Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bill Burr and Joe Rogan on Politics being Blue Team (CNN) vs Red Team (Fox News)

Comedians Bill Burr and Joe Rogan distilled the 'Politics is Wrestling' analogy in a conversation about CNN vs Fox News on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Podcast (Ep 909). Bill Burr discussed his anxiety watching those News channels as they bake conflict and partisanship in their programming.

VIDEO: Joe Rogan Experience #909 - Bill Burr
BILL BURR:(1h 16m 10s) Its why I can't watch CNN or Fox, I can't just sit there and listen - as much as I rant and rave which is just f*ckin pretty ironic - I can't sit there listening to people screaming and yelling at each other cuz they don't want to come together. They don't want to find what's right. They just want to win.
JOE ROGAN: They have a side and they don't want to look at the other side.
BURR: I have a red tie so I argue the "Red Tie" sh*t. You have a blue tie so you argue that. It's f*ckin childish…
ROGAN: Hashtag "I'm with Her". The I'm with her thing was driving me f*cking crazy too. What do you mean you're with her. Is it just "her", is it about a woman or is it about who is the right person to run the f*ckin country. Cuz its not her, are you voting Democratic?
BURR: And I thought those f*cking — you know CNN they kinda boxed out Bernie Sanders. It was almost like a fight, he might’ve been a better matchup. Who knows?
ROGAN: He was a way better matchup. He wasn't compromised. If you wanna talk about someone who was financially compromised, he wasn't compromised. He may have been the only guy who ever ran for President that wasn't completely tied in to the financial system.
Joe Rogan and Bill Burr talking about the CNN/Fox News divide
JOE ROGAN: The CNN/Fox divide, the left and right divide has never been greater in this country than right now. There's no one objective news source. There's not one news source that just tells you what's going on and doesn't do it from a biased perspective. Its left or right.
BILL BURR: But I think that divide only exists between the people that watch that sh*t. Its kinda like people — do you watch the UFC, do you not watch the UFC — If you watch the UFC then you're into this sh*t. I think there's just news junkies out there that just mainline that sh*t and they're the ones where that divide is like that.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ladies and Gentleman, my name is Alex Jones and I am the advocate for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson an Alex Jones guy?
I've written previously how Alex Jones has been receptive towards a Dwayne Johnson candidacy. With recent fracturing in the President's base over his overtures to the Democrats on DACA, Alex revisits the appeal of The Rock and him possibly replacing Trump as a more suitable populist darling. The People's Champion.

VIDEO: Is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Running For President?
ALEX JONES: (54s) I don't really like Hollywood. I'm sick of it. Its so fake, its empty. But I do like The Rock. I do like his movies, my kids like his movies. Reportedly behind the scenes, he's a really likeable guy. A hard working guy and he's supposedly pretty conservative but in a populist vein. That's a good thing.
He said about a month ago, he's considering a run for the Presidency in 2020. And the way Trump's going, if he betrays his base. I think there's one guy who's got more real star appeal and people appeal than even Donald Trump and that's Dwayne Johnson. And if Trump dynamites his own base and starts selling out to the Democrats then I would back Dwayne Johnson running against Donald John Trump and I think most Americans would as well.

Plus if the Rock's up there saying, "Mexico and China don't let you in if you're illegal. They don't let you come here and have babies for free. They don't let you come here and claim you were a kid here but with no proof". Obviously because of he's skin color that would really help and I think The Rock knows that.
But super focused, successful, smart guy. I think he'd make a great President. He's a free marketer. He loves America. He's not out to piss on the country... Should we start drafting Dwayne Johnson who already says he's getting ready to run to replace Donald Trump?
Alex continues his gushing for The Rock but oddly diverges into a shoot against Kid Rock, another prospective celebrity politician, which he promptly backtracks on.

 VIDEO: Will Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Defeat Trump In 2020?  
ALEX JONES: So smart, good-looking, Pro-American guy with brown skin. Yes! Put him in office immediately...
Listen I'm not dumping Trump right now and Trump's done a great job but we're gonna debate this about what do we do if old Donald Trump goes sideways?

Well The Rock, Dwayne Johnson is a lot better than Kid Rock. Nothing against Kid Rock. He's got some OK music and stuff. Kid Rock does kind of look like he got fed through a meth laboratory.
Ok I'm being mean. Kid Rock's got some good policies. Some good ideas, he's given a lot of money back to Detroit and he's a patriot. I've got mutual friends with Kid Rock and I'm sorry I shouldn't have said that. Hell! I don't look that good either. Maybe I look like I've been fed through that. Point is that I hope he wins the Senate but he really is rough around the edges.
I doubt we'll be seeing Alex Jones introducing The Rock in public appearances the same way Paul "The Advocate" Heyman introduces Brock Lesnar. I don't see the Rock's personal politics overlapping with Alex Jones' brand of libertarianism.  As far as credible wrestler candidates go, Governor Ventura is closer to an "Alex Jones Guy" than the Rock or John Cena is.

