PDA

View Full Version : Ask Segal a question


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


robert weatherall
12-22-2006, 10:16 AM
Hi everyone. I regularly visit this website and notice that there is often talk about Steven Segal. Iím giving you a chance to ask him any question you would like. I work for the Sunday Sun, a regional newspaper in the north of England, and one of our features in the paper each week is called ASK.
Essentially it is an opportunity for the readers to ask a celebrity any question they want. I have lined Steven Segal up for this feature. He and Thunderbox are playing a few gigs in our circulation area and his British PR people have agreed to the feature. I will select the best questions and forward them on. So if you have ever wanted to quiz the man on anything from Aikido, his films or music here is your chance. The article should appear in the New Year and also appear on line, when it does I will post a link here.
Send your questions to ask.sundaysun@ncjmedia.co.uk

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2006, 12:33 PM
I think first before he would answer the question, you'd have to spell his name correctly. It is Seagal.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-22-2006, 07:38 PM
Thanks Kevin, especially since another excellent person to ask about training in Japan under Abe Seiseki sensei would be Mr. Neil Segal in Iowa, who hosted Abe sensei earlier this year and is a true gentleman to boot. Happy holidays all.

robert weatherall
12-23-2006, 04:15 AM
I won't be the first person to incorrectly spell a word on a website discussion forum while I am typing quickly in my lunch break and I won't be the last.
Thanks to everyone for your questions. The ask email address has been inundated. For those of you interested I will post the link on this forum when it is published.

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2006, 04:54 AM
sorry did not mean to come across as rude. I appologize.

Rupert Atkinson
12-24-2006, 03:54 PM
When I visit a new place I always check out local dojos and find one to train in.

A few years back Seagal went to Korea and I half expected him to turn up on the mat where we were training ... of course, I was mistaken. Why does he not visit local dojos to train when travelling like so many other people do when travelling? Does he think he is too important? That is my question :)

Aristeia
12-25-2006, 04:04 AM
let me get this straing - you're miffed because Segal didn't turn up to your dojo to train and he's the one with issues around feeling over important?

Rupert Atkinson
12-25-2006, 03:54 PM
I did not really expect him to train, of course. I expect he would have wanted tons of money that we wouldn't have had for seminar fees and so on.

As I said though, Aikidoka that travel tend to seek Aikido out. In Korea, we had many visistors pass through who went on holiday or business trips with their keikogis taking up lotsa baggage space - it's kinda normal. I do it too.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-25-2006, 05:17 PM
My impression is that people of his rank don't often just drop into dojos wherever they happen to be to take classes.

For one thing, it can be construed as rude if the top teacher at the school is of lesser rank, as there will be implicit pressure to invite the higher ranked visiting teacher to teach a class. Hence, showing up without prior arrangement and a relationship with the sensei can appear presumptuous.

He could just show up with a white belt and take a beginner's class, but do you really think this is common among shihan-ranked teachers? In his case in particular, I think he would get flack for attempting a publicity stunt. Also, how likely do you think it is that showing up to such a random class would be worth a 7th dan's time?

Adam Huss
12-25-2006, 05:58 PM
I'm a lowly shodan and I get pretty apprehensive about wearing yudansha rank in a dojo that I'm visiting. I usually do don a white belt when I'm traveling, but nobody knows who I am so it doesn't matter. Steven Seagal doesn't exactly blend into a crowd either.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-25-2006, 08:25 PM
Shihan's generally seek out other shihans, having made their contacts in their younger days. Their goals in training are likely somewhat different, so without appearing rude, wasting time in a dojo they don't know is something they would probably avoid. I.e., there's got to be some kind of benefit for the shihan as well, unless he's a really really sociable down-to-earth kind with tons of free time (I don't know any with those attributes...).

aikidoc
12-25-2006, 10:21 PM
Ezra shihan from England I believe contacted one of our association dojos (Jorge Garcia) to train when visiting relatives in Houston TX. There are other dojos in the Houston area with higher ranked senseis but he decided to visit our dojo in January.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-26-2006, 03:01 AM
excuse me if this seems rude John: "you lucky bastard!" I've had the pleasure of Ezra sensei's instruction in the early 1990's in South Africa, I'm confident he is just as personable and down to earth now as he was then. A true gentleman.

batemanb
12-26-2006, 03:51 AM
(I don't know any with those attributes...).


Nakao sensei of the Kobe Seibukan is one with these attributes. Every year he and his wife go abroad on vacation, they take their gi's with them and find a local dojo to train in.

aikidoc
12-26-2006, 06:41 AM
I'm not the lucky one-I don't get to train. I'm too far away from Houston-Jorge and his students are the lucky ones.

Mato-san
12-26-2006, 10:15 AM
I wanna ask Take Sensei about his smiles that he makes when he hears the world critics. The people that would like to press a waza like he does it. And about his movies and how it was easier to pull fights than scripts. Then I would like to take my hat off to the man. Why do you all envy him? I can understand if you don`t like his hard style but he is a brilliant Aikidoka. I have met many people in Japan that dig his style....I have met ranked hombu instructors that respect his style..... what is it about haters in the Aikido world???? I don`t understand. Dynamics....I don`t get the haters....I think is envy and envy really has no place in Aikido...it is like .......I can`t use words cause words are cheap.

Mato-san
12-26-2006, 10:23 AM
Yeah the thread holds respect for the man.....great job job guys.....let us maintain it.....as soon as I seen a Seagal thread I responded without reading, my mistake! Sorry again...and again let us maintain it!

Ron Tisdale
12-27-2006, 08:14 AM
Nakao sensei of the Kobe Seibukan is one with these attributes. Every year he and his wife go abroad on vacation, they take their gi's with them and find a local dojo to train in.

I was lucky enough to be in one of the dojo where he and his wife stopped by to train. Not only would he not "take over" the class, he trained like everyone else, took ukemi like everyone else, did situps after practice like everyone else, did otto geiko after class, like everyone else.

He is one of the best examples of aikido I've ever had the pleasure to train with. It is a shame more don't follow his example, of any rank. Powerfull aikido too...

Best,
Ron

Mato-san
12-29-2006, 09:52 AM
Ron you are a lucky man to have been blessed with the experience of training with such a person (movie star aside).....and for him to be so compliant opens my eyes even more. My impression of the man is that is hard and has a huge understanding!.....In a dream world I would like to think he would respect anothers approach....and you experienced that....that holds value....and also shines a new light on the man....I love his Aikido! He pushes his students into real life situations...I think people can learn from that ...that is why I back him 100%......

Ron Tisdale
12-29-2006, 09:59 AM
Uh, my post referenced Nakao Sensei, not Seagal Sensei. But yeah, I think I'm pretty lucky just the same. ;)

Best,
Ron

Gregy
01-12-2007, 05:05 PM
I would like to ask Steven Seagal how it felt when Judo Jean Labell choked him out on the set of his movie Under Siege.

thanks,

Gregy

robert weatherall
01-17-2007, 07:13 AM
Hello all.
Here are the Seagal questions which appeared in the paper. As you can all understand the Sunday Sun is a family newspaper and not a specialist martial arts publication so the number of martial art related questions had to be limited so the article would appeal to the widest possible audience.
Those martial art questions which do appear here though were kindly provided by people form this forum and for that I thank you all.
Here it is:

YOU have become an expert in martial arts and have established yourself as an accomplished actor. Why do you now feel the need to move into the music industry?


This is not something new to me. My first artistic endeavour was playing music. Music has been part of my life prior to my martial arts studies and acting career. It will continue to be because it is my first.


WHAT and who are your musical influences?


There are many musicians I admire, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Gate Mouth Brown, Charlie Patton, Son House, Lightning Hopkin, Elmore James, Robert Johnson to name just a few.


CAN you be musically inspired, while doing serious Budo-training?


Music and Buddhism both play a major part in who I am. Iím very philosophical about it, thatís part of my Buddhist approach.


YOU have acted alongside some major stars including Michael Caine, Tommy Lee Jones and Kurt Russell. Is there anyone left in Hollywood who you would like to work with?


I could not be specific on this question. There are many great actors that I look forward to the privilege of working with.


NOW that your music career is well established does this mean you have given up on films or will you continue to pursue both?


No, I love both of my careers and will continue to perform in both. I see my future split between the two mediums.


WOULD you like to appear in any other film genre, such as comedy?


I like to think I am adaptable but I just take each project as it comes. While I am here in the UK there is talk of me hosting an edition of The Friday Night Project on Channel 4. I understand that could be a lot of fun.


