“Who Killed Benny Paret?”: Article review

1 January 2018

In the article, “Who Killed Benny Paret?”, Norman Cousins interviews Mike Jacobs. Mike Jacobs is “… the most powerful figure in the boxing world.” (1), which Cousins learns the importance of violence in the boxing industry, which is the audience. Mike Jacobs says, “They come out to see the knockout. They come out to see a man get hurt. If they think anything else, they’re kidding themselves.”(5). Cousins is astonished by the fact the boxing industry is just trying to please the crowd and does not matter if the fighters are getting hurt or, even worse, killed.
The death of Benny Paret was televised, seen by millions, which started a search of who to blame. Cousins discusses how investigators studied every aspect of Benny Paret’s death and if the cause was before the fight. People placed blame on the referee, examining doctors and Paret’s manager. In Cousins eyes, no adequate reason of Benny Paret’s blamed killer made sense. He wanted the blame on America, “Put the blame where it belongs- on the prevailing mores that regard prize fighting as a perfectly proper enterprise and vehicle of entertainment.”(10). The blame was on the people that turned violence into entertainment, the people that “will miss it if it should be thrown out.” (10), and the people that pay to see men hurt.

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In the essay, “The Death of Benny Paret”, Norman Mailer addresses how Benny Paret died. Being apart of the audience, the fight Benny Paret died, brought the experience. Mailer is a fan of boxing and did not place blame on who Benny Paret’ skiller was, rather the experience of witnessing his death. Norman Cousins would have disliked the description of Griffith’s role in Benny Paret’s death. For example, “… the sound of Griffith’s punches echoed in the mind like a heavy ax in the distance chopping into a wet log.”(3). Cousins was not a fan of violence being entertaining, therefore he would not agree with Mailer’s description of Paret’s last moments of life.

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