The Rock is in a unique position as an adored public figure, transcending partisan politics. Moreover, he’s getting a push from the Infowars apparatus that paved the climate which helped elect Trump. If you smell what The Rock is cooking.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The appeal of Celebrity Presidential candidates— White House 46: The Rock vs John Cena

"Once in a lifetime III". John Cena vs Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
There's been a lot of chatter on the possibility of Pro-Wrestler Dwayne Johnson contesting for the Presidency. With broad appeal as a social media darling and the world's highest paid actor, the Rock has gotten bipartisan approval from the likes of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore and conservative publication, the National Review.
Outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban has spoken on how Trump's success has paved the way for other entrepreneurs to challenge for the highest office in the land. The same could be argued for Celebrities in general, rapper Kanye West one of the earliest to float a 2020 run before fellow self-promoter Donald Trump cut him off at the pass.
Along with politicians Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz, the likely Presidential field also includes celebrity powerbrokers Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg. As guest on the 'Chapo Trap House' podcast, Matt Taibbi explains the appeal and advantages of running for office as a celebrity candidate.
Episode 77 — No Country For Gorilla Men feat. Matt Taibbi (1/29/17)
MATT CHRISTMAN: (32m 52s) It basically boils down to the fact that there's a symbiotic relationship between traditional politicians and the media, right? Because most people especially if they’re running for President on a National scale has never heard of these a**holes. So it's basically the media's job to — in collaboration with the candidate — shape a version of them for people to be introduced to and give them an idea of who they are
CHRISTMAN: Trump because he's a celebrity had a prefabricated brand that he didn't need the media to help him create so that relationship just broke down because he wasn't a politician.
TAIBBI: That's 100% correct. What people need to remember -who are politicians? Most of them before they enter congress are 4th rate lawyers who get elected from these little... towns who gradually get built up and then they have profile and then in order to be turned into these mythic God-like characters they need the overwhelming attention of lots and lots of media people. But you don't need that if you're Donald Trump, he just bypassed that entire exercise. He's a celebrity by himself, without all the help of these sycophants.
Wrestling journalist Brian Maxwell expands the case for the logical pairing of celebrities and Presidential elections. Arguing elections are basically Reality TV talent shows that incorrectly test the competencies truly needed for the job.
Review America with Brian Mann & Nate Milton — Episode 1: The RNC
BRIAN MAXWELL: (25m 53s) If this whole campaign, this whole election is Pro-wrestling. The actual Presidency is 'Brawl for All'. Being a Pro-wrestling match doesn’t actually determine who the better fighter is...
What’s really harmful with our politics -especially in our current media age- is that the qualifications, the hoops that we have people run through don’t in anyway line up to what it actually means to be President. At all. So we've devised this obstacle course that doesn't actually test someone's readiness for this type of position.
I have no doubt as scary as it sounds- that Donald Trump might win this election cuz he might actually win the media job of converting people into voters... at the end of the day the job of the Presidency isn't necessarily a public relations job... The more that I look at it and I see we kind of opened things up. I think we’ve been doing it long enough that we can question the results.
SNL imagining a John Cena and Dwayne Johnson Presidency
Writing on the analogy that American Politics is Pro-Wrestling for the past 10yrs, I never imagined a WWE Hall-of-Famer in Donald Trump could occupy the White House. The fact the Rock, an actual Wrestler is poised to be a Presidential frontrunner is truly mind-boggling.
John Cena, another marquee Wrestler also makes a compelling case as a dark horse Presidential Contender. Though divisive in the Wrestling Universe ("Let's go Cena, CENA sucks!") especially compared to the "People’s Champion". Cena offers a clearer liberal representative whilst ticking the same boxes as the Rock — charismatic action hero, positive rolemodel and supporter of the Troops. A plus on Cena's ledger, he speaks mandarin.