HAS the discipline gained through your Aikido training helped you in any other part of your life?


I think it has. I think it makes me a better person.


WILL you be taking any classes at Dojos or clubs in the north east of England during your visit?


I get approached by clubs a lot, to either train with them or teach. Unfortunately, on this tour there is just not the time available.


HOW do you manage to devote enough time to each of your three careers, movies, martial arts and music?


I have never really needed too much sleep, I get by on a few hours every day . . . that's how I find the time for everything.


HOW many movies have you made to date?


I have just finished filming my 33rd action film and when I finish this European leg of my world tour I will start on my 34th.

Chikai Aikidoka
01-17-2007, 07:44 AM
I wonder what's (was) his favorite technique .... I'm guessing iriminage

Anyway, too late for that question and it wasn't a martial art interview anyway.

Thanks Robert for the post.

Gregy
01-17-2007, 12:24 PM
Why, Mr. Seagal have you let yourself become so morbidly obese over the years?

Rupert Atkinson
01-17-2007, 01:46 PM
Well, I guess he answered my question:

Aikido practice while travelling - No time available.

Less said the better ...

Erik Calderon
01-17-2007, 02:25 PM
That was very nice reading.

Thanks for the interview.

Chris Li
01-17-2007, 02:36 PM
Why, Mr. Seagal have you let yourself become so morbidly obese over the years?

Morbidly obese? Hardly. He's gotten a little bit tubby, but there are any number of well known Japanese shihan who outdo him by far, and their weight never seems to get commented upon...

Best,

Chris

Gregy
01-17-2007, 03:45 PM
I just find it interesting that his own senior students from his old dojo in CA did the research to find out that eating along the lines of a macrobiotic diet gave one more energy and opened up the lines of KI in the body.

And then you have Steven Seagal eating steak and eggs for breakfast.

Chris Li
01-17-2007, 04:20 PM
I just find it interesting that his own senior students from his old dojo in CA did the research to find out that eating along the lines of a macrobiotic diet gave one more energy and opened up the lines of KI in the body.

And then you have Steven Seagal eating steak and eggs for breakfast.

Eating steak and eggs for breakfast (which I don't particularly see as a problem anyway) is a long way from being "morbidly obese".

And most of Morihei Ueshiba's students smoked like chimneys - and enjoyed steak.

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
01-17-2007, 06:19 PM
I suspect that a good number of them tossed back plenty of sake and other libations on a regular basis, too. ;)

But Seagal is always on the spot because he is a celebrity and a public personality, being a movie star. That will always leave a person vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism of a volume and level that less visible people don't have to face.

Gregy
01-17-2007, 09:14 PM
Seagal is a piece of garbage. He is not the wonderful icon you worship. In person he is very arrogant and a dick head. He is a liar, a cheater, a wife beater, and a criminal.

And by the way it should be Segal but he changed his name because of shame of his jewish heritage. Nutcase.

aikidjoe
01-17-2007, 10:05 PM
Seagal is a piece of garbage. He is not the wonderful icon you worship. In person he is very arrogant and a dick head. He is a liar, a cheater, a wife beater, and a criminal.

And by the way it should be Segal but he changed his name because of shame of his jewish heritage. Nutcase.

While I don't particularly like Seagal (his acting is appalling and he certainly gives an arrogant air from clips I've seen) I'd like to know if you've had a personal experience or are just relating what you've heard. I have heard/read he had/has (I;m not sure which) connections to the mafia that helped him start his acting career, or something like that.

Chris Li
01-17-2007, 10:23 PM
Seagal is a piece of garbage. He is not the wonderful icon you worship. In person he is very arrogant and a dick head. He is a liar, a cheater, a wife beater, and a criminal.

And by the way it should be Segal but he changed his name because of shame of his jewish heritage. Nutcase.

How did you get from "he's not morbidly obese" to "I worship him"?

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
01-18-2007, 02:29 AM
Gregory, for what it is worth. I don't appreciate your language or comments. There is a better and more constructive way to say things.

There are better ways to say you don't care for someone, or their actions. I refer you to the thread entitled respect.

It is about the only golden rule we have here on aikiweb, and one worth following. Thanks.

Guilty Spark
01-18-2007, 07:10 AM
Seagal is a piece of garbage. He is not the wonderful icon you worship. In person he is very arrogant and a dick head. He is a liar, a cheater, a wife beater, and a criminal.

I'd like to know if you've had a personal experience or are just relating what you've heard.

I'd like to hear whether you've had personal experience with this too or were you just repeating what you've heard online.

Gregy
01-18-2007, 07:19 AM
Yes, this is from personal experience. The reason that it is relevant on this forum is because
in my opinion he is bad for the art. I invite everyone on this forum to seek the truth. The art of
Aikido is about love and respect, two things that Steve continually has not represented

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 10:10 AM
I have an idea. Why don't you do the following:

1) post a clip of the brilliant aikido that you perform, so that we can give your opinion the proper respect it so richly deserves.

2) post at least 20 character references from your instructors, friends and family, so that we can see how your perfect life is an example to us.

3) Go find him, and tell him in person what you think.

4) Failing that...cut us and what's his name some slack. We (I and Chris, at least) don't worship him, he isn't my teacher, so I don't have any reason to defend him in particular, and your behavior is appalling...does your instructor support your behavior? Why don't we invite him on to see what he thinks? Oh, I see on your profile it says "dojo: none". Hmmm...

Best,
Ron

justin
01-18-2007, 10:18 AM
Yes, this is from personal experience. The reason that it is relevant on this forum is because
in my opinion he is bad for the art. I invite everyone on this forum to seek the truth. The art of
Aikido is about love and respect, two things that Steve continually has not represented


i would say he has bought a lot of people into the art who then stick around for different reasons that cant be all bad can it, cant comment on the other stuff you listed as i dont know him other than what you see in the press which doesnt mean anything at the end of the day.

Guilty Spark
01-18-2007, 10:24 AM
I'm a little biased on the subject.
In person he is very arrogant and a dick head. He is a liar, a cheater, a wife beater, and a criminal.
My ex says the exact same about me, actually worse. Infact I have to go out of my to prove it wrong because she tells everyone she meets this crap and more often than not they unfortinuately believe it.

Again I'd be inetersted in how you can personally vouch for (or give reference to) him being a criminal, cheating and physically abusing his wife. Without him here to defend himself I don't think their very fair accusations.

Cady Goldfield
01-18-2007, 10:34 AM
Gregory would probably enjoy this video, and its two sequels...

http://www.atomfilms.com/film/seagal_deadly_time.jsp?channelKeyword=channel_celebs

;)

chris w
01-18-2007, 10:44 AM
Once, during a discussion about martial arts movies after class, I happened to mention that I thought the early Steven Seagal movies were cool. My fellow students reacted like I just said that I admired Adolf Hitlers early work! One guy even said half-jokingly "dont even mention that name in this dojo!" I dont get it. What terrible crime did this guy commit to be so disliked? He has a big ego? wow! What movie star doesnt?

ian
01-18-2007, 12:22 PM
Once, during a discussion about martial arts movies after class, I happened to mention that I thought the early Steven Seagal movies were cool. My fellow students reacted like I just said that I admired Adolf Hitlers early work! ...

I suppose Steven Seagal is the public farce, sorry face, of aikido; and that is why people fear to acknowledge any quality in him. I hate the films; he's a bad actor and the techniques are either stupidly sped-up, slowed down or inappropriately applied. I think, unfortunately, proper aikido is not a martial art which looks good on film because bone-rending and snapping, massive kicks and super-fast complicated moves seem much more impressive. To me good aikido is very simple and often quite difficult to see what actually happened. Thus, what appeals to viewers will generally not appeal to a critical martial artist. Bruce Lee himself also said that most of the techniques he did on film he would never do in practise 'cos they were too flowery.

As far as his technique goes, I used to be very critical based on the film and some dojo footage, but I have seen some early footage with which I was very impressed with. I certainly believe I could learn something from him. Saying this though, I believe him to be a ruthless self-promotor and to make money in aikido from his fame rather than his ability. Indeed, one of his previous students contacted me directly to see if we wanted him (his previous student that is) to teach us; he wanted an obscene amount of money and his own personal bathroom (so as not to mix with the plebs). Basically, I can train with someone more renowned at aikido for less money, and with less ego; so why bother? Also, no-one I know who trained with Ueshiba remembers Steven Seagal. I don't believe he trained under Ueshiba, even though he may have seen him during training. (thus I believe he is bending the truth a little at the start of Nico - however, maybe I'd do the same ;))

Personally, I think there could be a better public face of aikido (someone a bit brighter with a real ethical objective and a bit more charismatic) - but they're all too busy training or eating lentils. Maybe its the film editors to blame as well.

