Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shut Up for WWE!

And don't mention the Attitude Era.

We here at How Much Does This Guy Weigh? whole-heartedly support Linda McMahon's bid for United States Senator from Connecticut. For that reason, we also applaud WWE's recent decision to remove "dated and edgier" material from Youtube and other media platforms so as to prevent such footage from being "misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced." Bravo, WWE, for stopping footage from being taken out of context for unfair attacks on Linda McMahon. After all, most of the offending footage is from the Attitude Era, which ended over a decade ago and thus has no relation whatsoever to Linda McMahon or her 2012 election campaign (aside from the fact that Mrs. McMahon was CEO of the company during the time, which saw the then-WWF make hundreds of millions of dollars off the "edgier" material during the company's most successful period in history).

Even the fact that Linda and her family made a fortune on producing such risqué material is moot when you realize that Linda and WWE have, as penance for past indiscretions, generously put all profits from that period toward full health insurance and pensions for all of its contracted talent. Oh, my mistake. She's not doing that at all, but instead using the money to fund her campaigns (including $47 million dollars of her own money in 2010, amounting to about $100 per vote in the losing effort). That, however, is even more reason to vote for her. All of that money, which could have been used to guarantee financial stability for her industry's notoriously injury-prone and destitute workers, will have been spent in vain should Linda fail to win this year's senatorial election. You, the voters of Connecticut and users of the internet, do not want that fact weighing on your conscience, do you?

As part of our support of the McMahon 2012 campaign, we here at the How Much Does this Guy Weigh? blog would like to pre-emptively explain many of the controversial and seemingly offensive storylines and characters seen on WWE TV over the past fifteen years. For instance, could you imagine how bad it would look for Mrs. McMahon if her political rival, Democrat Chris Murphy, were to use the Val Venis castration storyline in a negative advertisement against the honorable former WWE CEO? Imagine the smear campaign Murphy could launch if he were to misrepresent the angle which played out on WWE TV in 1998, in which wrestler and porn star Val Venis had an extramarital affair with the wife of manager and Japanese stereotype Yamaguchi-san, who, along with his band of Japanese wrestlers, attempted to castrate (with a samurai sword) the adult film actor, whom they had stripped naked and bound to the ceiling with rope.

Such an unfair portrait of the content produced under Linda's watch would completely miss the greater picture, which is that the following week, the seemingly castrated Venis, accompanied by his mistress and John Wayne Bobbit (himself also a porn star whose penis had been severed), explained that the blade had missed his enormous phallus because the fear of his penis being severed caused his member to shrink. Moreover, Val Venis ended the extramarital affair that night to the cheers of the crowd, unceremoniously dumping Mrs. Yamaguchi, who would likely have to return to her abusive husband. Besides, the sex, which was filmed and broadcast in the form of a mock-pornographic film on WWE programming, was consensual.

Other storylines and characters which could be misinterpreted by a rival political campaign include the time that the Undertaker crucified Steve Austin by binding his hands and feet to a giant cross-shaped symbol and lifting him high into the air. The act was merely an educational demonstration about the process of crucifixion and the passion scene revered by Christians worldwide. You're not against freedom of religion, are you? I hope not, because this is America.

Likewise, the Godfather, a wrestling pimp who would bring a group of scantily-clad prostitutes to ringside and offer his opponent intercourse with one or more of the sex workers in exchange for forfeiture of the match, only existed as a character on WWE TV for a mere two years, and has only been revived on air a few times since then. Furthermore, the women presented as prostitutes were not real hookers at all, but strippers and exotic dancers from local gentlemen's clubs. All of this, of course, ignores the larger point of the Godfather character. He was a villain whom the fans were expected to boo due to his sleaze and total lack of moral compass. At least, he was during the first few weeks of his character, before he was turned into a fan favorite.

How about the allegedly tasteless humiliation of beloved commentator Jim Ross? Biased politicos will tell you that McMahon and her entire family berated Mr. Ross, who in the past has been forced to kiss the bare buttocks of Linda's husband Vince, culminating in Mrs. McMahon's firing of Ross and a kick to Ross's groin. They might even point in disgust to the fact that Ross's departure was in real life due to colon surgery, which Vince McMahon promptly ridiculed on television with a mock "colon surgery" on an actor with a Jim Ross mask. This one-sided portrayal of events, while factually true, misses the key point of the storyline, which was to gain sympathy for Ross and lead to his rightful reinstatement. WWE even enlisted legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to stand up for what is right and attempt in the ring to earn Ross's job back. The only thing that prevented this resolution from playing out was Austin's sudden withdrawal from the program after finding out that WWE would rather have one of their most famous wrestlers lose to a mere announcer named Jonathan Coachman than actually reinstate Ross, who would not appear on television again for 6 months.