VIDEO: John Cena supports #WeAreAmerica this Independence Day

If registered Republican Dwayne Johnson were to run, could he possibly challenge Donald Trump in a GOP primary? Could the winner between them face a Democratic nominee John Cena? Might the deciding battle in the "Once in a lifetime" feud between John Cena and the Rock be waged in the Political Arena? The rivalry that began for WrestleMania 28, avenged at WrestleMania 29 could possibly culminate in the election for POTUS 46.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mike Cernovich proposes a Left VS Right Battle Royale headlined by Keith Olbermann and Alex Jones

Expounding on an earlier tweet, Mike Cernovich proposed a Left VS Right PPV showdown headlined by Keith Olbermann and new boss and partner, Alex Jones. I’ve been meaning to update the PunditFight roster with today’s current stars, the hype behind this hypothetical superfight might just be the inspiration.
Original 'American Pundit Fighting' roster (2007)
In the 10 years since it's founding, the APF roster has changed dramatically, escalating within the past year during the recent changeover in administrations. Jon Stewart stepped down from the 'Daily Show'. Stephen Colbert broke kayfabe to replace David Letterman on the 'Late Show'. Ratings juggernaut Bill O’Reilly was stunningly axed over sexual harassment claims. Alex Jones has arguably become the most influential pundit whilst the audacious Trump has effectively made the likes of Rush Limbaugh and traditional media obsolete.

It's telling of the times that the roster Cernovich offered to represent the Right is made up of independent personalities that don't occupy mainstream news outlets.

Cernovich Series PPV:
Team Republican (Cernovich, Weaver, Molyneux, Jones and Watson)

Cernovich Series PPV:
Team Democrats (Maher, Stelter, Olbermann, Harris, Tapper)

MIKE CERNOVICH: (3h 15m 08s) I predicted that people on the Right could do it better than people on the left. This a point that is being missed by the media. This is not a threat. I don’t want violence, I want a debate. Again, show me anyone on the left who has ever offered $100,000 to charity to debate me.
Alex Jones, big name. We can raise a lot of money for charity. We can livestream it, have a superchat going. I bet you we can raise a million dollars if we had a big —like a WrestleMania. Wow! I wish Alex were here right now so we could brainstorm off each other. I envision like a major UFC event. A major boxing match promoted by CNN, co-promoted by Infowars. Maybe get Breitbart, Daily Caller, Cernovich Media. Get all of us in a room and we can have an undercard leading to a main event.

So the Left, they can have Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Jake Tapper, Brian Stelter. All these guys on the left can come in. Like a big battle royal. And then we can have people on the Right: Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Millie [Weaver], [Mike] Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux. We could have 5, 10 people on each side and this could all lead — God! Where is Alex right now when you need him?

This would be an amazing, amazing event, we could cut up a promo for it. I bet you we could do a million for charity. I would put up a $100,000 of my own money from Cernovich media to see this event happen for charity. It would be the Battle Royale, the Left VS the Right. Who has the better ideas? Who can gauge with free speech with the most tenacity, the most ferocity. Who has the better argument? Who's more logical, who's more cogent? Millions of people would watch this. We could air it on every network. Air it live on CNN, air it live on NBC, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC. Air it live on everybody’s social media, on everybody's YouTube. Crowdfund donations. Livestream it. All money would go to charity. Why isn't this happening?
Cernovich Series PPV: Team Rep VS Team Smack'Dem
The 5 on 5 matchup is perfectly set up for a team showdown, traditional Survivor Series style. It’s worth noting that only Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann are existing APF pundits. Expect more art to come for this dream fight.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Alex Jones on the Presidential ticket of Mark Zuckerberg and ‘The Rock

Tag Team contenders Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Zuckerberg
Alex Jones and Infowars counterpart Owen Shroyer discusses the growing push for a Dwayne Johnson Presidential candidacy. Whilst not opposed to the suggestion, they're concerned he might ally with the Democrats or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who is a top Presidential contender in his own right.
The Alex Jones Show (Friday May 12, 2017) 
ALEX JONES: (3h 23m 12s) Can you imagine if the Rock [aka Dwayne Johnson] runs with [Mark] Zuckerberg?
OWEN SHROYER: Its interesting Alex, I know you've talked to people within the WWE. Its pretty well known the WWE is a pretty conservative group, politically. Considering the people who go out to the media and do interviews. You've got Linda McMahon who's in as the Small Business Administration adviser, Vince McMahon's wife.
JONES: The billionaire strut
SHROYER: And like you said earlier, I don't have a problem with the Rock. I think the Rock is a genuine guy. I think he genuinely cares about people.
JONES: I just know I like all the shows he's on. I mean I won't watch a lot of TV, he's just really funny to watch. I like him and I can't — If he runs with the Democrats, oh huh please don’t do that. SHROYER: Apparently they say he's a registered Republican, I don't know if that's true or not. JONES: I hope that's the case because the word is Zuckerberg is getting him to run.
SHROYER: Well I think that’s what they're gonna try and do Alex. They know the Rock has people power. I mean he's the People's Champion, that's what they call him. They know he will draw a lot of attention. He's already drawing attention just for the notion he might run and the Democrats have nothing. They literally have nothing...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Culture Warrior" Bill O'Reilly and Fox News part ways

