Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Super Tuesday and Mitt Romney - Flashback 2008

Mitt Romney headlines the Super Tuesday 2008 poster
To commemorate the upcoming Super Tuesday Primary, I present the 2008 PPV poster co-headlined by Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
- Super Tuesday: Live on PPV

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rick Santorum: Satan, Michigan Primary and Judgment Day

Judgement Day for Rick Santorum: Michigan Primary
Does it pass the smell test? Its an expression that acknowledges that we initially judge things superficially. In the case of the Rick Santorum story on Drudge - Do you smell sulfur or a political circus brewing.

My analogy that American Politics is like Professional wrestling can be dismissed as frivolous depending on how you view it. In actuality whilst both elements can at times be ridiculous they can be discussed seriously if a premise is agreed upon. In literature it is referred to as Verisimilitude - a "willing suspension of belief" tempered by its grounding in reality. For example in Superman comics, the audience has already accepted the premise of a heroic alien saving the people of earth but the storytelling needs to convince us of his loving relationship with Lois Lane. We need to find authenticity within the skewed reality.

Some people are incapable of appreciating the story on its merits if they can't accept the premise. Depending on a person's value systems the notion may never be entertained, nuances become overlooked and whole arguments are dismissed outright.

Audiences unfamiliar with wrestling might not be aware that there are two classes of wrestling fans - Marks and Smarks
What is your definition of a Mark and a Smark?
A mark is someone who enjoys the show for what it is. They are able to suspend their disbelief and watch wrestling for what goes on [onscreen and they don't care] what goes on backstage. A pure mark is unaware of the scripted nature of the program and believes that wrestling is a legitimate competition.

A smart mark (Smark) is someone who is aware of the staged nature of the show but can still suspend their disbelief to a certain extent... A smark is someone who thinks they know everything about the business. They tend to put down marks and others who can suspend their disbelief while watching the show...
The nuance of discourse would be lost on observers who see wrestling as mindless entertainment for gullible people. In fact most times when American Politics is viewed as wrestling, its meant in a dismissive patronising way. This blog acknowledges the manipulation, hyperreality and framing found in both. With that said there is a threshold that can be crossed, where storylines can become cartoonish even by the standards of wrestling or politics.
  
Rush Limabugh as a fellow conservative accepts Rick Santorum's premise. The larger question is will the general electorate see it in the same frame.
Santorum Will Have to Answer on Satan
SANTORUM: The Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country -- the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?
...
RUSH: Okay, so he said it. Can we take you back to the United Nations? What was it, 2000... I don't know, three or four or five or six. Hugo Chavez shows up, he speaks either the afternoon Bush spoke earlier or the next day, but he gets to the microphone at the United Nations and the General Assembly and starts sniffing around. (Sniffing) He says, "I can still smell the sulfur. The Devil was here," and he had accused Bush of being the Devil...
Hugo Chavez can show up and call George W. Bush Satan. "Hey, hey! You know what, that's right! That's great. Let's laugh about it. Let's applaud it." Santorum gives a speech in Ave Maria, Florida, back in 2008. "Oh, my God, we're dealing with a nutcase! Oh, wow, what a fanatic weirdo. What are we gonna get next, an exorcism?" So the double standard does exist.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rick 'Flair' Santorum has former ties with WWE

Rick. Flair? Santorum has ties with the WWE.
Does it hurt him or just make him more interesting?
Straight-laced Rick Santorum has been revealed to have had a former relationship with the WWE. Santorum, equipped with his sweater vest has always fashioned himself as the "Family Values candidate". The WWE particularly during its "Attitude Era" of the late 90's was a raunchy product onscreen, the industry has been dogged by deaths and drug abuse which extend from the hard-living wrestling lifestyle. The brand has consciously become more PG-friendly in recent years, a business direction that paved the way for Linda McMahon's bid for Senate in 2010.

Whilst wrestling has had its share of controversy, it has always had a relationship with politics because the style of entertainment by its nature appeals and is a mirror to a large cross-section of the public. Its odd that a relationship with the WWE would be viewed as a smear as the Presidential candidates in 2008 had no problem associating themselves with the brand: Wrestling meets Politics - the story so far
Rick Santorum’s slimy WWE past
In the late 1980s, as investigative reporter and pro wrestling chronicler Irv Muchnick (no relation) has written, Santorum served as a WWE (then WWF) lobbyist while a lawyer for the Pittsburgh firm that the McMahons still keep busy. 
and
Rick Santorum, Family Values Candidate and Pro Wrestling Advocate?
The future candidate helped the WWE elude athletic regulators in Pennsylvania—which opened the door to a wave of steroid abuses and other unintended consequences.
- Linda McMahon rolls out wrestling superstar Triple H to help in her Senate campaign
- John McCain's wrestling promo on WWE
- WWE Smackdown: McCain and Obama on the Youth vote

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hoopheads Sarah Palin and President Obama are both on the Lin bandwagon



Palinsanity! It seems the Jeremy Lin phenomenon is postpartisan. From a strictly basketball perspective its understandable how former basketball stars Obama and Palin would appreciate Lin for his oncourt ability. His humility, overall approval and faith also make him palatable to a large population so its not surprising that he would cross the partisan divide.

