On Gods of the Arena

I of course refer to Spartacus.

All these women are completely naked in the show
If you are unfamiliar with this show, imagine someone was incapable of focusing on something, unless every 120 seconds or less someone was killed, shown naked, or having sex.

That person could sit and watch this whole series start to finish.

I don't mean to imply that it's not good. The dialogue is kitsch, and some of the special effects are terrible due to low budget.

But the show is a successful piece of art, both in a experience and intent manner.

There will be something you will see that will affect you, and the show is quite talented at the characters, although shallow, blank and representative of enough common human emotion, that you can not help but identify with them.

And it is a show that is about how the Romans used and exploited sex and violence to please the people as their empire crumbled, that uses sex and violence to entertain the people while their empire crumbles.

Also, I'm pretty sure we see every penis
Also, people were not this beautiful in real life, certainly. But it does have some of the more attractive specimens of humanity I've run across.

And they are rarely clothed.

I found the current rash of "Hot Elf Chick" to draw attention to the OSR a bit complex. The discussion between Greg and Zak was also strange. Most women I've talked to about this show, don't particularly find it makes them feel uncomfortable (although they comment they fast forward through the fight scenes), even with the slavery, rape, castration, and skin shown in the show. I will see some of the women we game with tomorrow and ask their opinion about the show, and about the chainmail bikini "exploitation" in gaming. What does make women uncomfortable, I think is a pretty silly question. A better question is what makes people uncomfortable. And I pretty much think it's anything that is glorifying the base desires and actions of people that impacts the rights and freedoms of another person. i.e. it isn't the picture, or the rape, or the anything really that is offensive - it's the environment that glorifies that behavior that is.

The point of the show is that the Romans were disgusting for what they did. While the show does what the Romans did for the audience of the show.

I don't like to apply value judgments to things, hence why my reviews have no numerical score. But no one I've talked to can avoid looking away once they start watching.

Is that the definition of good entertainment?


  1. I never caught myself having to look away while watching either Spartacus season/series because it's what they advertised. It's "Social Horror" and watching that is like watching a slasher-horror movie, at root we aren't the slasher but the survivor.

  2. I can't read that 'Errant RPG' entry anymore. I just don't have the brain for it. At some point I guess I accept that other people don't always see everything the way I do and somehow when we use blogs (or any other media--- or even face-to-face conversation) to debate why other people don't see things the same way I do becomes frustrating to me.

    The violence and sexuality of Spartacus doesn't bother me (even though it seems pretty over-the-top... but my understanding is that ancient Rome was pretty violent and the Romans were fairly open about sexuality). But I like HBO's ROME better because they made more of an effort to be more 'period correct' in the details and I found the acting and dialogue a bit more convincing.

    At the core of it, however, watching ROME or Spartacus doesn't bother me as much as watching those cops put the smackdown on Rodney King bothers me because in the back of my mind I think I understand that it is all a portrayal rather than an actual event.

  3. @JDJarvis: You may have a stronger stomach then some people. I'm not much for gore, and I find this ok, mostly. I'm only into episode 2 of the new season, but watching someone get castrated is over my threshold.

    @Limpey: Yeah, I wasn't certain what the point of the back and forth was meant to prove. I (due to my gender and physical size - I lift) cannot imagine the perspective of a woman less than 1/3rd my size. (Like a hobbit - there might be a post there). I don't ever worry about who's in a room with me, etc. I don't ever really have a problem taking the time to figure out exactly how the other guy is crazy.

    I am also not bothered by the spectacle. HBO's Rome is better, this and other shows are just Americans in Roman costumes. I do not expect anything different. Latin is my second language, and I have had aaaalllmost enough courses for the classical studies minor in Rome. I got used to inaccuracy in the depiction of the culture long ago.

    It is less traumatic then a real event, for certain.

  4. yeah; I didn't intend my previous post to sound so dismissive. There may be an interesting discussion in there somewhere on that Errant RPG blog; I may just not be smart enough or in tune enough to get it.

  5. "Rome" is certainly better. The awful stuff in Spartacus is all right because no one is really getting castrated (and worse).

    Real life is much more horrifying.

  6. I sometimes like to annoy my s.o. by speaking to her like I am Battiatus (John Hannah) in 'Spartacus,' saying things like, "By Jupiter's cock that burrito was worthy of the Emperor himself!" or "What Herculean labor! No matter how often I wash the dishes, each day brings more and more dirty dishes till I am driven to madness by their quantity and repetition! I feel like Sisyphus himself being shit on by the very gods!"

  7. @ Limpey

    Sorry you feel that way. I had some reservations about how the argument with Zak would shape opinions of my blog. Regrettably, it has turned off a few people. Yourself as Exhibit A.

    However, my traffic ballooned for a while and has now settled at double what it was before the argument. The referral traffic from Zak's or Mandy's blog is down to less than 10 hits a day or so. So I have to consider that the redirection effect of people who have a bad opinion of me has largely stopped. I guess I did turn off a few people, but the consequences have been fairly positive for me.

    Within the past few days, I have posted a free epic-sized world map for anyone to use for their personal stuff, a bit of D&D inspired creative writing, a discussion of the proper role of a gamemaster in an RPG design, and a non-evangalizing setting concept that would allow gender equality in a medieval setting without being forced to just work that way. The last one has a hint of gender politics in it, but I don't discuss the politics or chastize anyone, I just focus on the solution aspect.

    For what it's worth, I pretty much side 100% with you politically. I have enjoyed your posts about Wisconsin.

    I hope you can find some room to maybe give me a 2nd chance. If not, no hard feelings. This is the INTARWEBS@! after all. :)

  8. Oh and I forgot to mention;

    Don't overlook that it is a download spot for my FREE GAME. ;) Maybe you knew that, but I am finding an increasingly large number of people don't. So I actually expanded the presence of the download link recently, to reinforce that.


  9. Greg: Seriously, as far as length conversations of that ilk go, it's not you, it's me. If it brings you greater understanding or improves your life to have such discussion, more power to you and I don't need an apology from you.


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