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Old 01-05-2003, 12:51 AM   #1
Elspode
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Chariot Racing

I'm sitting here at the computer, making anaglyphs (fun!) with the digital camera, and I thought I'd flip on the TV. There's some show on which I had not yet before seen. Entitled "Thunderdome", it appears to be a hybrid of indoor truck racing and female wrestling. It is so bizarre that it reminded me of something I wrote a couple of months back. You people are a lot of fun and seem to have warped insights into things, so I thought you might appreciate it...

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Beer and Circuses

I have, for some time now, been privileged to participate in Harris Poll Online's ongoing public
opinion polling. It is often quite a lot of fun, and I'm amassing points toward some sort of trivial
little gift in the process. Today, however, was the first time I actually got *excited* about
the topic of the poll which arrived in my email.

It seems that TLC/Discovery/One of Their Other Affiliated Channels will soon be airing a
program featuring *chariot racing*. Yes, chariot racing, complete with jaunty two-wheeled carts
pulled by great lumbering beasts, driven by what I assume will be buffed and tanned males
wearing leather skirts, zooming at perilous speeds around a circular dirt-floored race track.
Apparently, the object of the survey was to ascertain (1) whether the proposed ad campaign
would pique my interest, and (2) whether the chariot racing itself would be something that I might
watch. There were numerous little boxes in which I could indicate my potential levels of fervor at
the prospect of such a show. (Note: one of the questions asked me on which of several affiliated
channels the chariot racing should be carried. TNN, formerly known as The Nashville Network
seemed to me to be the obvious choice out of the group.)

So...will I watch it? What a foolish question! It doesn't really *get* any better than this, does it?!
I mean, who doesn't love the epic film "Ben Hur", especially the part where Masala gets his
comeuppance in a particularly gory and horrendous fashion, trampled by horses and smooshed
beneath a chariot, which bounces smartly over his soon-to-be-lifeless form? The only thing that
could possibly make this sport more appealing to the red-blooded American male (a demographic
in which I hold a charter membership, thank you very much) would be the addition of buxom
cheerleaders wearing translucent gauze togas, gyrating in some sort of erotic temple dance while
rubbing down the chariot jockeys with scented olive oil. Oh...and a big box of wine.

But why should the fun stop here? Really visionary programming executives ought to consider
chariot racing to be a mere appetizer, a relatively benign component of a truly glorious, televised,
extreme historical sports spectacle. Why not augment the chariot action with a segment featuring
actual gladiatorial combat to the death? Desperate athletes, one step away from incarceration due
to their drug habits and wanton disregard for the laws which govern the rest of us, are a dime a
dozen, and should therefore be easy to sign to a short term contract.

Think about it...if all that stood between one last shot at glory and a used car sales job was the
mere risking of life and limb, don't you think that your average faded warrior would go for the
gusto? "Aw hell, I blocked on Derrick Thomas in his prime; Mike Tyson with a battleaxe is no
big deal! Where do I sign?" Close up cameras would capture the furious combatants in all of
their gore-spattering glory, and an entire new genre of trading cards would be born. In fact,
they'd become instant collectibles, because no one star would last for long (except, perhaps, for
Russell Crowe, if he isn't killed in a bar fight first). Yes indeed, unless someone starts handing out
machetes to be used in lieu of the present voting-off process on "Survivor", this show will have
no real viable competition anywhere in TV Land.

Still, a mere duet of barbarian contests feels incomplete to me. Now, what would go well with
the equine equivalent of stock car racing and the heavily armed male version of a Fall clearance
sale at Saks? I know! Let's throw religious minorities to the lions! Assuming that the show runs
long enough (and let's not mince words here, this program is going to be the most popular in the
history of television), pretty much every religious path will eventually get its chance to appear.
Today, the Muslims, tomorrow the Wiccans, next week the Jews. With the pronounced lack of
religious tolerance in the world today, people will be volunteering each other in droves.
Christians, with all of their past experience in the sport, would be odds-on favorites in nearly all
the events, I would think. Madelyn Murray O'Hare (if she could be found, God bless her) could
host the proceedings, sweeping out onto the arena floor in a flowing gown, just like Loretta
Young did back in the glory days of television, only instead of a refrigerator, there will be a huge
snarling lion for her to caress while she introduces the first sacrificial monk.

Television sales will climb, especially the big-screen varieties - what better way to feel completely
immersed in the charnel carnival? As the show's popularity rises and the demographic broadens,
kids will dress up like charioteers for Halloween, the YMCA will give mace and shield lessons and
the first-person video game will become a best seller. Happily exploiting their transfixed
audience, advertisers will parade their wares, secure in the knowledge that nothing sells Band Aid
Brand Sheer Strips like an ad slotted immediately following a major laceration inflicted by a
savage lion upon a shrieking Sikh.

