Day 299 of the Calendar Year

Have you ever heard the term “Roman Holiday?” Do you know what it means? Allwords.com defines it as: “An event or occasion when pleasure is taken from the suffering of others. Etymology: so called because days of gladiatorial combat in ancient Rome were public holidays.” Does this definition surprise you? Did you think the phrase had a more benign meaning? Perhaps, you thought it meant something like having fun in Rome while on vacation. Well, in one sense, it does, but the “fun” came at the death and suffering of others. Do we still take Roman Holidays? Some people might say boxing, football and many contact sports are enjoyed more for their violent elements than for the athletic prowess they display. Nevertheless, while we might enjoy these sports, it does not mean that we enjoy the suffering of others.

We may in fact enjoy violence, but I draw the line at thinking that many of us really go to events to see people hurt or suffer. In fact, I have a hard time understanding how even the ancient Roman citizens could have been so callous and insensitive. Perhaps, we would have to live in that era to understand why a Roman holiday would have been fun. Today, I think there is a greater sensitivity and awareness of obvious cruelty. Even in contact sports, I see little evidence of a Roman holiday. Has the world really grown and become more caring or do I have my rose colored glasses on? Are we less likely to go on a Roman holiday? Do you want to see anyone hurt or get any pleasure from the suffering of others? Do you secretly hope to see a crash during a NASCAR race or do you want to see the acrobat fall during the high wire act at the circus? I will bet not. Why would you or anyone else want to see someone hurt?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alfast
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 01:10:51

    Back when we were involved in Motorcross when there was a crash and the injured was placed in a vehicle the crowd would gather and ask, “Is there any blood.” Sort of revealing. I would wish no one to be hurt.

    Reply

  2. John Persico
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 12:10:39

    I wonder if they were just worried or perhaps thinking that if there was no blood that the person would be okay?

    Reply

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