Ian

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 12:36 PM
One question...what does any of this have to do with OUR training (for those of us who train).

Best,
Ron

ian
01-18-2007, 12:53 PM
P.S. couple of funny films

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/26555/steven_seagal_sprite_ad/

http://www.atomfilms.com/film/seagal_deadly_time.jsp

(old dojo footage)
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/94751/steven_seagal_7th_dan_aikido/

Hogan
01-18-2007, 02:08 PM
One question...what does any of this have to do with OUR training (for those of us who train).

Best,
Ron
Confronting our biases & overcoming them is part of our training.

Ron Tisdale
01-18-2007, 02:33 PM
Good answer!

Best,
Ron

Cady Goldfield
01-18-2007, 04:20 PM
[QUOTE=Ian Dodkins]P.S. couple of funny films


I beat you to the atomfilms link, Ian! There are three "Steven Seagal Show" cartoons in all. :D

Jorge Garcia
01-19-2007, 08:58 AM
Yes, this is from personal experience. The reason that it is relevant on this forum is because
in my opinion he is bad for the art. I invite everyone on this forum to seek the truth. The art of
Aikido is about love and respect, two things that Steve continually has not represented


Gregory,
You wouldn't happen to be from the Corpus Christi or Gregory - Portland area, would you? I know people from that area who have had a lot of exposure to Seagal Sensei including my first instructor.
Jorge

Princess Rose
01-19-2007, 10:34 PM
Has anyone seen the article in Aikido Journal about how Seagal has been named a tulku?
http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2027&Itemid=244
I donít really get it. He seems like he is trying to pretend to be modest. It sounds really fake to me. From what Iíve heard (not much) heís sort of cocky. How could someone so into himself be a Lama reincarnate? IDK

Oh and has anyone heard his CD????? I mean wtf? It Sucks!!!!!! Like heís trying to sing blues and itís just bad.

Guilty Spark
01-20-2007, 07:01 AM
Rosemary whats a tulku??

With regards to his blues singing, to each their own I guess. I heard a few of his songs, they didn't sound bad at all to me. Of course blues isn't my thing so I couldn't tell good blues from bad blues.

B.B. King on the other hand complimented Seagal on his blue's singing didn't he?
Thats a pretty good pat on the back IMO.

Princess Rose
01-20-2007, 03:20 PM
Rosemary whats a tulku??

With regards to his blues singing, to each their own I guess. I heard a few of his songs, they didn't sound bad at all to me. Of course blues isn't my thing so I couldn't tell good blues from bad blues.

B.B. King on the other hand complimented Seagal on his blue's singing didn't he?
Thats a pretty good pat on the back IMO.


It says in the interview that a tulku is a lama reincarnate. I donít know. When I read that article I couldnít help but laugh. It just sounded really phony. Like those people who are really really full of themselves but pretend to be modest.

I guess to each his own on the blues singing. I grew up with my parents listening to classic blues (Billie Holiday, BB King, Ray CharlesÖ and more). It just seemed really fake to me. I guess itís just a feeling I get when I hear about him. Like he is trying to do too much. To me, it just didnít seem like his music came from the heart.

Sorry drifting a bit.

I really am curious about the lama thing. Does anyone know how much truth is in what Seagal says?

Chris Li
01-20-2007, 03:56 PM
I really am curious about the lama thing. Does anyone know how much truth is in what Seagal says?

See http://www.tibet.dk/karmapa_trust/seagal.htm

Whatever people think of him, he was recognized by a reputable Tibetan Buddhist lineage.

Best,

Chris

tenshinaikidoka
01-20-2007, 03:56 PM
Seagal was designated a Tulka by the Dali Lama, apparently someone in Buddhism that could be compared to the Pope of thier particular religion. It is not like Seagal is appointing himself into this position, it was bestowed upon him by his religious head.

Not to beat a dead horse here, but the facts are.....He IS a 7th Dan in Aikido (Aikikai) and he is a reincarnate bestowed upon him from the Dali Lama. He does make music now and he is respected within the blue music community. Too bad we cannot show him some respect in the Aikido (and Aiki related arts) community. After all, isn't harmony and peace what we are SUPPOSED to be striving for?

Kevin Leavitt
01-21-2007, 03:39 AM
Thanks Christopher for posting that link. I believe there are some good lessons to be learned in that article concerning values, perceptions, and judgements of other people.

There is more going on out there in life than what we see at the surface. It is important to consider all the facts, and all the issues surrounding things, and not just want we see or percieve.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-21-2007, 06:52 AM
I don't need to rely on the authority of others' opinions, hearsay, or rumors of one bias or the other to form a negative opinion of Seagal. There is plenty to work from just looking at the publicly available evidence - primarily his movies... and it's not just about "bad acting".

To start with, the movies are all contrived revenge fantasies - what I would characterize as violence porn. I don't see how they are bringing people "happiness and joy," as he says. The stories all start with a character or characters doing horrible graphically violent things to presumably innocent people, which renders them demonic and sub-human to the viewer. Once they are safely cast as less than human, Seagal proceeds to brutalize and torture them to death and the audience is enabled to get off on the vengeful spectacle with a clear conscience.

This stuff is practically standard-issue propaganda designed to turn people into authoritarians and warmongers. The exact same psychological process of dehumanizing enemies and getting off on their suffering is what fuels wars and fascism. It is perfectly possible to write stories that don't have cartoonish, ultra-evil bad guys that we are induced to hate and whose suffering and death we are encouraged to enjoy. I don't see anything remotely Aikido-esque or Buddhist about these movies.

Seagal got rich and famous from making them. He then used this ill-begotten wealth and privilege to lead a glamourous lifestyle of wearing gold lemay suits, flying in private jets, dating movie stars, and attending hollywood red-carpet parties. How he can then turn around and profess to be all about humility, harmony, and the alleviation of suffering with a straight face is beyond comprehension.

Another disturbing aspect of his movies is the extreme grandiosity of Seagal's characters. Much like Kevin Costner, he plays a superheroic badass among a sea of mediocrities who are entirely dependent on him and only him to save the day, the world, the environment, or whatever... in every single movie. This can't be a coincidence. Actors have choices in the roles they play. Sometimes they get forced into a project or two, but surveying a career full of those choices says something about their values and personality. What Seagal's career arc tells me is that he's an unimaginative egomaniac addicted to large paychecks.

All the negative hearsay about people who say he's a jerk and that stuff about fighting the stuntman and the mafia drama should be dismissed in my opinion. It doesn't meet basic standards of evidence. His interviews sound good, like exactly what you'd want to hear... so what?. The fact that he was given a position by the bureaucracy of an organized religion I know little about is also of little consequence to me. Actions speak louder than words, and Seagal has a lot of public actions to work with. This stuff is right there for anyone to see who is willing to dig beneath the surface and it doesn't look good.

Kevin Leavitt
01-21-2007, 07:02 AM
I think you are missing the major point of all this. there is a much bigger picture our there.

If I judged someone by there attitude or technique the first time in the dojo vice looking at them as a whole, then i'd miss out on a whole bunch more.

I could draw the same parallel concerning many people. You have watched those movies it sounds like, so should I dismiss you as a supporter of this violence since you have apparently partaken of it?

Should we judge the Bible as a whole because it depicts horriffic violence in some parts?

Should I judge the United States and everyone in it as being evil because we have killed people in war?

Where does the judgement start and stop?

Jorge Garcia
01-21-2007, 08:45 AM
It is true, there are a lot of things in the public record that are legitimate things that can be critically looked at in the life of Steven Seagal. He is a human being who has faults and problems like everyone else. In some things he is pretty good and in others, he has some things to work on. I think what has bothered me is how gratuitously the criticisms are offered. The tone of the commenter's can be quite vitriolic. Whether or not the comments are true or false isn't my point. It's that from some people's comments, it feels like the spirit we encounter in the Internet age where everyman is a king. Using the equality that the Internet gives a person, we find it so easy to pop off every opinion we have about everything and then we defend it vigorously from the safety of our computer board. The thing is that we as humans like to bring down anyone who is higher than we are. I wonder what insecurity it feeds to do that? I am not talking about rational criticism made in a spirit of humility. Some comments really T off on him and sometimes, it seems like the poster is having fun making the criticism. I agree with the person that said that if you want to type something really strong and ugly, then maybe you should ask yourself if in real life, you would walk up to the man and tell him everything you think about him in person just like you do on the net. To me, that would make you the man you think he''s not. It is not a sign of integrity to go around saying really bad things to others about someone that you wouldn't ordinarily say to them in person. In the shadows, we can all talk and if you do and you really have a lot of freedom in doing that, then you might not be any better than what you're claiming he is. Opinions can be offered but the spirit in which they are given makes a difference in how much attention should be paid to them.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
01-21-2007, 09:57 AM
I agree Jorge!

crbateman
01-21-2007, 03:01 PM
I also agree, Jorge. But I think it goes without saying (even though I'm about to say it anyway) that when someone talks the talk, but then apparently walks a different walk, they invite those criticisms which might otherwise remain silent. I'm not saying that it's right or wrong, but that it just is...

