><dl><dt>If on the red field our bell should toll,
<dt>Then welcome be death to the patriot's soul.
<dt>Thy pampered flesh shall quake at its doom,
<dt>And crawl in silk to a hopeless tomb.
<dd>A pitiful exit thine shall be;
<dd>No German maid shall weep for thee,
<dd>No German song shall they sing for thee,
<dd>No German goblets shall ring for thee.
<dd><dl><dd>Forth in the van,
<dd>Man for man,</dl><dd>Swing the battle-sword who can!</i></dl></blockquote><p><center>* * *</center><p>Today, what little remains of a masculine ideal is either that of a mere brute, beating himself into insensibility in "ultimate fighting" competitions, or a metrosexual "modern guy," which is the male equivalent of the androgyny that the fashion world pushes on contemporary women.

But in the nobler eras of the past, the masculine ideal represented sophisticated aristocratic warriors, who could defend their Fatherland to the death, but who also supported civilization, and imbibed art and culture as eagerly as they did a flagon of Rhenish.

The fall of the Old World aristocratic-warrior culture tellingly paralleled both the suppression of the traditional feminine ideal, and the degeneration of the masculine ideal into brutishness or foppishness. For Western civilization to renew itself, all three pillars of our European heritage must be restored.

Mårten Eskil Winge, <i>Thor's Fight with the Giants,</i> 1872:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/gallery/angerburg/winge01c.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/gallery/angerburg/winge01.jpg" target="_blank">Click to view larger</a>