Monday, February 25, 2013

Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter Vs. Glenn Beck, and a Call to Look at Ourselves

I know I posted this video on Saturday with the mailbag, but I figure it's worth exploring again. Mainly, is it worth it for WWE to invite such a horrible personality onto their show for the express purpose of winning a public dick-measuring contest? My argument was that no, it wasn't, but some might think that the caliber of personality on WWE's programming is the same as Glenn Beck's. To a point, that might appear true. Then again, the characters in the "WWE Universe" are fictional to a point, even if they live in character more than the average TV star. If the views Beck purport aren't his and are just being disseminated for ratings, then whoo boy, he's misrepresenting himself to the people who sign his paychecks.

Regardless, the moral high road is one that has rarely ever been traveled by WWE caravans, especially under the direction of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. They could have it here by telling Beck to wipe the dirt off his shoulders and not get so mad at his reflection in the mirror. However, there's no pissing contest that McMahon has ever backed away from, from right or left, innocuous to insane. So here we are, with WWE doing the equivalent of going onto Reddit and posting Gloria Steinem quotes in r/Misandry. They don't mind being the dispensers of red meat.

So it is, however bad an idea it is to engage a troll in his own game, McMahon's going to do it anyway. The point is that he'd be right in this exchange, but the thing about dealing with trolls is that no matter how right you are, you never seem like it when you engage in their game. Trust me, I know, I have firsthand experience at looking the fool engaging people who want nothing more than to irritate you because you said a cross word about a dirt sheet or because it's your fault they don't understand that in 2013, wrestling journalism has moved past the ZOMG FED WARZ WWE VS TNAAA!!!! bullshit. Thankfully, Beck is a coward who makes awful, sweeping comments about whole groups of people, and when they fight back at him, he ducks and runs behind a ramshackle social construct that lets him feel superiority that he doesn't have in reality.

There is a real lesson to be learned here though. WWE, in finally tackling the fringe right through narrative storytelling, is now letting go of being on any side of the political spectrum. Obviously, good art has a bias, and it's a bias that should lean to the right if the scale reads "right vs. wrong." Sometimes, it comes across as leaning left, but that's because, at least socially in my opinion, that's where correctness tends to lie. That isn't to say MSNBC spits truth, because they don't. Most news outlets absolutely blow anyway. But regardless, there isn't anything to gain by representing a straight Republican (or Democratic) slant as part of your company's narrative agenda. Rather, characters from all over the spectrum should be skewered and lampooned as long as there's a moral compass that points towards decency towards people as the babyface ideal.

The problem is that WWE has the moral compass at times of a skeezy frat boy. That's why Vickie Guerrero is allowed to have her request for quietude met with being compared to a cheap prostitute, or why Alberto del Rio was told to go back to the Home Depot parking lot by both good and bad guys in a segment a couple of years back. Yes, it's possible to be cool and not be a total jerkoff at the same time. Maybe while we lambaste Beck for getting cranky because WWE showed him a reflection of himself and his political ideology, maybe some fans need to take that advice to heart. If one doesn't want to be called a stupid wrestling fan, then maybe that person shouldn't cheer for The Rock and John Cena finding creative ways to degrade each other through accusations of being effeminate or homosexual as if they were bad things. I know that's probably not what Beck was going for, and he's totally not the right person to be making those accusations. However, the road to image repair begins with self-improvement.

So yeah, it's totally okay to rip Beck a new one for his ignorant, troll-bait comments and refusal to defend them given a forum. However, the main company looking to defend the honor of wrestling, as well as a lot of its fans, need to take a good, hard look in the mirror. Are we stupid wrestling fans, or do we have a good footing and are able to defend our art against anything? Well, I have a good footing. I know where I stand, and not to sound arrogant, it's in a good place where I don't think people should be treated awfully. When most of wrestling's many fans, WWE or otherwise, can stand with me and say that in good conscience, then Glenn Beck will really have to shut his ignorant mouth.