Kevin Wilbanks
01-21-2007, 03:12 PM
I think you are missing the major point of all this. there is a much bigger picture our there.

If I judged someone by there attitude or technique the first time in the dojo vice looking at them as a whole, then i'd miss out on a whole bunch more.

I could draw the same parallel concerning many people. You have watched those movies it sounds like, so should I dismiss you as a supporter of this violence since you have apparently partaken of it?

Should we judge the Bible as a whole because it depicts horriffic violence in some parts?

Should I judge the United States and everyone in it as being evil because we have killed people in war?

Where does the judgement start and stop?

Kevin,

Actually you are missing my point, which was complex and specific. Every one of your stumper questions falls into the category of a Weak Analogy fallacy: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/wanalogy.html

I am not making some kind of snap, first impression judgement, I am surveying a decades-long body of work and public persona.

Watching a movie and making a movie are not remotely similar - for instance, have you ever seen Triumph of the Will? The principle you are suggesting is that no one should be held accountable for the content of the work they create, which is absurd.

I did not criticize the movies because they simply depict violence, my criticism was much more specific. This is also a Straw Man fallacy. My argument was about the fact that they depict raging egotism, encourage getting off on violence and killing, and accustomize the audience to the dehumanization of enemies. Meanwhile Seagal postures in public as a man of peace and humility.

To answer the last question, in this case, my judgement starts and stops exactly where I said it did. Casting judgement itself as something to be shunned is simplistic nonsense. You had to make dozens of them just to physically type your message and submit it. There is a whole spectrum of types of judgments from judging which key will produce a "p" on the screen up to judging that someone is sub-human or evil. I did not say Seagal was "evil", your saying so is another Straw Man fallacy, and a poor intellectual judgement, as is every other red herring you brought up in that post. I am perfectly open to having my ideas criticized, but you have not addressed them at all.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-21-2007, 03:31 PM
It is true, there are a lot of things in the public record that are legitimate things that can be critically looked at in the life of Steven Seagal. He is a human being who has faults and problems like everyone else. In some things he is pretty good and in others, he has some things to work on. I think what has bothered me is how gratuitously the criticisms are offered. The tone of the commenter's can be quite vitriolic. Whether or not the comments are true or false isn't my point. It's that from some people's comments, it feels like the spirit we encounter in the Internet age where everyman is a king. Using the equality that the Internet gives a person, we find it so easy to pop off every opinion we have about everything and then we defend it vigorously from the safety of our computer board. The thing is that we as humans like to bring down anyone who is higher than we are. I wonder what insecurity it feeds to do that? I am not talking about rational criticism made in a spirit of humility. Some comments really T off on him and sometimes, it seems like the poster is having fun making the criticism. I agree with the person that said that if you want to type something really strong and ugly, then maybe you should ask yourself if in real life, you would walk up to the man and tell him everything you think about him in person just like you do on the net. To me, that would make you the man you think he''s not. It is not a sign of integrity to go around saying really bad things to others about someone that you wouldn't ordinarily say to them in person. In the shadows, we can all talk and if you do and you really have a lot of freedom in doing that, then you might not be any better than what you're claiming he is. Opinions can be offered but the spirit in which they are given makes a difference in how much attention should be paid to them.
Best wishes,
Jorge

I disagree with the overall point you are making here. The "spirit" in which an opinion is given, the "tone" you perceive in a message, and speculation about whether the person who is giving the opinion is courageous or cowardly is all irrelevant. In most cases, your impression of all these is YOUR impression, and probably doesn't have much to do with the person on the other end anyway. More importantly, this all falls into the category of fallacy ad hominem - a person's motivations or tone are completely irrelevant to whether or not the arguments they make are true or false. The statements should be evaluated on whether they are verifiable and arguments should be evaluated based on whether they are logically valid. The rest is just window dressing.

Evaluating which opinions to pay more attention to based on your subjective emotion-based criteria is going to leave you confused and ill-informed. Sticking to a dispassionate assessment of the content is much more in your best interests. For instance, what if you were about to open a door and someone nearby hollered "Yo dipshit! What are you? Stupid! There's a tiger in there!" Do you think, "Gosh that guy is rude, I'm not going to pay him any mind." or do you think about whether or not there might really be a tiger behind the door based on this new information?

Jorge Garcia
01-21-2007, 06:49 PM
Kevin,
You have a very "internet-esk" way of expressing yourself. It's pretty strong (not my emotions, just a dispassionate opinion!). I wouldn't want to be trapped on long bus ride with you. :eek:
I can appreciate your usage of the commonly known logical fallacies but I am afraid you yourself have inserted quite a number of "projections" of your "opinions" on my post. Logic doesn't work in vacuum. What I was discussing was social convention but that is judged by individual preference. I was just expressing mine.

I am determined not to engage in extended defenses of my posts because my time is limited so I will grant you the podium so you can have at it. Have a good time!
bye,
Jorge

Rich Stephens
01-22-2007, 12:44 AM
I don't need to rely on the authority of others' opinions, hearsay, or rumors of one bias or the other to form a negative opinion of Seagal. There is plenty to work from just looking at the publicly available evidence - primarily his movies... and it's not just about "bad acting".

Kevin, you can consider it fallacy ad hominem if you'd like, but I'm more likely to be influenced by the opinion H.H. Penor Rinpoche has of Seagal than your opinion. Not because I have any negative opinion of you, but because you are unknown to me, while I know what kind of man Penor Rinpoche is and trust his judgement. I would certainly trust it more than any opinion I could form of the man based on his acting in hollywood movies (of which he does not even write or direct himself), since I haven't met the man in person while Penor Rinpoche has been his teacher.

As for your movie reviews, I'd like to add there is at least one good thing about those movies: the bad guys are often big business, the cia, dirty cops, and the like. I think Americans need to see these folks in the role of the antagonist and be reminded of what they are capable of doing.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-22-2007, 02:19 AM
Rich,

Actually, that's not an ad hominem fallacy, it's what is called an Appeal to Authority.

Appeal to Authority is when something is taken to be true due to the authority of someone who said so, as opposed to that something being verifiable by observation or able to be validly deduced from something verifiable.

Ad Hominem, on the other hand, is when a person making an argument is attacked, thus supposedly rendering his or her argument invalid, as opposed to addressing the argument itself. In a sense, they are sort of the inverse of one another.

In this case, you have commited a major error in characterizing your own choice. I am not asking you to believe my analysis just because I said it is true and I am supposedly an authority. I have made my argument in detail and attempted to argue it soundly. You should be able to view the evidence and assess the argument and agree or disagree without resorting to Appeal to Authority.

What you are saying you have chosen instead is not to think for yourself, but instead merely to believe what someone else says because you think they are really awesome. I personally strive to avoid this sort of blind faith in authorities. To start with, I usually have no idea what went into making someone an authority. In most cases, it seems like such authoritative status is conferred based on politics that have nothing to do with how true that person's beliefs are. Even if someone was made an authority based on their awesome correctness of belief and crack thinking skills, they could still be wrong about any particular point. In short, there is a good reason why Appeal to Authority is considered a fallacious type of argument, but good luck with that.

Guilty Spark
01-22-2007, 06:19 AM
Are we really criticizing him because of The movies he makes?
Because he's using violence or because his movies are all the same style? That's a little silly.
I bet the people who help make the (his)movies and put food on their families tables appreciate them.

Now if he's trying to suggest his movies, above other movies, specifically make people happy, well I don't really agree with that. Movies are movies.

Our movie culture is in love with lone wolf law figures who have to step outside the bounds of law to bring about justice.
Like it was pointed out, he "was recognized by a reputable Tibetan Buddhist lineage", recognized by a big wig name in blues for his singing and has made a a few movies which made him (and other plebs) money. (I've read he wanted out of his movie contract but the company wouldn't allow him to leave so his latest movies reflect said quality) Not to mention lastly, being a 7Th dan in Aikido. Some pretty decent accomplishments in my book.