- Barack Obama and Sarah Palin: Basketball and Politics
- Lebron James follows Rush Limbaugh to Florida. 'Sports Guy' Bill Simmons likens Lebron to a wrestling heel
- The rise and fall of Sarah Palin (Part 1 of 2)
- Rise above hate: John Cena, Jeremy Lin and President Obama + Lebron James

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elimination Chamber: The Republicans and WWE Superstars Debate

Elimination Chamber: The WWE meets the Republican Primary debates

VIDEO: WWE Raw - Elimination Chamber
Preview debate (Feb 13, 2012)

Each competitor for the 2012 Elimination Chamber said their peace moving forward their respective narratives. The debate format is an entertaining approach to build for the event that will earn them the right to face the defending Champion. Each competitor has their strengths, their unique brand of charisma garnering varying degrees of support. Some simply point to their record, others exude confidence whilst some have a chip on their shoulder.

Depending on the competency of the Moderator and the tone of civility set. Each debate enhances, weakens or preserves the candidate's status quo. Ultimately the debate will not settle a thing, its the referee's count that will determine the next champion.
WWE Raw: Elimination Chamber debate (Feb 13, 2012)
CM PUNK: To you the WWE audience. I give my word, I promise you that this debate will not end in violence...

VICKIE GUERRERO: Excuse Me! [Moderator] Jerry, I think there should be no booing allowed...
DOLPH ZIGGLER: Everyone knows I'm a better wrestler than CM Punk. I'm better than anyone in the ring at everything including the audience. That's kind of my deal. Except I back it up every single night and then there's people like R-Truth who don't even know what State we're in
R-TRUTH: Is that right? Well if I'm elected. The first thing I'm going to do is trade Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown for Hornswaggle and a box of spiders
ZIGGLER: We're not running for office you idiot! How do you even work here? King! (pleading to moderator)
Moderator JERRY 'THE KING' LAWLER: Its OK, continue..
R-TRUTH: Thank you your honor...

Moderator LAWLER: You were in the main event of last year's Wrestlemania?
THE MIZ: Correction Jerry! I wasn't in the main event of last year's Wrestlemania. I WAS the Main event of last year's Wrestlemania! I made history when I retained my title not once but twice...
*buzzer sounds*
Moderator LAWLER: Miz you're time is up...
KOFI KINGSTON: Miz why don't you shut up. An Afterthought? You called me an afterthought. I'm sure most of the people in this ring probably agree with you because I have been overlooked for far too long. That's alright though because that's the beautiful thing about the Elimination Chamber is that in the course of one night everything can change...

CHRIS JERICHO: Its obvious that I'm surrounded by neophytes in this ring, surrounded by neophytes in this entire arena. All of you need to quiet down because the true "Best in the World" at everything I do is about to enunciate...
- Republican Primaries - Flashback 2008
- Super Tuesday and all the primaries before it

Rise above hate: John Cena, Jeremy Lin and President Obama + Lebron James

The hottest sporting sensation in America received the highest honor today by being mentioned by US President Barack Obama:
President Obama watching Jeremy Lin
Meanwhile, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ESPN.com that President Barack Obama has been following Lin this past week and watched Lin hit the game-winning 3-point shot that beat the Raptors Tuesday night in Toronto. "That's great. That's a great story," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. "(Obama's) a basketball fan. He might even think he can take (Lin), I don't know."

The president discussed the shot with aides on Marine One earlier Wednesday on the way to Andrews Air Force Base, before flying to Milwaukee. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Lin's success is "just a great story, and the president was saying as much this morning."

It's a story that "transcends the sport itself," Carney added.

Lin said he is, "very honored, very humbled" over the attention from President Obama. "I mean, wow, the president. Nothing better than that," he said after scoring 10 points and handing out 13 assists in the Knicks' 100-85 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Lin like Obama is superficially a story of race and overachievement. As Obama has found out approaching the end of his first term, with the Tea Party movement and his approval rate declining. The same light that shines is the same light that burns. Eventually performance does trump novelty but this is nothing new for Lin as he has had to defy "haters" doubting him from the beginning:
Harvard's Hoops Star Is Asian. Why's That a Problem?

Some people still can't look past his ethnicity. Everywhere he plays, Lin is the target of cruel taunts. "It's everything you can imagine," he says. "Racial slurs, racial jokes, all having to do with being Asian." Even at the Ivy League gyms? "I've heard it at most of the Ivies if not all of them"...