Wow! Bill O'Reilly, the biggest pundit of all time has been stood down by Fox News over sexual harassment claims.
- Find all my Bill O'Reilly posts here

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How the 2000 tag team of Donald Trump and Jesse Ventura set the stage for a "wrestler in the White House"

Wrestler CM Punk from the indies to the "Big League".
Trump, teasing a run in 2000 to officially announcing his Presidential bid in 2015.
Wrestlers hone their stagecraft as they develop, perfecting their lines and shaping their personas. As they move up the ranks from the indie circuit to the big stage, storylines may get rehashed as they reintroduce themselves to bigger and bigger audiences. The same goes for politics.
Presidential candidates who may have been popular or influential in their districts or States, mount campaigns using the playbook that served them well on the regional stage. Deploying familiar lines and refining their message, a look into one's Gubernatorial or Senate races might telegraph a candidate's arc.
That being said, often times the wider public only see the latest and grander incarnation. Unaware of the recycled messaging and the winding road to becoming the character they see in front of them.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Trump left no such trail as he became the first person to assume the Presidency with no prior political or military experience. Donald Trump has been a public figure for several decades and has hinted at becoming President as early as 1988 and signaling serious bids from 2000.
That Time Donald Trump And Jesse Ventura Talked Campaign Strategy
Donald Trump's "outsider" campaign for president is nothing new to Minnesota voters — it's very similar to the one that elected former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in 1998.

In fact, Trump once came to Minnesota to find out from Ventura himself exactly how he did it while he was considering a run for public office himself.

"It's almost like he's reading our playbook," said Dean Barkley, Ventura's campaign chairman, who Ventura later appointed to the U.S. Senate. "Ventura had very, very high negatives. Nobody took him seriously. What he had going for him was his personality, and his ability to connect with people."
VIDEO: Donald Trump Jesse Ventura press conference

Watching Trump and Ventura's news conference on the Reform Party presidential race of 2000, you'll find talking points that foretell storylines for Trump's winning campaign 16 years later. Those who followed the campaign closely might recognise now-familiar phrases from this event, including the iconic Trumpism - "Big League".

Below are selected transcripts of that 2000 speech accompanied by mirroring headlines from 2016.
MSNBC: Trump campaign a cover for moneymaking scheme
Trump addressing the charge that his Presidential campaign is a publicity stunt, a glorified book tour
REPORTER: (17m 06s) Is this more of a book tour promotion than a Presidential Campaign?
DONALD TRUMP: ... All 3 of my books have been No.1 Bestsellers. I don't need this for that. New York City's the hottest selling city in the World. I'm selling condominiums and buildings like crazy. I don't need it for that. I'm doing this very seriously. The book whether it goes to No.1 as the other 3 have or whether it doesn't is not a major factor economically. It's not a lot of money in a book no matter how successful it is.

I am looking very seriously as to whether or not it can be won. Very much like Jesse, you go out and you run. If I go out and get 20% of the vote. Big deal! People say "Great Job" for 24 hours, Great Job. And not that its a bad place I'm back in my office at Trump Tower the following Wednesday. So I'm looking as to whether or not I can win. If I can win I believe I can do a very good job otherwise I wouldn't be running. It's as simple as that.
HARTFORD COURANT: Trump brings fiery message to thousands in Hartford
Donald Trump on the support he's gotten by way of the thousands in attendance at his rallies
REPORTER: Mr Trump, on that point you had a packed house here today. How have you done elsewhere in the Country. What kind of feelings are you getting, what kind of vibe...?

TRUMP: Well its been amazing. As I think you know its been amazing. We've had 17,000 people show up in California. We had 14,000 show up in Hartford, Connecticut you know its a little disconcerting when you leave and you say "How many people am I speaking in front of?", your secretary says "17,500 people". And you never sort of heard of that.
We have had a tremendous response. On television we've gotten the highest ratings, on Larry King and virtually every show. 60 Minutes is doing a big piece on January 11th where I speak very brilliantly of him [Jesse Ventura]... so its been very strong.
POLITICO: How did everyone get it so wrong?
Jesse Ventura describing how the voters defied unanimous polls that pegged him to lose his 3-way Gubernatorial race in 1998. Echoing Donald Trump's unlikely Presidential win of 2016.
JESSE VENTURA: ... You can't focus on a particular market but certainly if you can have a dynamic campaign that inspires young people. Those are voters that aren't polled which is another great disservice to the 15% we're talking about that we're supposed to get because I never once -- to show you how fraudulent polling can be. I never once, not at one point in my election was I polled to be the winner. There was not one poll that indicated that Jesse Ventura would be the next Governor of the state of Minnesota yet when that November 3rd came, who won? And the polls didn't dictate who won, the voters dictated it and I ended up winning that election when no poll indicated that in the first place and that's why it was fraudulent that they would set that type of thing up based upon polling results
WASHINGTON POST: Here's why Trump's attacks on 'fake news' succeed
Donald Trump and Jesse Ventura pushing back on reporters who were mischaracterizing them
REPORTER: (15m 31s) Governor,  Donald Trump said earlier that he thinks if he decided to run for President that you would probably endorse him
TRUMP: I didn't say that. When did I say that?!
VENTURA: Aah you see, we caught you Press
TRUMP: He's the New York Post, don't worry. It's the New York Post (pointing lightheartedly)
VENTURA: You see if Donald wasn't here now, they would have gotten away with that question.
TRUMP: Now look at him, he just hides his head. He doesn't even dispute it. That's alright, New York Post
*room laughs*