In the end I don't think we should hold someones movie star roles against them in public life.

Rich Stephens
01-22-2007, 07:49 AM
What you are saying you have chosen instead is not to think for yourself, but instead merely to believe what someone else says because you think they are really awesome.

No, it was not an appeal to authority as much as it was admitting that I'd be more likely to be persuaded by the words of someone who has met and taught Seagal over you who has never had any interaction with him and only knows his movies. That the one who has met him is a Tibetan of high moral standards does tip the scales even further, but the main point is one of first hand evidence.

In this case, it is prudent for me to not "think for myself," because I have no information to base a judgement on. I, like you, have never met the man.[/QUOTE]

statisticool
01-22-2007, 07:52 AM
Are we really criticizing him because of The movies he makes?
Because he's using violence or because his movies are all the same style? That's a little silly.


Exactly! Movie violence isn't real violence. By definition it is fake.

happysod
01-22-2007, 08:15 AM
Exactly! Movie violence isn't real violence. By definition it is fake. while I'm not fully in agreement with Kevin, here you're misunderstanding his objections. It isn't the fact that violence is found in all SS movies, it's the way the violence is portrayed [lone wolf violence = good in all its forms] coupled with the archetype used in nearly all his films [Messianic psychopath out to save the cuddly toy].

Kevin makes a good point that, while an actor starting out has little or no say in their role (if they want to eat and cloth themselves at some point), his continuing use and even pandering of this type of character is rather strange considering his publicly expressed opinions. If you take a particularly moral stance, then a critique of how you earn your money which is seemingly at odds with that stance is reasonable - which is why I stay well clear of having morals (public or otherwise).

Where I would differ with Kevin is that I wouldn't make such a definitive link between his portrayal in fiction and his actual personality, although I'd agree it's a rather intriguing indication.

Ron, of course this thread helps our training, the "is SS an aikido god?" koan has oft been used to disorientate the mind sufficiently to read the Ki or baseline skills threads and believe you understand them. Always useful to a dullard like myself.

Ron Tisdale
01-22-2007, 08:46 AM
:) Thanks for that, Ian.

I myself see the points made for the discussions...but the tenor of them does much to turn me off...emotionally based or not.

Best,
Ron (not much of a debater, here)

statisticool
01-22-2007, 08:50 AM
while I'm not fully in agreement with Kevin, here you're misunderstanding his objections.


I did not respond to Kevin.


It isn't the fact that violence is found in all SS movies,


That is not a fact. Movie violence isn't real violence. If it were, you'd think Segal, or anyone who has movie violence in their movie, were violent in real life.

happysod
01-22-2007, 10:16 AM
I did not respond to Kevin. Have to disagree here, by agreeing with Grant you were by extension also addressing Kevins original point - so while you are factually correct, I think you're being disingenous here.
That is not a fact. Movie violence isn't real violence. OK, I think you're splitting hairs here concerning the point I was making, but how about referring it to as a "protrayal of violence" which removes the problems of real/not real.If it were, you'd think Segal, or anyone who has movie violence in their movie, were violent in real life. Now this is a more interesting question as it covers the (old) argument of the ability to distinguish between reality and film/radio/video game etc. and the actual effect it has on people. Unfortunately most of the research covering this topic suffers from the standard funding and morality bias, so I'd have to leave the conclusions you have regarding the effect of the virtual world on reality up to you.

However, I would contend that most people only habitually repeat actions which do not go counter to their own tendencies (outside of external pressures) so a continuing use of virtual violence may suggest a preference for violence - and yes by inference I do mean all us passive little aikidokas out there as well...

Guilty Spark
01-22-2007, 12:17 PM
So maybe the guy likes making movies with violence?
About lone wolf cops KATN.
I don't see how that in any way transfers to real life violence (as mentioned).
I like to consider myself a nice guy, I try and help people any chance I get.
Yet when I play computer games, sometimes I'm a real monster. Case in point, playing Starwars knights of the old republic.
Sometimes I'll play the good hero, other times I run around choking people, buring them to death with lightning and using the force to suggest they commit suicide".
Does that carry over into real life? I don't think so.
Japan, first thing that comes to my mind (well one of them) is VIOLENT violent cartoons. Cartoons with gang rape, murder and violence against young girls. Yet as a soceity isn't that pretty far from how things are over there? Maybe they just like watching/drawing violent cartoons.

I'm sure the minute he tried a different role in acting a ton of critics would come out of the wood work and condem him for it. (Just look at the responses to him singing the blues)
I know I wouldn't ant that headache.

Kevin Leavitt
01-22-2007, 01:17 PM
Actually I try to not watch violent movies at all, unless they have a particular point, even then, sometimes I won't. I don't watch Segal movies, because I feel they are too violent (not to mention boring to me).

I do watch movies like Rwanda, or Ghandi that portray violence somewhat as there is a point behind it. I also watched and will watch again Saving Private Ryan. etc.

You cannot ignore the horrors that man has committed, but we also cannot idolize or use it for pure entertainment value.

It is a choice I make.

Much like vegetarianism. Is it fair or proper for me to judge non-vegetarians against my values and choices. Personally I find eating meat to be participating in the inhumane act of killing and slaughter (in most cases).

So, if you eat meat, should I say that you are a hippocrit and unworthy of my approval and approval of society?

How does this differ from saying that SS is a hipocrit for making his films?

Again, where do you draw the line?

I am not a Logic major, but I do know that it is easy to throw stones at a glass house.

We all make choices that we determine are acceptable. There is a big difference between saying that I choose NOT to participate, and choosing to judge another by your choice.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-22-2007, 01:28 PM
Once again, it is not just about the fact that the movies are violent. The type of movie he makes is very different from a film like The Deer Hunter which contains extreme violence, but portrays it in depth and in the context of plausible life stories, and explores its consequences of it.

This is very different from a revenge fantasy, where the bad guys are portrayed as cartoonishly evil, the good guy brutalizes them in every conceivable way and the audience gets to cheer and experience a vicarious thrilling adrenaline rush as he does so - with a clear conscience and no thought of consequenses or context.

The idea is not that people are going to watch this type of movie and go out and kill someone. That's silly. The point is that this type of movie contributes to a mentality of dehumanizing enemies and callousness to the suffering of others who are officially designated as "bad" or "evil". It ends up functioning as propaganda in support of wars abroad and a police state at home. It makes people more likely to support or consent to policies of using war to solve international problems and more police, prisons and draconian laws to solve problems domestically.

If you don't think watching a type of movie over and over can influence peoples basic attitudes about such things, I think you are deluded. Look at how many Americans believe in finding their "soul mate" - one true love who will redeem their entire life. How could this not be related to having watched that exact type of story played out over and over again in romantic movies and tv shows? A cursory study of anthropology will show that the 'soul mate' myth isn't remotely universal among various cultures throught human history, and neither is our nations current level of warmongering.

Even if you think the influence movies have on people is not that profound, there is no denying that everything about this type of revenge fantasy movie is antithetical to everything Seagal claims to be about in interviews like the linked one. Getting rich from playing a sadistic badass in dozens of revenge fantasy movies and claiming to be all humble man that is all about compassion is inherently contradictory.

Kevin Leavitt
01-22-2007, 01:41 PM
Kevin,

Do you eat meat?

The reason I ask this is I am a vegetarian for philosophically the same reasons, that it in some way contributes to eroding away of my spriit, and that eating it over and over can influence peoples basic attitudes about violence and compassion.

If we cannot show compassion towards animals, and callouslly eat their meat without thought of what actually is going on in the slaughter houses etc, then how can we ever become truly compassionate or a peace loving person.

So therefore, if you eat meat, then I suppose I could put you in the same category as Seagal, because you'd be a hippocrit as well in my value stream.

People eat meat for enjoyment, comfort, and the taste of the meat, most without ever thinking of all the sqaullor, suffering, and inhumane treatment that the animal went through, so based on that logic...if you are a meat eater, I suppose I'd have to put you in the same category of being inherently contraditctory as well.

That is, if I used the same parallel logic you are offering to judge people on.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-22-2007, 08:58 PM
Kevin,

I am really surprised at how muddled your thinking has been on this thread. I have seen you post many logical and sensible things about martial arts, but you don't seem to be able to apply those same skills to this subject. What you have posted makes no sense whatsoever. It is not just a weak analogy, it is a completely irrelevant comparison and a complete misinterpretation of what I am arguing.

