I was born Catholic, so naturally I always saw Goliath as a bad guy whose death was richly deserved.
However, it wasn’t until I read Gladwell’s book David and Goliath: underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants, that I realised how misplaced and injudicious my beliefs were.
As Gladwell points out, Goliath was not as strong as he looked. He was sick, he was ill, he was diseased; a victim of acromegaly – a condition that causes unbridled, almost never ceasing growth due to excessive hormone secretions.
The impact of this disease on Goliath would have been frequent headaches, poor vision, double vision, sleep apnea, disrupted sleep, daytime sleepiness, arthritis of the knees – all the stuff you’d hate to suffer from if you were to go up against the God of Israel!
But forget this battle. Think about the ones Goliath would have faced as a child and adolescent. Remember, he grew up in a time where he was most likely to be considered a freak, an item of novelty – of voyeuristic interest – if even that.
He would, in all likelihood, have been mocked and ridiculed for his size, and continuously made fun off. A girlfriend would have been out of the question as a wife would probably have been. The only place that would have welcomed Goliath would have been the army which is where he ultimately found himself – only to once again be humiliated by a shepherd boy and suffer the never-ending scorn of generations thereafter.
I am fascinated by Goliath because he was the underdog in reality, not David. Yet, the way people scripted the content at the time, presented him as an absolute villain, one whose death was inevitable, welcome and just in fact.
Then comes Gladwell.
Who, with a stroke of his pen, and his marked powers of observation, tells us what the original script writers didn’t – that Goliath was actually sick, suffering from a disease called acromegaly, that would have caused him, in addition to humiliation, a life of untold pain and suffering.
Thanks to the new content Gladwell provided, we are able to see Goliath in a whole new light. As a man who wasn’t as strong as he was. And who deserves our sympathy rather than our scorn.
This is what content is, and this is what it can do, Take your perception about a person, brand or situation and flip it around in a matter of minutes!