My name is Publius Quintus Cicero, and although I am not related to THAT Cicero, you can rest assured that I am a patrician of noble birth and fabulous wealth.
I write to you today, my fellow Roman compatriots, in regards to the deplorable situation happening at our beloved Colosseum. A terrible and traitorous spectacle has been regularly occurring prior to our once noble games. Gladiators have been engaging in vile political protest by quietly bending to their knees rather than showing proper tribute to our Empire and to our dear Emperor Caligula.
Despicable! Disgraceful! Uncomfortable!
If they go around acting like they have beliefs and feelings it really puts a damper on the enjoyment of watching them clobber and slash each other to bits.
We attend the gladiatorial games to get away from the incessantly negative political landscape of Rome and to enjoy some wholesome sports entertainment featuring gruesome and bloody fights to the death. This sacred pastime has united Romans for generations and it is now being sullied by these ungrateful gladiators who have the audacity to express a political opinion.
Outrageous! That excruciatingly long minute or so in which the gladiators aggressively kneel in cacophonous silence almost ruins the following hours of violent family-friendly spectacle.
When, in my youth, I saw the great Caesar stabbed to death by his fellow Senators in the Forum, I said to myself, “Good golly, Publius Quintus Cicero, never will you see a more unspeakable and destructive political deed!”
Wrong! For even that crime pales in comparison to the unprecedentedly abominable protests of these offensively uppity gladiators.
I mean, who do these charlatans think they are? They’ve been given an opportunity for fame and fortune, and this how they squander it? All they have to do is routinely engage in combat with each other or with the occasional tiger or elephant, nobly risking their lives for our amusement. Can’t they just stick to that simple job? If they go around acting like they have beliefs and feelings it really puts a damper on the enjoyment of watching them clobber and slash each other to bits.
Some people say that these gladiators have legitimate complaints, and that as most of them hail from “marginalized” communities within Roman society we should respect their perspectives. Some people say that since they risk death in the service of our entertainment, and that since even gladiators who survive into retirement are likely to die early from injuries sustained during their career, that the least we can do in return is consider the point they’re trying to make.
Well, do you know what I do in response to people who tell me these things? I put my fingers in my ears and I go like “Nyah nyah nyah not listening! Not listening!”
Look, I do not want to think about these things or hear about these things. Life in the Roman Empire is pretty good, especially for those of us with the smarts to be born into citizenship and wealth. So all I want to do is have a nice time watching some invigorating entertainment and see a few people try to murder each other or get devoured by a lion or whatever. Maybe see a decapitation or two, or a nice disembowelment.
Besides, my many friends in the palace tell me that Caligula is becoming obsessively irritated by these protests. An angry Caligula is not good for anyone, so let’s keep the Emperor happy, shall we?
Glory to Rome! Glory to Caligula!