Hypocrisy is about claiming to be one thing and then being the opposite. It does not seem like you understand this concept. I am claiming that Seagal exhibits hypocrisy because he claims to be a man of humility and compassion yet gets rich from an activity that glorifies the opposite of both and ultimately serves exactly the opposite purpose. This criticism has nothing to do with whether I favor war or peace, humility or egotism.

Now, if I claimed to be dedicated to compassion towards animals and then turned around and ate meat, then you might be able to correctly call me a hypocrite. If I talked extensively about how I was all about compassion for animals in public interviews, then turned around and got rich from steak advertisements, then I would be just like Stephen Seagal...

Rich Stephens
01-22-2007, 10:18 PM
If I talked extensively about how I was all about compassion for animals in public interviews, then turned around and got rich from steak advertisements, then I would be just like Stephen Seagal...

Sorry, but this is not analogous at all. Seagal's movies are not advertisements for any particular behavior. They are fairytales. Maybe he simply has more faith than you do in mankind's ability to realize that low budget hollywood action films are fantasy and that in the real world people should behave differently. I believe movies can have some impact, but I also think you are grossly overstating the harm that could be caused by these movies.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-22-2007, 10:50 PM
Sorry, but this is not analogous at all. Seagal's movies are not advertisements for any particular behavior. They are fairytales. Maybe he simply has more faith than you do in mankind's ability to realize that low budget hollywood action films are fantasy and that in the real world people should behave differently. I believe movies can have some impact, but I also think you are grossly overstating the harm that could be caused by these movies.

Sorry, but it is analogous. The analogy may be weaker than I think but saying not at all is simply a false statement. Second, the films are not fairytales, they are relatively naturalistic dramas with exaggerated stunts. Another false statement. Third, whether people are deluding into thinking the films are not fictional is beside the point. No part of my argument stated or implied that. This is a Straw Man.

I said that the ways in which violence is glamourized in this type of movie has an influence on people's attitudes. This is not even controversial. Collections of moving images with sound obviously do influence people's behavior and attitudes, as attested by the billions of dollars corporations spend on television advertisements to precisely that end. You think all those exceedingly rich people got that way by blowing billions on something that doesn't work? I have made a case that revenge fantasy movies like Seagal's do function as advertisements for a certain type of fetishistic attitude toward violence and the dehumanization of enemies, and hence I contend that the analogy is strong. In rebuttal you've offered nothing but misdirection and fallacy.

Finally, the overall arc of my argument really has nothing to do with whether or how effectively revenge movies like Seagal's actually effect people's attitudes and behavior. All this is beside the point. The main point is that these movies are not jokes in the sense of a Saturday Night Live skit, where the content of what they are about and what they portray can be laughed off. In them, Seagal is playing a serious persona and embodying precisely the attributes and behaviors he claims to be against in real life. It's contradictory. I really don't see why you are all flailing so desperately to deny this.

Neil Mick
01-22-2007, 10:54 PM
To start with, the movies are all contrived revenge fantasies - what I would characterize as violence porn. I don't see how they are bringing people "happiness and joy," as he says. The stories all start with a character or characters doing horrible graphically violent things to presumably innocent people, which renders them demonic and sub-human to the viewer. Once they are safely cast as less than human, Seagal proceeds to brutalize and torture them to death and the audience is enabled to get off on the vengeful spectacle with a clear conscience.

I don't see anything remotely Aikido-esque or Buddhist about these movies.

Seagal got rich and famous from making them. He then used this ill-begotten wealth and privilege to lead a glamourous lifestyle of wearing gold lemay suits, flying in private jets, dating movie stars, and attending hollywood red-carpet parties.

Another disturbing aspect of his movies is the extreme grandiosity of Seagal's characters.

OK, whoah. I think you all are missing a point, here.

And, all due respect to you, Kevin, I am only starting in on you because you're the most accessable. In point of fact, I agree with your issues on the kinds of movies he makes. Yes, they ARE violent, formulaic odes to misplaced masculinity, that ONE man can get ONE bad guy, get that ONE girl who worships the mud on his feet, etc, ad nauseum.

But, come on! Let's be real, here. Steven Seagal did not create the formula, or the genre (I mean, if you want to talk about venal actors who used their box-office acumen to vault their public position: Seagal's peanuts, compared to the likes of Schwartzenneger. :crazy: ). He's one of several MA's/MA-wannabee's who used their acting skill to make a good life for himself.

Should we spit on Keanu Reeves for "suddenly" finding Buddhism, after he played in "Kundun?" Or, for all the violence he "advocated" in the Matrix, Speed, etc?

No, the point is absurd, because Reeves doesn't write the scripts in Hollywood, any more than Seagal does. The Hollywood culture is, in some ways, an ugly mirror of our excesses: but it IS us, nonetheless.

And while I might agree that Seagal's lifestyle is hardly that of a Tibetan monk, still...you seem to be putting the all the wrongs and excesses of Hollywood lifestyle on Seagal's shoulders.

That's quite a lot of scorn to point at just one man.

Also, I was struck by this in the link:

As for Steven Seagal's movie career, my concern is with the qualities I experienced within him which relate to his potential for benefiting others and not with the conventional details of his life which are wholly secondary. Some people think that because Steven Seagal is always acting in violent movies, how can he be a true Buddhist? Such movies are for temporary entertainment and do not relate to what is real and important. It is the view of the Great Vehicle of Buddhism that compassionate beings take rebirth in all walks of life to help others. Any life condition can be used to serve beings and thus, from this point of view, it is possible to be both a popular movie star and a tulku. There is no inherent contradiction in this possibility.

So, what Rimpoche is saying is that he sees a lot of potential in Seagal...irrespective of his lifestyle.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-22-2007, 11:45 PM
But, come on! Let's be real, here. Steven Seagal did not create the formula, or the genre (I mean, if you want to talk about venal actors who used their box-office acumen to vault their public position: Seagal's peanuts, compared to the likes of Schwartzenneger. :crazy: ). He's one of several MA's/MA-wannabee's who used their acting skill to make a good life for himself.

Should we spit on Keanu Reeves for "suddenly" finding Buddhism, after he played in "Kundun?" Or, for all the violence he "advocated" in the Matrix, Speed, etc?

No, the point is absurd, because Reeves doesn't write the scripts in Hollywood, any more than Seagal does. The Hollywood culture is, in some ways, an ugly mirror of our excesses: but it IS us, nonetheless.

....And while I might agree that Seagal's lifestyle is hardly that of a Tibetan monk, still...you seem to be putting the all the wrongs and excesses of Hollywood lifestyle on Seagal's shoulders.

That's quite a lot of scorn to point at just one man.


The first part: a) Straw Man fallacy, b) Two Wrongs Make a Right fallacy, c) Weak Analogy fallacy. a) I never argued that Seagal created the genre or wrote the movies and it has nothing to do with my thesis. He only needs to participate in an activity that is glaringly antithetical to his purported ideals to be a hypocrite. Being an inventor or high-level orchestrator of that activity is not required. b) Other people doing something wrong does not make him doing it less wrong. Being one among many is no excuse. c) The other people in question aren't doing the same thing anyway. I can't think of any other actor who has made his career on revenge fantasies that postures as a humble man of compassion, least of all...

Schwarzenegger and Reeves: Weak Analogies. Schwarzenegger, to my knowledge, has never gone on in interviews about being a humble man dedicated to compassion. Reeves has made a wide variety of movies. His entire movie career is not exclusively made up of violent movies, and in fact, none of the popular ones fit the
Deathwish/Dirty Harry revenge fantasy model. Also, to my knowledge, though he has become a buddhist, he hasn't gone on in interviews about being a humble man dedicated to the alleviation of suffering and so forth. Neither of these attempted analogies has much to do with Seagal.

The final part is also a Straw Man. However what I said "seems" to you, the interpretation you have presented is wildly inaccurate. I did not say that Seagal is the worst, most excessive person in Hollywood, or anything remotely like that. You are welcome to your personal impressions, just don't attribute them to me.

Neil Mick
01-23-2007, 12:15 AM
The first part: a) Straw Man fallacy, b) Two Wrongs Make a Right fallacy, c) Weak Analogy fallacy. a) I never argued that Seagal created the genre or wrote the movies and it has nothing to do with my thesis.

OK, sir...put dowwwwwn the analogy textbook....step AWAAAY from the blackboard...!! :freaky:

Frankly, Kevin: if you're out on some sort of crusade: more power to ya. But, I'm not interested in your "thesis:" I'm interested in some of your ideas, and I expressed a few of my own.