In the face of such foolishness, Lin doesn't seem to lose it on the court. "Honestly, now, I don't react to it," he says. "I expect it, I'm used to it, it is what it is." Postgame, Lin will release some frustration...
Ultimately its what the "haters" want - for their targets to get caught up in the emotion. Its up to the heroes of the story to 'Rise Above Hate' and leave it all on the floor. At least that's what would happen in wrestling.

VIDEO: John Cena Vs Kane Royal Rumble Promo

- Barack Obama and Sarah Palin: Basketball and Politics
- Lebron James follows Rush Limbaugh to Florida. 'Sports Guy' Bill Simmons likens Lebron to a wrestling heel
- The rise and fall of Sarah Palin (Part 1 of 2)

Update: Lebron James replaces Jeremy Lin
After deliberating about it, I realised Jeremy Lin doesn't fit in 'Rise Above Hate' trio. If he were to have his own tagline it would more likely read 'Rise Above Doubt'. Lin unlike Obama, James and Cena has been doubted from the very beginning and has only recently had weight put behind and on him. The trio all got rockets strapped to their backs, getting monster pushes only to receive a backlash when people grew weary. Their performance not living up to their lofty title.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Henry Rollins on travel: "Fox News is pro-wrestling and MSNBC is a TV Blog"

Henry Rollins is a Punk Rock legend and ever evolving artist. Known for his outspokenness Rollins toured with APF's Marc Maron and Janeane Garofalo on their 'It's Not a Play and There's No Music' tour in 2007.
Interview with Henry Rollins: Punk Rock World Traveler
WORLD HUM: So how does an experience like that color the way you consume mainstream media about, say, Iran and U.S.-Iran relations?
HENRY ROLLINS: Good question. It occurs to me that CNN, as neural and sometimes milquetoast and mediocre as they can be, and they’re the nicest, and FOX news, they’re the professional wrestling, and MSNBC, they’re a blog that’s a TV show, all these outlets ultimately are pro-war—some people might argue with me—and pro-corporate bottom line. Whereas Al Jazeera, to me, that’s news. Where you get to hear the full soundtrack of what an Iraqi hospital sounds like full of people with no anesthesia, when you just hear nothing but human screams. That’s bringing it home...
- Marc Maron's WTF podcast Ep 23: Wyatt Cenac talks pundits and professional wrestling

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Adam Carolla and Glenn Beck: On being loved and hated


VIDEO: Adam Carolla Glenn Beck Interview GBTV 01-17-12 (TheBlaze.com)
GLENN BECK: (5m 34s)... I said on the air we probably disagree on a lot of stuff but good for him. Listen to him. I know because I heard a clip from you later saying that people were like "How can you be friends with Glenn Beck?". We're not friends.

Why can't people who may or may not disagree with each other on a lot  (I don't know what you think about everything), it didn't matter to me. Why can't we have a dialogue like we're having right now without you being in bed with a bad guy like me or me selling out because [of your] language... Why can't we have a normal conversation and come together on big things?

ADAM CAROLLA: I'll tell you why. I think people are in such a hurry to put you in a box that they cannot take the time to peel your onion and they cannot realise that there are shades of grey. We may disagree on religion but we may agree on border policy or raising the taxes and we may disagree on other topics but ultimately we're both family men.

For me I don't really care what your religion is or what you pray to or what colour you are. You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.

BECK: (mild sarcasm) You're not saying content of character?

CAROLLA: I am. I'm just saying there's a big bicycle we're all on. You're either pedaling or your dragging your feet and what you do after you get home is your business. I'm interested in finding the guys who pedal and praise them and I'm not interested in talking about what our differences are in religion. I'm interested in finding the guys dragging their feet and throwing them off the bicycle.

BECK: (impressed) I love you man 
In a democracy there are several types of people, those pedaling, those dragging their feet and those who are content or distracted enough that they're not bothered where the bike ends up. Depending on the location and direction of the bike, its reasonable that we might alternate between feet dragging and pedaling.

Adam Carolla closes his conversation by essentially describing the metric of how a wrestler's success is measured - To be taken notice regardless of whether you're loved or hated ('face' or 'heel')
ADAM CAROLLA (13m 2s): Ultimately all you have is your voice, especially when we do what we do [Punditry for Beck, Comedy for Carolla] and if you just speak the truth. The truth as you know it, the truth as you feel it and speak your voice. You'll get a certain amount of people who love you and a certain amount of people that hate you.

But I'd rather have a bunch of people that love me and bunch of people that hate me than a bunch of people in the middle who went "Eh, he's alright". That's what I want.

The worst thing anyone can say about you, I mean back in High School you wanted the Head Cheerleader to either or love you or hate you. The worst answer answer would be "Glenn who? I don't think I know that name".
- Glenn Beck hosts Adam Carolla on his show
- Stand up comedian Glenn Beck - 2009 Common Sense Comedy Tour
- Jon Stewart parodies Glenn Beck again, explains "Glenn's rules of the blackboard"
- What makes a successful wrestler - Ann Coulter: Top Heel (wrestling villain)