I, Rex Machismo, am the host of a bloodsport called deathbattle. In this show, contestants go through a number of trials in different environments to fight for their survival. These contestants would be chosen from undesirables such as criminals, convicts, orphans, liberals, etc; the typical dregs of society that produce nothing of value and wouldnt be missed. In these trials, they go up against select individuals who are trained to kill. A contestant must survive and kill the individual to move up to the next round. The prize at the end, should they complete the contest, would be their freedom, along with other prizes such as money, vacation time, etc.

The country to speak of is a modern, democratic nation with advanced technology. A leader is chosen in a election held every 4 years. The country supports the death penalty, from which most of the contestants will be chosen for. The government has endorsed my concept, and has decided to set in motion the parameters to make this show a big hit. The problem is that people have become too sensitive today. In the good old days of the Roman empire, people would show up to the colloseum to see two people tear each other apart. Even in super-religious Europe, executions were a public spectacle. You could take the wife and kids for a nice afternoon with a picnic, and enjoy watching a convict be ripped apart or drawn and quartered for treason.

These days, people are generally okay with torture and death as long as it is out of sight and mind, but don't like to see violence directly because it makes them feel complicit or emphatic. Even individuals that people despise have to be executed "humanely". The has culminated in the millenial and xyz group, a generation of whiners that constantly complain about nonsense like "universal rights" than their civic and moral duty of supporting their government.

In order for deathbattle to be successful in ratings, the country needs the majority of the public to lighten up to the violence and join in the fun. This will get them to tune in and take part in this tradition. What conditions must the government need to have in order to make this a big hit?

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    $\begingroup$ If you don't have universal rights anyway in that country, why not just make watching the thing mandatory? Similar to US jury duty. $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't the "millenial and xyz group" cover everyone born in the last 40-60 years, approx? That's about 70% of the population in the US. I think what you need is not a modern, democratic nation but an explicit gerontocracy. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Why desensitize at all? This is a common enough dystopian trope. The civil strive around deathbattle's existence is just another symptom of the dystopia...and the traitorous instigators must be dealt with harshly, lest the Foreigners triumph and destroy Our Way Of Life. (Of course, Rex, the Hero will return to Kill You Last) $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 19:33

4 Answers 4


I think you've already answered the question yourself when you wrote: "These contestants would be chosen from undesirables such as criminals, convicts, orphans, liberals (LOL!), etc; the typical dregs of society that produce nothing of value and wouldnt be missed. The country supports the death penalty, from which most of the contestants will be chosen for."

If these folks are already sentenced to die then that's not such a big whoop. I think you're giving our current society more credit than its really due. I don't find your society hard to believe at all. We already pay big grown men millions of dollars to smash into each other on a regular basis (football), literally beat one another (boxing, MMA). And we loooooove death. Look at our movies. The Death penalty is already a thing in many parts of this country.

A thing or two that might push it over the edge towards what you want might be these: A concerted effort on the part of the people running Deathbattle to show the contestants in the worst possible light; advertisements that depict them as scumbags who are getting what they deserve, and the death battles themselves as being beneficial in getting rid of these felons, and in the good they do because they give to charity. Think of all the poor children who will survive cancer this year because of the proceeds.

Also, throw in the fear of "the other". Once upon a time there existed a society that took children away from their parents, separating both in concentration camps. Some of those children may never be reunited with those parents, and at least a few of them have died. That's us... now.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you clarify who "we" and "this country" are since this website is accessible from many countries and you could be from any of them. $\endgroup$
    – Muuski
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ We and this country are America. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 9:25

Media, increase violence in media. Including movies, video games, books, and music. Create a social structure that believes violence is normal and okay. To desensitize people they have to get used to seeing it, make it normal. This may make them more violent, but in turn this would give you more people for your 'games'.


This sounds strange, but decrease police forces a bit. The larger amount of crime will lead to people becoming used to the sound of police sirens and news stories about death and destruction. This will slowly lead to normalcy in these events, people will expect them.


  • $\begingroup$ Additionally allow for a large gun lobby, everyone is allowed to wear weapons and is even encouraged to do so. Police needs to be hardliners with more and deadlier weapons that they are allowed and encouraged to use so that criminals will follow suit. A cowardly criminal who thinks that he can surrender will not carry too much weaponry, a criminal who knows they will beat him bloody and potentially shoot him because running after a criminal is far too much effort to just waltzing up to a bleeding and crawling man while spouting bad one-liners is going to bring GUNS. Bodycams for televising! $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 16:41

I suspect that no desensitization is actually necessary to make this event a big hit. Sensationalism sells. The controversy alone would already make it a big hit. Social norms might cause an outcry (among some circles) when the sport is first introduced, but if the government persists and continues to broadcast it season after season, these taboos will quickly dissipate as more people watch out of morbid curiosity, sensationalism, or what have you. Such a "hypothetical" society, conditioned by generations of massive consumption and easy living, is nothing if not primed to passively receive and accept yet another source of instant gratification. Most people eat meat regularly without a second thought.

  • $\begingroup$ "Most people eat meat regularly without a second thought" Most people do not work or look into slaughterhouses. $\endgroup$
    – user6415
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ And if they did, it would not change their habits. $\endgroup$
    – Priska
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ I respect your opinion, although I think otherwise. No need to discuss this, but i have to say I find your "answer" more like a uncontrolled bit of you mental landscape than an answer related to the question. $\endgroup$
    – user6415
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. I find your comment to be much the same. $\endgroup$
    – Priska
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ So go away and waste your time elsewhere. Please. $\endgroup$
    – Priska
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 18:14

All you need to do is evolve your new blood sport from the ones that already draw millions of viewers.

Boxing. Two players (used to be two men, but women box now, too) go into a ring to try to batter one another senseless. Do this on the street or in a bar, you get arrested and might well wind up in prison; do it in a ring, and you might become a folk hero and collect millions of dollars. This is already branching out; "mixed martial arts" is growing like kudzu. Major stars often sustain life-altering injuries (compound fractures on live TV, anyone? and let's not forget concussion).

American football. This is not a "contact sport," it's a collision sport. Once again, it used to be all men, but there's a women's full contact football league (maybe more than one, I don't really keep track). Footballers regularly suffer career-ending injuries, either from the impact or the movements necessary to (attempt to) avoid it. Occasionally, someone dies on the field or from injuries received.

Auto racing. Not just the kind where people drive as fast as they can while turning left a lot (though those drivers sometimes die in wrecks, too), but more the demolition derby. Amazingly, there are few serious injuries in DD, perhaps because the cars never get going very fast. That can be changed.

Rodeo. Supposed to be about skills that ought to be long obsolete, but people mostly go to see the bronc and bull riding, where people get hurt on a routine basis and occasionally die.

Reach into sports that are illegal now, but still have a following: dog fighting and cock fighting.

Then there are genuine, legal blood sports: bullfighting. Spoiler alert: the bull usually dies. The people fighting him are often seriously injured; sometimes they die.

Hunting might be considered a blood sport, though it's defended as herd thinning and meat harvesting -- I think its primary defense, however, is the hunter's ethic, to take the game as humanely as possible (a good kill is no more cruel than a slaughterhouse kill shot). That could be changed, without too much effort.

You don't need to acclimate your audience to blood sport. You just need to expand the existing audience while increasing the blood content a bit.


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