It's called a "discussion." Now, if you're planning on dominating the debate with your "thesis..." :sorry: Well...all I can say is: too bad, for us! :dead: But, generally: a discussion follows a flow. And, I was adding something to the flow, to broaden the pespective.

It's sort of off-putting when you announce your impressions of others thoughts as if they're some sort of logical fallacy. Not to mention, out of context.

He only needs to participate in an activity that is glaringly antithetical to his purported ideals to be a hypocrite.

That's your call...and a moralistic one it is, at that. It certainly isn't my call, or the call of other post'ers, here.

I guess that makes us all moral slackers, right, Kevin? :p Oh, it must be so LONELY at the top!! :drool:

Being an inventor or high-level orchestrator of that activity is not required.

So, you're suggesting that Leni Riefenstahl is as bad as Goebbels?

b) Other people doing something wrong does not make him doing it less wrong. Being one among many is no excuse. c) The other people in question aren't doing the same thing anyway. I can't think of any other actor who has made his career on revenge fantasies that postures as a humble man of compassion, least of all...

Schwarzenegger and Reeves: Weak Analogies. Schwarzenegger, to my knowledge, has never gone on in interviews about being a humble man dedicated to compassion.

Oh, really? I guess that you don't follow the news very much, then. He posited himself as as "man of the people," unconnected with the machinations of Washington...conveniently omitting his clandestine meetings with Ken Lay.

Or what about Dolph Lundgren's role in the hideous Red Scorpion, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098180/) financed by Israeli lobby money, written by...you guessed it...Jack Abramoff? If you want venality and evil writ from the big screen: look no further. Sure, I would think that Seagal shouldn't be proud of his acting career: but in perspective, he's hardly the worst of the worst.

Now here's where you yell "logical fallacy! Strawman! Ad nauseum" :rolleyes:

Reeves has made a wide variety of movies. His entire movie career is not exclusively made up of violent movies, and in fact, none of the popular ones fit the
Deathwish/Dirty Harry revenge fantasy model.

Oh, so that lets him off the hook, right...? Some might call that an...*cough*...'apologist strawman!'...*cough, cough!*

:straightf Hey, did someone say something? :cool:

Also, to my knowledge, though he has become a buddhist, he hasn't gone on in interviews about being a humble man dedicated to the alleviation of suffering and so forth. Neither of these attempted analogies has much to do with Seagal.

So, Seagal is REALLY evil because he goes on interviews, and makes those claims? Oooh, get the stake and some kindling!! :rolleyes:

No, Kevin: at worst, it makes him a hypocrit.

The final part is also a Straw Man.

Um...psst...Kevin...ya gotta prove they're strawman. Just you saying so, means jackall. Just thought you'd wanna know...

However what I said "seems" to you, the interpretation you have presented is wildly inaccurate.

"wildly?" *scratches head* Do you practice this stuff in front of a mirror? I bet it sounds good, read out loud.

Perhaps I'll try it (if my roomates will let me, lol).

I did not say that Seagal is the worst, most excessive person in Hollywood, or anything remotely like that.

No you didn't, you didn't say he was the worst. But the sum of your critiques are centered upon his lifestyle, and what he says in public interviews.

In effect, you lay your scorn at the feet of his public persona. And, in doing so you're attacking the man's lifestyle, which is reflective of the lifestyles of all Hollywood.

You might as well attack all of Hollywood culture. A reasonable thing, but don't lay it all on one person.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-23-2007, 12:46 AM
That's quite a load of emotive crap there, Neil. If you want to prevail by a war of dissecting attrition and personal derision, have at it.

I think your attempt to belittle me for holding arguments to standards of basic logic is disingenuous. It makes perfect sense to call fallacious arguments out for what they are when someone is attacking a postion one has just stated. It also makes perfect sense to be embarassed when one puts out arguments hoping to sound smart, and they are easily shown to be irrelevant or fallacious. I suspect that now you're trying to save face by pulling some kind of aw shucks Will Rogers schtick to ridicule me and play to the crowd. "Wouldn't it be great to be the iceman?" etc...

I really have no interest in that game. I started participating in this thread because I had a point to make. I continued because it was maligned with all manner of misinterpretation and fallacy. My interest here is intellectual, not to get into some kind of cutesy popularity contest. I won't be dignifying another convoluted post full of mockery like the one above from you with a response ever again.

Guilty Spark
01-23-2007, 01:19 AM
So, if you eat meat, should I say that you are a hypocrite and unworthy of my approval and approval of society?
I hope not. I'm a steak eating monster heh


Neil Mick wrote:
OK, sir...put dowwwwwn the analogy textbook....step AWAAAY from the blackboard...!!
You're feeling that way too eh? No doubt a shortcoming on my behalf but I can't even get 5 lines into his post without getting confused.

Good posts Neil & Kevin L , I think you're fighting a loosing battle though.

With regards to deep intellectual violence exploring the repercussions of it vs flashy beat someone up save the day violence as seen in SS I think the former is more dangerous.
While everyone may see a SS movie and get a cheap thrill out of seeing the bad guy beaten up, I think the former appeals to more deranged individuals who run the risk of seeing this profound (for lack of a better word) sense of violence and mimicking it themselves. It appeals to them much more connecting with them.

Neil Mick
01-23-2007, 01:34 AM
I started participating in this thread because I had a point to make.

Clearly. Well, ehm, carry on with your mission, then! Forward, ho!

Um, wake me up when its time to pillory Stevie in effigy, OK?

My interest here is intellectual,

And with intellect, comes ego.

I won't be dignifying another convoluted post full of mockery like the one above from you with a response ever again.

Oh, woe! What shall I ever do? :sorry:


You're feeling that way too eh? No doubt a shortcoming on my behalf but I can't even get 5 lines into his post without getting confused.

Good posts Neil & Kevin L , I think you're fighting a loosing battle though.

Yeah, probably so.

With regards to deep intellectual violence exploring the repercussions of it vs flashy beat someone up save the day violence as seen in SS I think the former is more dangerous.
While everyone may see a SS movie and get a cheap thrill out of seeing the bad guy beaten up, I think the former appeals to more deranged individuals who run the risk of seeing this profound (for lack of a better word) sense of violence and mimicking it themselves. It appeals to them much more connecting with them.

Well, I think that his films--and films of that sort--work on the collective unconscious, of a community (nation, culture, whatever). For instance, just the idea of having one bad guy to deal with at a time certainly originated from Hollywood, and is perpetuated by the media.

And, the idea that some rootin' tootin', go-it-alone, Dirty Harry type can solve all of our problems by breaking the rules, certainly has its reflection in the expectations of our leaders. We laud those leaders that break the rules, because we expect that they're working from their "instincts."

Where did we get this idea? From the movies. And then, perpetuated by how the media is presented to us.

Kevin Leavitt
01-23-2007, 02:49 PM
Kevin W wrote:

Kevin,

I am really surprised at how muddled your thinking has been on this thread. I have seen you post many logical and sensible things about martial arts, but you don't seem to be able to apply those same skills to this subject. What you have posted makes no sense whatsoever. It is not just a weak analogy, it is a completely irrelevant comparison and a complete misinterpretation of what I am arguing.

Hypocrisy is about claiming to be one thing and then being the opposite. It does not seem like you understand this concept. I am claiming that Seagal exhibits hypocrisy because he claims to be a man of humility and compassion yet gets rich from an activity that glorifies the opposite of both and ultimately serves exactly the opposite purpose. This criticism has nothing to do with whether I favor war or peace, humility or egotism.

Now, if I claimed to be dedicated to compassion towards animals and then turned around and ate meat, then you might be able to correctly call me a hypocrite. If I talked extensively about how I was all about compassion for animals in public interviews, then turned around and got rich from steak advertisements, then I would be just like Stephen Seagal...

I suppose it is possible I am not seeing this correctly. I appreciate your comments towards my post, thanks. You too....I have the same respect. Thanks.

I still think my analogy stands, albeit, I certainly don't think it necessarily applies to you as I have not, nor have you qualified your position towards your views on compassion etc.

However, I think that it follows the same logic....that you offer.

You state that he is a hippocrit because he makes movies that are incongrous with peace and harmony or humility from your judgement. I think that compassion has much to do with this.

I am stating that I think that based on that logic that one could draw a value judgement on some meat eaters as being hippocritical because they say they are all about peace and harmony (compassion) and eat meat, which in my personal value stream would be hippocritical.

To me it is much more than showing compassion to animals...but that is a different issue.

