Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fuck Hulk Hogan

Hogan again and again proves he's nothing more than a corporate puppet. Fuck him.
Photo Credit:
Owen Hart should still be alive today, dammit. He fell to his death on the job 17 years ago due to gross negligence from his employer, Vince McMahon, and the people who were tasked with making sure he was safe as he rappelled to the ring from the Kemper Arena rafters. Make no mistake, the hands upon which most of that blood splattered upon belong to McMahon himself, coercing Hart into doing a dangerous stunt and then by the abuse of the independent contractor relationship he continues to have with his wrestlers, not being liable for it underneath OSHA regulations. But I wonder how much of that situation would have been changed for the better had Hart had a union he could have gone to.

Labor unions, for all the lumps they take from comedies and conservative media, have been the most important developments for the workforce in the last two centuries. They collectively bargain for a bigger piece of the pie for their constituents, fight for better working conditions, and attempt to right the wrongs committed by capital and management in the name of more corporate profits. Because Hart didn't have a union backing him, a significant amount of his blood belongs on the hands of Hulk Hogan as well.

Hogan is the reason why pro wrestlers aren't unionized. Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan attempted to form one in 1984, and had they succeeded, they would have mobilized the roster of the only company at the time that was trying to go national. If the most ambitious company in America had succeeded at the same measures WITH unionization, then the game would have been changed for good. Maybe a portion of wrestlers lost to drug use like Rick Rude or Curt Hennig could still be with the living today. Maybe those lost to diseases that might have been caught early or treated better with health insurance like John "Earthquake" Tenta would still be alive. But Ventura and Heenan were foiled when Hogan ratted them out to McMahon, who swiftly took actions against unionization before it could be put to the larger portion of the roster.

Why Hogan did what he did was because he was more than likely afraid of his spot. In 1984, few people knew he'd become a cultural icon, especially Hogan himself. Remember, the first WrestleMania was in 1985. Additionally, wrestling tends to make those getting the big pushes paranoid. Triple H got his giant push around the time the Internet became more and more widespread for the genpop, and thus he's regarded as one of the most scheming politicians in wrestling history. However, Hogan's maneuverings, beginning with ratting out Ventura and Heenan, make him the grand master of fuckery; he makes whatever Triple H may have done or been accused of look like taking an extra $20 passing GO as the banker in Monopoly. Trips may have kept guys from advancing their careers up the card. Hogan, well, he may have fucked the course of professional wrestling for years if not decades.

For a man who busted a labor union without conscience or fear of consequence, what's the systemic demolition of the First Amendment? Hogan as Peter Thiel's proxy by which to wage war against Gawker Media should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the Hulkster's proclivity to being in the spotlight and whoring himself out for any bit of cash he could possibly muster up. I wrote before that Hogan would dress up in clown get up to read copy in the middle of the ring for Mountain Dew, which is to say I'm not surprised that he'd give more attention to a sex tape he allegedly didn't want released than a normal person would, one that showed the world he was a racist piece of shit to boot, all in the name of a chance at a record payday with someone else footing the legal fees.

This isn't to say that Gawker Media deserves to get off scot free for the things it has done. It is a bastion of irresponsible journalism, outing people who wished to remain in the closet, using questionable methods to obtain information, and yes, leaking sex tapes that people ostensibly wanted to keep on the down low. The conglomerate deserved some kind of judgment against it. However, the one Thiel got pulling Hogan's strings like a puppetmaster is one that wouldn't serve as a lesson to Gawker, because it would bankrupt Gawker. No matter what one's opinion on the OG of blog news sites is, that is unequivocally a bad thing.

With Hogan's help, Thiel has now shown that if one has a lot of money and doesn't like the way the media portrays that person, they too can take down their own arm of the media. The press now has to fear what it reports, which is a direct violation of the First Amendment. When news gets suppressed, everyone loses. For the second time in his life, Hogan has become a puppet for someone with more money and power for him, and he will benefit monetarily, at least this time, pending an appeal that will more than likely not go in Gawker's favor.

So now that he's helped damage free speech and fucked his coworkers and successors in the wrestling business, Hogan has the rest of his life to ponder what he's done. lol j/k, Hogan will probably not feel any regret whatsoever as long as he's got a nice pile of money to spend on whatever it is he spends it on nowadays. I can't really say without treading into the territory of libel, but I don't think it's too farfetched to say that Hogan loves his money so much that he'll do anything for it, be anyone's stooge for it, sell anyone up the river for it. I guess the whole situation proves, if anything, how good an actor Hogan was, at least in his glory run in WWE and World Championship Wrestling.

That Hulk Hogan, the one who told kids to fight for what was right and good and just, would never have sold out to the highest bidder. It wasn't until 1996, when mainstream wrestling started skirting the lines of reality, when the real Hogan became his character. But then again, that was all for fun and games. The people he hurt in real life, those stakes were high. They lost, he won like he always did. And now he will more than likely have piles of fuck money out of it, fuck money that should be used to pay writers for their work, or even more saliently, money that could be used to enhance the standing of the wrestling industry. Then again, Hogan probably didn't have any of that money left, which is why he willingly became a tech bro billionaire's pawn.

If Hogan's a puppet, then maybe he also is a sympathetic figure. McMahon and Thiel are the real villains, right? In a way, yes, they are. But Hogan went willingly running to McMahon to bust that union. He was a rat who ran without provocation to someone who thought had a lot of cheese to give out. He outed himself as a mark for power, against the powerless. And for that, he can go fuck himself.

Hogan will always be remembered as the mascot for pro wrestling's meteoric rise from regionally diverse, provincial enterprise to national juggernaut. Wrestling would not be where it is without him, but it would be in a far better place without him too. Dollar bills lining Vince McMahon's pocket don't matter as much as the dead wrestlers lining caskets far earlier than they should have gone, from Rick Rude to Owen Hart and everyone in between who was lost to things that unionization could have at least helped with if not prevented. The toll caused by his reckless selfishness is too high, not worth the "charisma" or drawing power he had. If you can look past all the shitty things he's done, either then or now, good for you. I can't.

Fuck Hulk Hogan and his place in wrestling history.