Nothing draws mail like a dismissal of pro wrestling as a form of artistic
expression or a criticism of Wal-Mart. A reader writes:
Jan, Jan, Jan — How can someone as bright as you fail to appreciate the
cultural significance of professional wrestling? This head-in-the-sand attitude is what allowed
Bush to be elected president. People didn’t take him seriously, thought he was too damn stupid to
be elected and then the next thing we know, we’ve got John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act and
Vince McMahon, (President of World Wrestling Federation), says of his bouts, and I will
paraphrase here because I don’t have the quote in front of me, that he doesn’t stage sporting
events, he makes movies.
Professional wrestling is all about the story line. The characters develop over time, sort of like
a novel, (but with very large characters who wear odd costumes). Professional wrestling
presentations explore relationships, choices and consequences, sort of like Hamlet but louder and
Professional wrestling is most like a soap opera. The plots are no more outlandish than those
found in All My Children or General Hospital. The characters no less believable.
Can you watch a wide receiver for New Orleans make a cell phone call from the end zone
after a touchdown and find no comparison in professional wrestling?
Quick … Why do you like Green Bay’s Brett Favre? Isn’t it because he is everyman and
because he plays hurt and because he has heart? What about Mick, “Mankind,” Foley? He is
everyman, it’s part of his name. Nobody takes more lumps or wrestles hurt more frequently than
Is “The Rock” really that different from the Dolphin’s middle linebacker Zack Thomas? The
Rock played middle linebacker at the University of Miami back in the mid ’90s until he blew out
his knee. Would you contend that NBA all-star Dennis Rodman had no comparable character
within the world of professional wrestling? Jesse, “the Body,” Ventura was elected governor of
Please understand that I do not care for, nor do I habitually watch, professional wrestling. I
do not care for, nor do I habitually watch football or basketball or baseball or hockey. I do
believe, however, that Vince McMahon understands the appeal of “sporting events.”
People watch these events who haven’t a clue about the details of the play. They watch to see
the spectacle, the cheerleaders and the occasional injury. McMahon simply distills the experience
and gives it to the viewer without the distraction of balls or cars and calls it “sports
entertainment.” It is the wave of the future and it must be understood.
Do you remember the XFL? Its fundamental concept was not wrong, it was merely ahead of
its time. Launched in conjunction with the NFL rather than in competition, the idea will fly. You
will see the basic concepts of the XFL, (sexier cheerleaders, no fair catch, rules that encourage
hard hits and big yardage gains), again.
Muhammad Ali understood the appeal of professional wrestling. He patterned himself after a
pro wrestler named “Gorgeous George.” So did Dusty, “The American Dream,” Rhodes, Jake,
“The Snake,” Roberts, and every professional boxer in the last 30 years.
Why is this important? Because low art displaces high art and sponsorship follows the
demographics. Does ChevronTexaco’s abandonment of the radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan
Opera open the door for them to sponsor Smack Down? Stranger things have happened. When
movies were first released, they were crude and were considered low-brow entertainment.
Educated people preferred “the theatuh.”
Eventually, economics prevailed and movies became more literate. More important, however,
is the fact that the theater changed as well. Plays became more like the movies with which they
were forced to compete for dollars. The film industry recognized the tastes and needs of the
common man and presented a product to appeal to those tastes and needs.
The theater was forced to change and to become more like the movies in order to remain
relevant, not to mention economically viable.
Wal-Mart doesn’t use union workers or pay a living wage? How many similar
employers do? Does K-Mart? Target? Do regional and national grocery store chains? And hasn’t
McDonalds’ caused a lot of family owned restaurants to close?
The real reason why you and your lefty pals hate Wal-Mart is that they are run by a
conservative, politically active family and that the Waltons OCCASSIONALLY allow their
conservative beliefs to influence how they run their company. So Wal-Mart sells GUNS and
BULLETS and DOESN’T SELL MAXIM! THE HORROR! So people who want to legally own
guns shouldn’t be sold them, but parents who don’t want their 11-year-old boys (or girls) to look
at semi-nude women while they are in the checkout line should be forced to?
The left does not care about small town economies because you sneer at them as rubes and
rednecks. That is reflected in the “entertainment” that Hollywood is putting out these days. “Sling
Blade?” “The Gift?” “A Simple Plan?” “Monster’s Ball?” Basically any Billy Bob Thornton
The New York Times (your house organ) not long ago ran an editorial that asked that why
can’t small town America just DIE already, and it routinely rails against farm subsidies, as if that
wouldn’t hurt small town economies.
Remember the “welfare farmer” refrain that even Garry Trudeau started running in his scripts?
Wondering why are we sending all that money to Iowa for ethanol when it could pay for childcare
and job training for thousands of urban teen mothers, eh? Not that I am against child care and job
training, I just hate the hypocrisy.
Phew!! As Elmer Fudd once said to Bugs Bunny: “Golly, Mr. Wabbit. I hope I didn’t hurt ya
too much when I killed ya.”