Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Technical Wrestlers: Hugh Hewitt and Thom Hartmann

In wrestling and punditry, its easy to overlook certain personalities amongst the larger-than-life characters. The more successful personalities are often the more colorful and bombastic. They are the ones who we regularly see invited on programs, given their own shows and asked to write Op-Eds.

They're exposure has more to do with their ability to entertain rather than their record of accuracy or knowledge on the issues (see previous post). In other words presentation trumps substance. This post will be about the personalities who are less about presentation and more about technical ability- The Ring technicians.

Pro wrestling has always valued entertainment highly but it also valued in-ring ability. As wrestling has become more mainstream with far more TV exposure it has created different demands of its wrestlers. Todays' wrestlers are expected to be good showmen with convincing acting ability, skills on the mic (charismatic verbally) and of good size. There are less wrestlers coming out who are schooled in or are interested in displaying the technical, fundamental side of wrestling. Instead they favor power moves, and hardcore use of weapons. This is primarily because its what the audience now come to expect, no more room for subtlety or slow build up in the ring.

Its increasingly hard to find pundits who engage in fruitful debate because of the popular 'Crash TV' formats of most TV and Radio. The small amount of time alloted and the diametrically opposite viewpoints held naturally degenerates into shouting matches. Its the extreme left and extreme right exchanging talking points where the viewer as Stephen Colbert says is left to "mix these two things together and come up with the least informed mishmash of ideas you could possibly have". It makes for great TV but provides little substance.

The reason I bring this whole topic is because of a recent 1.5 hour debate between APF pundit Hugh Hewitt and conservative author/commentator Andrew Sullivan. Its a fascinating interview because there is contempt in the exchange obvious from the outset. But as they mutually agreed to talk for the hour+, they had to resolve their differences via reasoning and old fashioned debating. It's reminiscent of the classic 'Iron Man' matches in wrestling where two wrestlers must duel for 1 hour. These type of matches are usually between technical wrestlers as they are best at sustaining such a long match. There aren't too many pundits who enjoy such vigorous debate and have formats to accommodate it. On the Right I can name Hugh Hewitt and for the Left Thom Hartmann.

I guess technical pundits like technical wrestlers are a dying breed. I highly recommend you listen to the Iron Man match between Hewitt and Sullivan- fascinating! Listen here. Its the Tuesday March 6, 2007 edition of the show.

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