Thursday, February 18, 2010

Linda McMahon in the cartoon world of politics

Unsurprisingly, Linda McMahon's senate campaign is being attacked by going after the easy target, professional wrestling.  As I've mentioned in the past, it's an easy target and it'll continue to happen, but now it's not just McMahon's opponents, it's political cartoonists:


Before I dive in, I have to preface this with the fact that I have no interest in supporting Linda McMahon's campaign.  I'm sure we disagree politically on almost every issue, but as a wrestling fan, it bugs me to be personally insulted by people who admittedly know nothing about pro wrestling besides what they see in out of context clips from five or ten years ago.  Mr. Englehart claims wrestling is "softcore porn," which is probably something people would nod their heads at, especially when examining the Attitude Era, but really, that's pretty far from the truth.  Even during the height of WWE's sleaze years, there was nothing on those programs that you couldn't see on network television (okay, except Katie Vick), and I've seen soap operas that are filthier than WWE, and those are on in the middle of the day! 

Let's run down the accusations made in this cartoon and see if they are grounded in reality, or if they're exaggerations and smears:

-Exploit the mentally handicapped
When?  Eugene?  I know the Eugene character has already been brought up by McMahon's political opponents, so I assume that's what's being referenced here.  For a company that's not known for being able to utilize nuance and subtlety, I don't see how the Eugene character could be looked at as anything but an inspirational tale.  Eugene was a wrestling savant who overcame his disability and stood toe-to-toe with some of the company's biggest names.  Stories like this have been used in movies and TV all the time, would Mr. Englehart claim that Tom Hanks "exploits the mentally handicapped" in Forrest Gump?

-Show violence against women
Okay, I can't really argue with this one, WWE's track record with presenting women often falls on the side of sexism, but a fictional show portraying violence against women isn't exclusive to professional wrestling.  Would Mr. Englehart speak out against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the violence against women portrayed in Terminator?   Did he object to Fred Thompson's run for president, even after he appeared on several seasons of Law & Order, which often shows violence against women?  Through all of WWE's sexism, and it is one of their biggest faults, the violence against women is rarely outright celebrated, it's usually used as a tool to get the crowd against a heel, which is the same emotion directors are often looking for when it's used in TV or film. 

-Sex aimed at kids
I have no idea what this is even referring to.  The only thing I could possibly think of would be kids in the audience chanting "suck it!" along with DX, but that phrase has become such a part our cultural slang, it's not like WWE is encouraging oral sex.  Perhaps Mr. Englehart is just claiming that any sexual situation on WWE TV is aimed at kids because he believes kids are the primary audience, which simply isn't true, the vast majority of WWE viewers (67%) are between the ages of 18-49.

So once again, another irresponsible article showcasing the mainstream media's ignorance about professional wrestling.  Mr. Englehart himself even admits to not watching regularly since the days of Dick the Bruiser and Verne Gagne and uses his personal anecodte of "growing out of it" as some kind of evidence that it's entertainment for children.  Video games and comic books have also been the victim of this mentality, but many people don't grow out of them, and the industries have grown up with people who stick around.  WWE adapts with its audience, just like all forms of media do, and just because Mr. Englehart and Linda McMahon's political opponents don't understand that, it doesn't give them the right to judge others for their entertainment choices. 


  1. ...I don't get it. Is she running for Senate in India? What does the Taj Mahal have to do with anything?

  2. I assume it's to mock her "extravagant wealth," although she's probably considered middle class compared to some politicians.