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Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Stanley Kubrick

Yesterday‘s competition is a toughie. If it were up to me, I think I’d have to go with Jesus. Here’s why: I’d come into the seminar with lots of resistance, like, c’mon, Jesus, I totally don’t believe the hype. As Hernan put it in comments:

Jesus spoke in parables to avoid committing to a specific point, like he was saying things without really saying them. In other words, he was deliberately ambiguous. If he were a modern day researcher, he would propose all this ambiguous theories, that can always come true with a bit of data and multiple comparisons. Jesus would publish in Psych Science.

So I’d resist. But, then, Jesus being who he is, I expect he’d charm the hell out of me. And, by the end, I’d probably be worshipping the guy. It sounds like a truly transformative experience that nothing secular could match. I mean, Jesus is the ultimate nice guy, right? But with a backbone of steel. Muscular Christianity and all that.

And his material is good, too. As Tom wrote in comments:

Jesus has by far the best encore of all time, so we know he must be a bit of a showman. Also – five loaves and two fishes will take care of the catering for the seminar. Dinner and a show – what more do you want?

All that and parables too. Take that, Larry David.

Buuuuuut—and this is a bit “but”—check out this comment from Dalton:

I don’t know. People keep trying to schedule a seminar with the dude, and he never shows:

That’s a big problem. It would be pretty embarrassing for us to announce this big seminar and then have the speaker not show up.

Who does he think he is? Lauryn Hill???

So, sorry, it’ll be Tolstoy who advances this time. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful and humorous exchanges in the comments. This is a lot more fun than working, right?

Next, we have a truly titanic struggle. In one corner we have Mohandas Gandhi, seeded as the #1 Religious Leader of all time. (Remember, we have Founders of Religion in a different category.) And he’s up against Stanley Kubrick, unseeded in the Cult Figures category and also with a strong anti-war message. I can only imagine that Kubrick would have a much more entertaining series of stories. But Gandhi . . . what can you say? Talk about an impressive person. Maybe just being in the same room with the guy would be enough. What do you think?

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. zbicyclist says:

    Gandhi, but don’t let him pick the caterer.

    “He propagated that … we should take only that which is required, in minimum quantity. We should not eat to appease our taste buds.”

  2. Shecky R says:

    We already have enough white, pasty westerners showing up for this shindig… so by all means let’s start the new bracket off with an Indian — besides, before this is all over we’ll no doubt need someone around preaching ‘non-violence.’

  3. Jonathan (another one) says:

    No quips on this one, but it did make me look up a 1987 interview with Kubrick that was really interesting…

    Well, you don’t make it easy on viewers or critics. You’ve said you want an audience to react emotionally. You create strong feelings, but you won’t give us any easy answers.
    That’s because I don’t have any easy answers.

    I’ll go for Kubrick, just because he doesn’t think there are easy answers. Gandhi does.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Stanly Kubrick would loose against an empty chair. That movie “Full Metal Jacket” is unforgivable. No one ever shot a drill instructor. Just the opposite in fact: it’s very common for Marines years later to track down their former drill instructors and thank them. Some recruits are well on their way to harming themselves and others — they credit the drill instructors with saving them from that fate. Many others don’t have the wherewithal to make their dreams come true so they credit their DI’s with giving them the what they need to start a business later in life, or raise a family, or get a degree, or whatever.

    But that’s a quibble compared to the second half of that movie which is supposed to represent the Battle of Hue. In the real battle three regiments of North Vietnamese regulars took over Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam. They immediately started mass executions of the civilians inside (lining them up over pits and shooting them en masse). The surprised Marines nearby couldn’t wait for the reinforcements needed because the civilians would all be dead by the time they arrived. The Marines supported by US army and south Vietnamese mounted an impromptu rescue mission to retake the city even though urban warfare doctrine says they didn’t have enough troops to stand a chance.

    To make it worse, Hue was considered a living museum, so the for the first part of the battle, the Marines were denied use of most of their technology (air support, arty support, tanks, an so on). Despite that they pulled of a miracle and wiped those three NVA regiments clean off the face of the earth saving countless civilians. For their sacrifice, Walter Cronkite got on TV at about the same time saying telling everyone in America they were loosing (about 200 marines died and well over 10,000 enemy, the communist gorillas in the south were permanently crippled for the rest of the war and never recovered from the losses suffered during the Tet Offensive of which Hue was one component).

    That’s the battle depicted in the second half of full metal jacket, which in the movie is represented by a lone female sniper who shoots a bunch of Marines (who were heavily outnumbered most of the time in the real battle) and then the Marines execute her when she’s a prisoner.

    Unforgivable. Hope it’s hot down there in hell, Kubrick.

    P.S. 2001 Space Odyssey was the most boring movie ever made.

  5. The Other says:

    The anti-war message being “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the war room”, right? Tempting. However, the most important lesson for members of a great university is Gandhi’s “Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart”, so it should be him. Turn the heating up.

  6. Ken says:

    Gandhi. For sure. The non-violence stuff and Swaraj are awesome. And it would also be fun to piss of Churchill for ever thinking it is cool to call Gandhi a half-naked k*&$%.

  7. Mark says:

    I think just being in the same room with the guy would be enough. Seriously. Gandhi.

  8. Matt says:

    I’m going with Stanley Kubrick just because I’m sure we will get a few clips of his best work during his introduction. I don’t buy the Gandhi hype. He was more interesting and influential when he wasn’t speaking.

  9. LemmulLemmus says:

    Gandhi. With Kubrick, we’d have to do the seminar 97 times over.

  10. George says:

    I am way beyond starving myself to death for an idea. I’m going with Stanley.

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