REPORTER: (26m 15) Do you seen anyone else, do you know of any other [candidate you could endorse]?
VENTURA: I haven't been searching for anyone
REPORTER: Has anyone spoke to you and asked for your endorsement?
REPORTER: So you're probably going to endorse Donald Trump if he runs?
TRUMP: (interjects) Again -- New York Post Governor. Don't worry about it.
VENTURA: I know, I like the New York Post. They write all sorts of fabrications
Its worth noting how cordial the press' relationship with Trump is was, known then as a political freelancer and folksy celebrity businessman. Compared to today, where President Trump has a sub 40% approval rating and is resisted by a large swathe of the population despite retaining his populist appeal.
The conference was held 4 years prior to the success of NBC's 'The Apprentice' and Jesse Ventura declaring "we may need a Wrestler in the White House" alongside the Donald at WrestleMania XX.
Jesse had coaxed Trump ringside that day to endorse him but it would be Trump who would go on to occupy the highest office in the land 12 years later.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The #TrumpMeetsTrudeau handshake: The Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump showdown

US President Donald Trump met Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for the first time last week. It was a cordial affair between neighboring leaders featuring a roundtable discussion of Women in Business alongside Ivanka Trump and several females CEOs from both countries.

However the enduring narrative from the visit were the handshakes, a commonplace but time-honored tradition. Memes circulated about how adeptly Prime Minister Trudeau maneuvered against Trump's infamous handshake style.

VIDEO: Trump's awkward handshakes with World Leaders

What do we make of the fascination behind the showdown. Why were so many people invested in a handshake?
That Viral Photo of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump Is Not What It Seems
… We live in a new normal of misinformation sharing, one where falsities are pushed as truths by the highest levels of power. And so people are grasping for images that either back up their preexisting notions or turn the mainstream narrative on its head, and then sharing with their followers to further the reach.
In this case, a confrontation between western democracy's top babyface (hero) and top heel (villain). The dreamboat liberal, Justin Trudeau against divisive celebrity mogul, Donald Trump. Both men are evenly matched and have overlapping qualities despite their philosophical differences. They're similarly privileged sons who've capitalised off their father's name and have a keen understanding of stagecraft to bypass traditional media.
Is Trudeau the ultimate image manipulator? Not quite 
Traditional media are weakening, social media and online media strengthening, and the latter feast on image and celebrity. Of course, the Prime Minister’s Office counts on new media to counterbalance the traditional skeptical coverage of old media.
Justin Trudeau headlining ‘Fight for the Cure 5' (2012).
Donald Trump in the Main Event of WrestleMania 23 (2007)
Interestingly both men used blockbuster fight events as a springboard for their Presidential ambitions. With their outsized personas and rabid following as champions for diametrically opposed world views. A showdown between these bordering leaders is a promoter's dream, the ultimate matchup. Even the thought of a clash provides catharsis.

The audience knows what they want
To best sell a fight its ideal that both fighters come in strong and to have juice behind them. In wrestling the positive reaction a fighter gets is called a "Pop". The negative reaction,"Heat". This was evident on Twitter timelines with varied reactions to #TrudeauMeetsTrump depending on one’s political leanings.

A change in orientation (turn) from hero to villain or vice versa is commonplace in wrestling. Not so in politics as flip-flopping is ordinarily viewed as political suicide. Reinvention is integral to wrestling, characters change gimmicks and switch allegiances to keep audiences engaged. There's also the opening for a glorious return to form, a reboot of their persona. Interestingly this mirrors the transformation of public figures like Trump and successful celebrity cum politicians before him. Such as Governors, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's worth noting all three are in the WWE hall of fame.

In today's partisan times its rare for politicians to cross the aisle to get matters resolved, let alone switch parties. Those who do are generally viewed with skepticism, seen as pariahs from both sides. The antidote to this is having the support of the people. To fashion yourself as a "maverick", an outsider taking on the establishment. With the correct gimmick and the unwavering support of your fans you can get away with anything. The same in wrestling goes for Politics.

