“The Professor In The Cage: Why Men Fight And Why We Like To Watch” by Jonathan Gottschall is a fascinating look at fighting and violence through the eyes of a college professor who not only researching fighting and violence, but joined a MMA gym to train and actually enter the arena to fight. It is well written, eye opening, and an enjoyable read for anyone interested in why men fight and why so many enjoy watching.
Gottschall chronicles his own journey, including his apprehensions and fears, as an out of shape nearing 40 college professor entering the world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and training and competing against men half his age. But he also includes research on fighting and “manly” rituals throughout history in many cultures. It is this combination of memoir and research that indeed sets this book apart from others of similar genre. It’s humorous at times, and shockingly brutal at others.
Reading this book gives one a better understanding of the place of violence in our lives, and why boys gravitate toward wrestling with each other and why they partake in after school fisticuffs. It also helps illustrate why sex and violence have “sold” throughout history. Was the brutality of watching gladiators all that different from watching modern day UFC bouts? Why has the movie “Saw” and its sequels made so much money? While this book might not provide the definitive answer to these questions and others of a similar nature, it does a good job of examining them.
An extremely interesting look at fighting throughout the ages and its popularity with both combatants and spectators. I really enjoyed “The Professor In The Cage” and recommend it to anyone interested in why people fight and why others enjoy watching.
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