Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let's Get Ready to Humble!

I was thinking about Michael Buffer's famous line, said before boxing matches around the world -- "Let's get ready to RUMBLE!" It is an iconic phrase -- possibly one of the most iconic in the world. Everybody knows it, even if you've never seen a boxing match.

Buffer is getting on in years, and eventually (hopefully not too soon) he'll die. And when that happens, the phrase will die with him -- not just in the sense that nobody will say it, but it's massive cultural penetration will rapidly become almost unintelligible. In 100 years, not only will nobody remember that phrase, but if they stumble on a historical artifact which references it, they'll have no idea what it means (culturally -- literally speaking, they could probably parse it out). Even if a historian did happen to be familiar with it, how would he explain it in terms of its incredible global reach? For something so ubiquitous, it really has no substance behind it whatsoever -- it's just a neat phrase, said in a neat way, that people around the world associate with the start of the fight.

This sounds a bit maudlin, and I don't mean it to be -- I actually think it is kind of neat that as a species we have managed to unify behind something as shallow and ridiculous as this. But it was a strange thought to have, and what is the purpose of having a blog if you can't share strange thoughts?

1 comment:

EW said...

It’s always sobering to reflect upon the inevitability of decline and decay.

Commenting on how all things crumble in time, Percy Shelley would be moved to reflect upon the passing of one who said, "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nearly two centuries of “progress” later, David Schraub would be similarly moved to reflect upon the impending death of one who says, “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!

So if you seek evidence of decline and decay, look no further.