I think the point is that there is many things that must be considered when judging a person.

Personally I do find it interesting that someone that seems to follow the path that he is on would make the movies he makes, so I do agree with you a little. Where I draw the line is throwing the totality of him out because of this one issue.

I would also say if you drive a SUV you are a hippocrit to peace and harmony/humility too since you are not saving as much gas and polluting the world more than the next guy.

We can all find something in our own personal life that someone would criticize as being in conflict with another value.

some of our top sensei's smoke, smoking is bad for you, and bad for everyone else, so should we admonish dismiss them for being hippocritical towards the values and norms of aikido?

Again, where do we draw the line on all this stuff?

I where leather shoes, does that make me a hippocrit as a vegetarian? maybe/maybe not, I suppose it depends on your values and judgements.

Obviously you are entitled to your own judgements of the man. I respect that.

I am simply asking at what point do we draw the line and accept that there are somethings that we all need to improve upon, and recognize that we are human.

I really try hard not to place my judgements and values on others. It is difficult.

as Ghandi said, "be the change you want to see in the world"

I think he meant to not be, not say and judge others.

I try to follow this as best I can. alas I am human too, and not perfect.

Neil Mick
01-23-2007, 03:02 PM
Again, where do we draw the line on all this stuff?

I where leather shoes, does that make me a hippocrit as a vegetarian?

So...exactly when did you start hating America...? :hypno:
(sorry...I had to say that) :)

Good post, Kevin.

Kevin Leavitt
01-23-2007, 03:40 PM
Neil,

Where did you get the idea I hate America? (I think you are probably joking)

I am assuming you are referring to the United States, as America is really not a country, but a land mass that is comprised of land that is joined together as North, Central, and South America.

I alway find it interesting when people say "I am an american". I always ask, what kind? as Mexicans and Candians are also Americans.

Anyway....

This digresses off topic a little, but I think it is an important point, as we tend to make judgements about people based on the labels we place on them on what they represent.

We assume Americans are all U.S citizens. We assume that all americans think alike. I have heard people say, well "no, he is not an american...he is a muslim"....when infact that the person in question was a native born, U.S. Citizen.

I have a good friend of mine that I am stationed with here in Germany, that is an Army Officer, that is a natural born U.S. Citizen, that is in his mid thirties, that has lived in the United States for a grand total of maybe two years his whole life.

My daughter is turning two, she is a U.S. Citizen, yet has never lived in the united states.

Anyway.....

People and their lives are very complex. We make value judgements and assumptions, because it is efficient for us to do that in our transactions with them. It allows us to size someone up quickly typically determine...at a base level, friend or foe. We marginalize them as a person, isolating those things we must deal with in order to interact with them.

We will interact differently with the clerk at a 7-eleven than we do with a close friend.

Many times our experiences, asssumptions, and prejudices serve us well and help us get through our days, and sometimes protects us from harm.

Other times they hurt us and keep us from seeing things and expanding our understanding of the true nature of things.

I love small talk at parties. I love the question..."so what do you do for a living?"

I can answer that question several ways. I can say, I train people to kill people....or I can say, I train people to help protect others from harm.

Two different views on the same thing. does not change the true nature of what I really do...neither one is wrong, but certainly influences how one might view things or pass judgement.

The United States is a wonderful country. No where else that I know of that allows you to make mistakes, learn from them, and provides you the opporunity to pretty much live your life the way you choose to. It is complex, we have much we can improve upon. At least we are fortunate, and have the opportunity to improve and grow....that is much more than many people in the world can ever dream of having.

I honestly believe that if there is one country that can change the world for good...it is the United States.

I'd say the Dali Lama and Tibet might be the best example or model...but they simply do not have the ability or potential.

Now I know you can (and will :)) debate how we use that potential...that is not what I am saying....I am simply saying that we have the ability and potential only...and that makes a huge difference.

Neil Mick
01-24-2007, 02:29 PM
Neil,

Where did you get the idea I hate America? (I think you are probably joking)

You, hate America?? Of COURSE I was joking! :freaky:

I just wanted to pop that one in, see how it sounded. ;)

I am assuming you are referring to the United States, as America is really not a country, but a land mass that is comprised of land that is joined together as North, Central, and South America.

I alway find it interesting when people say "I am an american". I always ask, what kind? as Mexicans and Candians are also Americans.

Anyway....

This digresses off topic a little, but I think it is an important point, as we tend to make judgements about people based on the labels we place on them on what they represent.

We assume Americans are all U.S citizens. We assume that all americans think alike. I have heard people say, well "no, he is not an american...he is a muslim"....when infact that the person in question was a native born, U.S. Citizen.

Yes. The same person could be Arab-American, French, lefthanded, a Republican, and Jewish. People are too broad to simply call them all "Americans," "Jewish" or "Arabs," and assume that we can opine their beliefs, just from that.

I love small talk at parties. I love the question..."so what do you do for a living?"

I can answer that question several ways. I can say, I train people to kill people....or I can say, I train people to help protect others from harm.

Yes, I bet you're a hit at parties! :cool:

The United States is a wonderful country.

It's a wonderful country, and a terrible country, at the same time.

I honestly believe that if there is one country that can change the world for good...

...or, for ill...

it is the United States.

Now I know you can (and will :)) debate how we use that potential...that is not what I am saying....I am simply saying that we have the ability and potential only...and that makes a huge difference.

Agreed...no debate there.

dalen7
07-24-2007, 02:44 PM
To start with, the movies are all contrived revenge fantasies - what I would characterize as violence porn. I don't see how they are bringing people "happiness and joy," as he says. The stories all start with a character or characters doing horrible graphically violent things to presumably innocent people, which renders them demonic and sub-human to the viewer. Once they are safely cast as less than human, Seagal proceeds to brutalize and torture them to death and the audience is enabled to get off on the vengeful spectacle with a clear conscience.

This stuff is practically standard-issue propaganda designed to turn people into authoritarians and warmongers. The exact same psychological process of dehumanizing enemies and getting off on their suffering is what fuels wars and fascism.

You know, great post above...I woke up with a similar realization after watching 13th warrior.

1) Starts with people afraid of the bad vikings who kill and destroy
2) Vikings turn out to have an enemy
3) at the end of the film your rooting for the very guy at the beginning that you viewed as 'bad' - because there is now someone worse.

Yes, agreed...in concept, I have chosen to look at aikido as an internal art. Stop the fight internally, which will then externally stop the fight. So valid points you make, and its good to see others in the world think along the same lines.

Peace

Dalen

jennifer paige smith
07-24-2007, 07:51 PM
I would like to ask Steven Seagal (he used to pronounce it Seagull)if he still feels he is living out O'Sensei's vision for Aikido as a 'method to create the world as one family'? And if he does, how is he doing that today?

Cady Goldfield
07-26-2007, 06:42 PM
I would like to ask Steven Seagal (he used to pronounce it Seagull)

I read on his bio site that he actually pronounced it "SEE-gl," as in the Jewish surname (often spelled Siegel, Siegle, Seagle...). His father was ethnically Jewish. I can't recall whether his mother was Italian or Irish, but she was one or both of 'em. I think Irish. Early in Seagal's career, he partnered with another person of Jewish ancestry, and didn't want their business name -- which paired their surnames -- to sound like "a couple of Jewish drycleaners" or something like that, so he changed the pronunciation and spelling.

Geez. I can't believe you dredged up this old thread, and that I've now perpetuated it... :D

jennifer paige smith
08-24-2007, 09:27 AM
Sorry, but this is not analogous at all. Seagal's movies are not advertisements for any particular behavior. They are fairytales. Maybe he simply has more faith than you do in mankind's ability to realize that low budget hollywood action films are fantasy and that in the real world people should behave differently. I believe movies can have some impact, but I also think you are grossly overstating the harm that could be caused by these movies.

So, we discount 'the power of myth'?

jennifer paige smith
08-24-2007, 09:32 AM
I read on his bio site that he actually pronounced it "SEE-gl," as in the Jewish surname (often spelled Siegel, Siegle, Seagle...). His father was ethnically Jewish. I can't recall whether his mother was Italian or Irish, but she was one or both of 'em. I think Irish. Early in Seagal's career, he partnered with another person of Jewish ancestry, and didn't want their business name -- which paired their surnames -- to sound like "a couple of Jewish drycleaners" or something like that, so he changed the pronunciation and spelling.

Geez. I can't believe you dredged up this old thread, and that I've now perpetuated it... :D

Geez, I didn't. But on the west coast we pronounce sea and see the same.