Of course, it would be unfair to judge McMahon's reputation by merely explaining away the frequent unfair criticism of her and her product. To get a complete picture of the prospective Senator's career as a benevolent and strong leader, it is also vital to examine some of the positive aspects of Mrs. McMahon's former company. WWE under Linda McMahon's management was a place of great opportunity, especially for minorities. For African-Americans, there were always paths to success that allowed black wrestlers to display their athleticism and personality in unique, diverse ways. Wrestlers of color were not shoe-horned into a single stereotypical gimmick. Instead, they were given a variety of different characters representing many walks of life, such as voodoo priest, sex trafficker, black militant (all of whom were portrayed by the same man, Charles Wright), manservant, African savage, African warrior, jive soul brother, funk dancer, sex addict, and petty criminal.

What is sickening about the use of WWE programming to attack McMahon is the fact that WWE during Linda McMahon's tenure shifted to a starkly family-friendly style of programming. All of the seemingly tasteless and vulgar clips of WWE used by McMahon's opponents come from before this shift in 2008, making them hopelessly dated. One particularly inspiring storyline during the "PG era" of WWE saw the team of Cryme Tyme, a duo of African-American thugs with a penchant for theft, split up, leading to a classic tale of morality and values. Although the angle began in 2010, the characters were created long before, in 2006. Villain Shad Gaspard rejected his image, while JTG, the hero, held true to his roots as a streetwise male with a diamond-studded "grill" in his mouth. The uplifting story of identity conflict in the black community culminated in a match in which the two African-American males were bound by a leather strap, which they used to whip each other in order to establish supremacy. Shad was soon after released from his WWE contract, but only because the company had no ideas for what to do with him now that his character was no longer a street thug (probably because they had used up their many, many ideas for African-American wrestlers, such as overweight Barry White-esque "love machine" and Jamaican).

Jenny McCarthy Body Count
WWE has also had a long history of standing up for charitable causes. For example, the company devoted an entire program on prime time television (August 2nd, 2008's Saturday Night's Main Event) to Jenny McCarthy's charity, Generation Rescue, which promotes the claims that autism can be reversed and that childhood vaccinations cause the condition. This brave cause is backed up by such credible scientific sources as several emotional anecdotes from Ms. McCarthy, as well as a famous paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield (which at the time had not yet been completely discredited and used to convict Wakeman of fraud). McMahon's passion for doing the right thing, even if that thing is unpopular and opposed by 100% of the scientific research available, is truly inspiring.

Although the WWE's recent promotion of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure campaign for breast cancer awareness cannot be directly credited to Linda McMahon, as she resigned from the company in September 2009, the seeds of such a charitable campaign were definitely sown during Mrs. McMahon's tenure at the organization. Remarkably, Linda McMahon was able to simultaneously turn out record profits for the company while also raising awareness for breasts, which were prominently displayed on WWE programming up until 2008, most notably by such performers as Sable and The Kat, who did more for raising awareness on the importance of breasts than practically any celebrity enlisted by the cause. Linda's altruism can likewise be seen in her promotion of breast implants (practically a prerequisite for women seeking a WWE contract), which are an effective tool for helping women psychologically recover from mastectomies. She even went as far as making the breasts of senior citizen Mae Young the focus of multiple WWE segments that, although played for comedy, helped to highlight the susceptibility of elderly women to breast cancer. With McMahon as CEO, breasts were celebrated like in no period in wrestling history before or after.

Please stand up for WWE this election season and remind all the nay-sayers that Linda McMahon's record in WWE is relevant to this election only for her stellar success as a businesswoman, and not how she achieved that success. Mrs. McMahon is a role model for her progressive stands for diversity, racial equality, and charity, and if you're not down with that, we've got two words for ya!

1 comment:

  1. Liberal McMahon? Only in America could someone like her be called a liberal with a straight face. Had no idea they let an McCarthy on tv. They're truly terrible for promote that sort of hokum. At least her second senate bid failed after spending 50 millions of dollars millions of dollars millions of dollars on her first failed Senate campaign (the most ever). At least this shows that not everyone can buy a Senate seat.