Irreverent wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had license to assault respected celebrities and an elderly woman. Likewise, Trump’s popularity and charisma inoculated him from scandals that would have felled previous politicians. Inexplicably, stoushes with war heroes and the Pope only strengthened his aura.
Whilst a duel between Trump and Trudeau would be a major draw, it will unlikely yield what political partisans are after. Especially the #NeverTrumpers longing for a bogeyman to finally dethrone the Donald. Annihilation is only possible through the erosion of public support, the key is preserving relevancy. As main event fighters and image savvy personas, Trump and Trudeau understand this. If both men remain standing, the rival fanbases would only become further entrenched rather than converted by defeat.

In wrestling, the slightest event can trigger a program. A stolen action figure or a spilled coffee cup could foreshadow a future rivalry. Donald Trump is not known for his subtlety, he telegraphs his intentions through tweets and isn't afraid to make enemies. Conversely, Trudeau takes after Barack Obama. The former top babyface and Trump's predecessor, a sensible diplomat who'll be restrained in his engagement with the World's Most Powerful Man. The social media response over the handshake teases the excitement that would come off a Trump/Trudeau face-off. I just wouldn't force it.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Introducing @NicoDenoir, the finest Politics is Wrestling Twitter account today

The Politics is Wrestling meme went mainstream in 2016 with Donald Trump's ascension and ultimate conquest of American Politics. As the #1 resource for the analogy, I've tracked the growth of 'Politics is Wrestling' since 2007. In the early days it was easier to find mentions of the meme as it wasn't in vogue yet. Prior to Trump, the original meme torchbearer was Jesse Ventura. The WWE Hall of Famer turned Minnesota Governor taught classes at Harvard in 2004 on how Pro-Wrestling prepares you for Politics. In 2010 the Daily Show brought the meme to the mainstream in a segment featuring Wyatt Cenac and wrestler Mick Foley. 

Today we're inundated with a deluge of stories and blog posts on how Politics is Wrestling. Taking hiatus from the blog when there were murmurs of a Trump Presidential run in 2011, I'd been out of the loop as far as storylines went. 

That was until I discovered @nicodenoir on Twitter, he's been my biggest source for keeping up to date with 'Politics is Wrestling'. Nico introduced me to Brandon Wetherbee and Chris Kelly, co-authors of 'The Donald: How Trump Turned Presidential Politics into Pro Wrestling' and the 'Great American Bash' podcast. He connected me with the 'Review America' podcast with Brian Mann and Nate Milton. Both podcasts discussing American Politics through the prism of Pro-Wrestling and founded July, 2016.

I got in touch with Nico to find more about him and get his take looking back on 2016. I'd hoped to release this by Inauguration Day but decided I wanted to crank up my animations again. Expect to see more Pundits added to the existing roster of PunditFighters and changes to some of the original cast. I'm toying with the idea of creating a stable for the best champions of the 'Politics is Wrestling' meme.

1. What's your relationship with Wrestling and Politics, how long have you been engaged with both?
 After graduating from Concordia University in Political Science, I spent over a decade in Canadian federal politics as an executive in communications, while also having been involved in the American 08’ New Hampshire presidential primaries.

My expertise is in public relations, speech writing and campaign management. My first wrestling memory is walking under the hot and arid Stampede Wrestling tent at the age of 5 in Calgary. At my first live wrestling event, I saw WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat in a No DQ Match, at the Montreal Forum in 1987.

I've been with the International Wrestling Syndicate since its inception in 1999, holding various roles with them behind-the-scenes over the years, while being currently involved as a public relations and social media consultant.

2. Explain your interest in the Politics is Wrestling analogy. How did you first come up with or come across the idea? 

 I first noticed the relationship between pro wrestling and politics while studying speech writing in College and falling onto the famous Dusty Rhodes 'Hard Times' promo. To this day, I still think that promo may arguably be the greatest political speech ever.

3. What were your 5 favorite Politics is Wrestling links for 2016, providing some background?
After Linda's failed senatorial races representing the Republican Party in Connecticut, once Chris Christie dropped out of the presidential race, the McMahon’s rallied behind their old friend Trump. The McMahon donation to the Trump campaign assured Linda's candidacy for appointment.

