Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bad Words and the Human Response

Fenix was known more for what came out of his mouth Saturday instead of what he can do with his feet
Photo Credit: ElReyNetwork.com
King of Trios was notable for a great number of many things this past weekend, most of them positive. However, during the Nightmare Warriors/Team AAA match night two, Fenix made waves for turning Chikara's PG, family-friendly atmosphere on his head by flipping off Frightmare and shouting "FUCK YOU" while he was in the corner. The arena apparently fell silent, and everyone, whether in attendance or not, had an opinion on the matter. Rumors spread like wildfire about what the response from Mike Quackenbush was, from "getting a stern talking-to" to "being sent home." Of course, the highly guarded nature of Chikara's backstage dealings have precluded people knowing what really happened, and Fenix apologized profusely both on Twitter and before his semifinal match against the Devastation Corporation.

Of course, without getting into the rumors of what may have happened when no one was around (and really, unless you were there or were able to pry the info from someone who was there, you have no idea what went down), this situation is a meaty one to unpack. At its crux is the fact that a performer loudly sad a curse word in an environment where those kinds of words are verboten. Personally, I don't think any of the seven words you can't say on television should be demonized from everyday use, especially since they mostly describe bodily functions.

However, I do realize that those words have some kind of societal stigma, and that a lot of people don't share my views on what should and shouldn't be said. If Chikara representatives don't want those words said as part of their all-inclusive, family-friendly atmosphere, then the fans and performers should respect that wish. It's not an atmosphere that is projected for fun and games either; every Chikara show I attend has several children in attendance, and King of Trios was no different.

I will bet my life that Fenix didn't mean to say the word maliciously though. He's used to having that freedom, because Asistencia Asesoría y Administración and Lucha Underground have a more adult bent to them. It all comes down on whether Quackenbush or someone in Chikara adequately warned him about the use of those words, and if they did, whether it was just something said in the heat of the moment. He made a dumb mistake, not one he should be demonized for, but additionally, projecting scorn upon Quackenbush for dealing with it is not a good look either, especially since no punishment for Fenix was made public, if one was even levied. Again, Chikara is his baby, and if he wants a certain atmosphere for it, he should be able to have that atmosphere.

Besides, companies aren't going to survive just by marketing to adults en masse. Wrestling with few exceptions should be all ages. It's great for fans, especially ones who want to get children involved, and therefore, it's a smart business decision. People make mistakes all the time, and debates over words like these are painfully irritating. However, at the heart of the matter, it's about making a wrestling show safe for families and welcoming for kids. If that means seven dirty words (and more importantly, racial and ethnic and gender-related slurs) are shut out of the script, then hey, it's a small price to pay.