The public's appetite for mayhem and death will be sated in a way that the evening news simply
cannot match, short of live CNN coverage of a nuclear warhead detonation over Baghdad.
People will be glued to their television sets night after night, because something this big will not
be limited to a single weekly slot. Remember "Millionaire"? It ran three nights a week, in Prime
Time, and the worst thing that happened to those contestants was that Regis made them feel
warmly stupid. Can you imagine how popular it would have been if he'd shot the people who
bombed out at $32,000.00?

Look at it objectively, folks...Monday Night Football ratings have been steadily dropping for the
past five years. Baseball? Ha! No one even watches the World Series anymore. Basketball?
Most of those guys are the exact future ex-athletes whom I suggest will be applying for the
gladiatorial positions - just read the sports/criminal justice page to find their names. The
Olympics only run every couple of years, hardly anyone ever dies, and then only if there's a major
terroristic statement being made. Sure, Battlebots are good, but their parts don't stick to anything
when they are severed and go flying off. No, I think the entire future of televised sports hangs in
the balance, and TLC/Discovery may have just hit upon the beginning of a solution. The
merchandising tie-ins alone will probably pull the entire economy out of the dumper.

Goodbye, high tech, hello Circus Maximus. The hell with trying to recreate JFK's Camelot, let's
recreate ancient Rome! Hail Caesar!!
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Old 01-05-2003, 03:45 AM   #2
elSicomoro
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Ummm...I dunno if it's going to be that influential, but the show (on TLC this month) does look pretty sweet.
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Old 01-05-2003, 09:11 AM   #3
Elspode
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Quote:
Originally posted by sycamore
Ummm...I dunno if it's going to be that influential, but the show (on TLC this month) does look pretty sweet.
I like to go for the maximum in sarcastic absurdity, especially when pondering reality television. Despite the extremely over the top tone of the article, I'm still going to watch the thing. I was serious about the part about it not getting any better than this...
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Old 01-05-2003, 09:56 AM   #4
slang
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Re: Chariot Racing

Quote:
Originally posted by Elspode
would be the addition of buxom cheerleaders wearing translucent gauze togas, gyrating in some sort of erotic temple dance
Thats the only thing I miss about tv. Oh, and Fox News of course.

(bucksom is one ah mah faveright werds )

Last edited by slang; 01-05-2003 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-05-2003, 10:13 AM   #5
elSicomoro
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elspode
I like to go for the maximum in sarcastic absurdity, especially when pondering reality television.
That's cool...I do the same thing.
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Old 01-05-2003, 10:51 AM   #6
Griff
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I..........want.............desperately..............to..............drive. I'll need a bowman, who's in?
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Old 01-05-2003, 10:58 AM   #7
elSicomoro
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If you're referring to the bike, he's not building anymore right now.

What's wrong? Snow got you all blocked in?
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Old 01-05-2003, 11:06 AM   #8
Griff
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No, I NEED to drive a chariot, but if we're going Hittite style you need a shooter in each cart.

Ogg just got in from a long ski, snow good. *grunt* find food now playoff football soon. all rights reserved hubris boy 2001
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Old 01-05-2003, 11:16 AM   #9
elSicomoro
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Well, it depends. If you want an actual bowman, that I can do...I was good at archery. But a shooter (as in a gunman), that I can't do, for I suck.
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Old 01-05-2003, 06:43 PM   #10
wolf
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I'm in Griff ... you drive, I'll shoot.

Should I bring a compound or a longbow? Hunting broadheads okay??
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Old 01-05-2003, 07:21 PM   #11
Griff
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Very good! Pats producing the thing so its his call as to how advanced our weaponry can be.
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Old 01-05-2003, 07:32 PM   #12
Elspode
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Quote:
Originally posted by Griff
Very good! Pats producing the thing so its his call as to how advanced our weaponry can be.
If you mean me, I'm all for flamethrowers and other showy weapons. Crossbows work for you? Cool! Bring 'em on!
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:03 PM   #13
slang
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How about the "guy that pours the boiling oil on people"?

If there's room on the chariot, I'd like to get that postition.
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:43 PM   #14
Elspode
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Quote:
Originally posted by slang
How about the "guy that pours the boiling oil on people"?
I'm not sure that *pouring* boiling oil from a moving chariot is terribly practical. However, there's nothing to keep us from using some high-tech solutions. How would you feel about being the guy who sprays a pencil-thick jet of high-pressure boiling oil on people from a spray wand type thingie?
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Old 01-05-2003, 08:49 PM   #15
slang
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elspode
How would you feel about being the guy who sprays a pencil-thick jet of high-pressure boiling oil on people from a spray wand type thingie?
LMAO I think I like the wand with a trigger thingy.

Dont mess with the guy with the wand thingy that sprays boiling oil. It could be hazardous to your complexion.
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