While everyone's focus was on Trump, Rhyno also ran for politics this year, doing a great job in his campaign which was highly substantial in local policies. He also continued to perform as a wrestler on the SmackDown brand throughout his campaign.
Dwayne Johnson has alluded in passing to entering politics, but this year was his coming out in affirming his interest in running for the highest office. Ironically, US politicians generally deny until the last minute their intentions to run for President, but obviously for The Rock, "it doesn't matter what you think".
I used these two incidences as an exercise to demonstrating the different ways a mistake can be publicly confronted, as the Democrats denied wrong-doing by deflecting the blame, Reigns faced his situation head-on by admitting fault and apologising.
While many speculated that Trump was using the professional wrestling playbook during his campaign, it was this Meet The Press interview that confirmed this reality, most notably from Vince McMahon's congratulatory call for the Republican National Convention entrance.

4. How would you best describe 2016? 
2016 was the year where the analogy of politics as wrestling was legitimized by the Trump candidacy. While Jesse Ventura has been playing this up all along since his mandate as Governor of Minnesota, it hadn't hit the American mainstream until now. By the end of last summer, politics as wrestling was on everyone’s mind.

Looking forward, it remains to be seen what effect the Trump campaign will have on others in the wrestling industry who have future political aspirations including Glenn Jacobs (Kane), Booker T, Cody Rhodes, Dwayne Johnson and quite possibly John Cena.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Remember the Rumble: Donald Trump, Election 2016 wallpaper

Donald Trump and Election 2016 wallpaper
and why we should "Remember the Rumble"
Only a week into the Trump presidency and many people remain in a state of disbelief and denial that there's a new Sheriff in town. Trump is the first President to arrive into power with a sub 50% approval rating, his second day in office met with a wave of oppositional marches that overshadowed the crowd figures at his Inauguration. Not one to take disapproval lying down Trump snidely tweeted
The President's Senior Counselor Steve Bannon adding "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while". Whilst it appears like weeping and gnashing of teeth from Trump's detractors it's best described as blind fury. In pugilistic fashion, Trump has worked his opponents into a frenzy with goading rhetoric that aims to distract and debase them.
This is why it doesn’t matter when Donald Trump lies by Joe Hildebrand
Unfortunately many in the American left and liberal media still seem wholly incapable of seeing what drove Donald Trump to power and are thus hopelessly ill-equipped to remove him from it. The only trick in the playbook seems to be to dig up one more scandal, one more "gotcha" moment, and hope that this will be the one that sinks him.

If Einstein is right that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then it’s not Trump who is the crazy one...

Instead of getting outraged by everything he says over and over again or protesting his very existence, Trump's opponents should find out why people voted for him in the first place and offer them a better alternative.

After all, if he's as bad as they say he is how hard can that be?
Its worth noting that Trump successfully divided and conquered opposition from his right flank, from Fox News to the National Review #NeverTrumpers. He also gave the last rites to both the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Trump has deftly fashioned friends and enemies across multiple, often unorthodox lines. Successfully repurposing the broad, bipartisan discontent on issues (trade, voter registration) and groups (Congress, the Media) to suit his ends. Redefining the playbook for modern politics, overlooked is how Trump revealed that voters weren't as monolithic as previously thought. Demonstrating its possible for a leader to convince supporters to accept sworn enemies, welcome"alternative facts" and forgive conflicts of interest.

A potpourri of policies offered by the right Salesman may be dutifully adopted especially if one is content to win only marginal support. Brandon Wetherbee and Chris Kelly, authors of 'The Donald: How Trump Turned Presidential Politics into Pro Wrestling' frames Hildebrand's prescription thusly
The Great American Bash "Heel President" (Nov 9, 2016)
CHRIS KELLY: (18m 25s) That's the thing, we just miscalculated that the heel would get his comeuppance now. Cuz there's still "heat" to get
BRANDON WETHERBEE: I got a text last night saying -- What happens to the Heel when he wins? Well he just keeps winning.
KELLY: He just keeps winning until there's a good challenger that you actually want to be the face of the Company...
We need to be reminded that Trump vanquished a gauntlet of opposition from both sides of the aisle. His audacious boast that he "could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" without losing voters chillingly proved true. It'll be a tall order finding a challenger as teflon as the Don but the candidate pool has broadened, rival billionaire Mark Cuban indicating "I think it did open a door, I think he's set a path for entrepreneurs, for business people".

The road to the White House starts at the Rumble
Using the upcoming WWE PPV as inspiration, I've made a new wallpaper to remind voter's of the alternatives paths offered and what Trump's conquest in spite monumental doubts signifies. Reminiscent of Colbert's 'Hungry for Power Games', I've appropriated the tagline for this year's Royal Rumble in San Antonio. Whilst the theme is "Remember the Rumble", I have a feeling the aftershocks of this Political Earthquake will remain a constant until the Big One returns in 4 years.

- National Review "Against Trump" wallpaper: The GOP 2016 Royal Rumble

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is Alex Jones and Donald Trump's America now: Hannity and Tucker on the rise. Glenn Beck and MSM on the decline

It's been months since my last post and obviously a lot has happened. We have a new President, one that no one expected outside of the few true believers. With that comes a shift in the power structure of the Pundit Class. Anyone who follows me on Twitter would have noticed my fixation on Alex Jones and Donald Trump. Both epitomize the Politics is Wrestling analogy. They understand showmanship and the cult of personality and have capitalised on it to emerge as the most influential voices in American Politics.
'Politics is Wrestling' on major News publications in 2016:
The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, NY Times, Washington Post etc...
Whilst I've tracked the 'Politics is Wrestling' analogy for 10 years, the rise and conquest of Donald Trump and Alex Jones took me by surprise. Donald Trump was the undisputed star of the Election cycle. Overlooked in Trump's deftness at bypassing the MSM was how he mollified Rush Limbaugh, the traditional gatekeeper for the Right. Trump also boldly challenged Fox News, fracturing them into two factions. The Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly wings, the Champions and skeptics respectively of the Trump movement. Hannity's winning gamble for Trump positions him as the official media surrogate for POTUS45. Megyn Kelly, destined for a payday regardless takes her talents to NBC where she'll have to resettle her footing with different stablemates and a broader audience.

Another pundit whose fortunes have been shaped by Trump is Glenn Beck. He put his stock on Ted Cruz for GOP nominee and was the defacto figurehead of the #NeverTrump resistance. Beck fashioned himself as the voice for principled Conservatism, poised to pick up the pieces after the seemingly inevitable Trump and subsequent GOP collapse. Trump's improbable victory made the public wary of Pollsters and News Media but Beck did something Pundits never do, show contrition. He flagellated himself on various News programs, making a show of aligning with Satirical News host Samantha Bee. After rising to the top of the Pundit power rankings a few years previous, a humbled Beck explores a new gimmick to face the Trump era.

Matt Taibbi weighing in on Donald Trump's tweet.
Not to be outdone, Alex Jones shot back at Matt.
One media personality ascendant with Trump's rise is Alex Jones, an outlandish broadcaster with fringe ideas. Entertaining but otherwise innocuous, his program taps into the worst imaginings of libertarians. These views amplified and validated as Trump echoed them and began winning over crowds. "Birtherism" was the springboard for Trump's candidacy, this and conspiracies like them had been Alex Jones' stock and trade for over 20 years. Hillary Clinton and President Obama often referenced Alex and aimed to discredit Trump by pairing them together.

Whilst other Right-Wing pundits vacillated during the primaries, checking the pulse of the masses before supporting a candidate. Alex Jones with the endorsement of Trump was becoming the zeitgeist.

VIDEO: Alex Jones exposes Beck/Savage/Limbaugh (2010)
ALEX JONES: Here's the deal, I'm an alternative, grassroots radio host that isn't part of the Left-Right paradigm. I don't let myself be put in a box, OK. It would appear that I'm allies with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and others right now... because I'm opposing everything Obama is doing. Limbaugh, Beck and others aren't opposing Obama on the War, they're saying he's not doing enough...

But as soon as they're in power, unless we really we get real leadership in there it is only going to continue, the Democrats will suddenly be Anti-Establishment. I'm Anti-Establishment and a constitutionalist no matter whose in power... I'm into facts, I'm into issues. I'm into how things actually work, OK. And I know the Government gets bigger and we lose freedoms no matter who's in there because of Global, private interests. Again I don't sit up here bashing these guys all day, of the three you mentioned I think Savage has always been the best...

All I'm saying is in three years when you get a Republican you're gonna hate me. A lot of you Republicans now love me just like when Democrats liked me when Bush was in. And then when Republicans get in you're gonna hate me. Liberals hate me now Conservatives love me. Folks you gotta grow up. I mean c'mon, some how you've got to grow up and get the facts. Somehow you've got to shatter the Left-Right paradigm. Please!
Jones and Trump represent a paradigm shift, the rise of Alternative and Independent Media. Not beholden to decorum and the rigours of Mainstream politics, they command a sizeable audience that they communicate to directly. Operating outside the traditional ecosystem of Pundits and Politicians, they have noone to answer to but the people who brought them to power.
APF Extreme Rules: Billy Bush, Hillary Clinton VS Donald Trump and Alex Jones
I originally crafted this graphic to highlight the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, a year when voters were clamoring for an outsider. After Bernie was ousted, I tweaked it for my series of PPV posters hyping each debate. This was for the second showdown, on the heels of the lewd leaked video that seemed to be the elusive silver bullet to fell the Trump campaign.
They say "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger". After overcoming the gauntlet from the Left and the Right, Alex Jones and Donald Trump are incredibly powerful and by all accounts thus far - impervious.