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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/23/14

The Wrestlerization of America

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Wild Bull Curry had eyebrows like Frida Kahlo's on steroids. My father loved wrestling. I liked it too. I would torment my little sisters with head locks and my buddy and I would practice theatrical piledrivers. My Dad took me to wrestling matches at the Houston Coliseum many times throughout my childhood. Lou Thesz was my Father's favorite wrestler. I vividly remember a 1966 or 67 match between Wild Bull and Thesz.

On that particular Saturday afternoon: Wild Bull Curry got thrown out of the ring by Thesz. Thesz came bounding over the ropes only to be laid waste by a metal folding chair, brutally wielded by, the ever-mugging crowd pleaser, Curry. Blood spurted, the crowed roared, an elderly woman ringside rushed Wild Bull, pummeling him with her purse. My Dad stood and shook his fist at Wild Bull. The kid next to me aped his Dad and screamed squeakily at Curry, "Go back under your rock, you bum!" More blood spurted as Thesz took the chair away from Wild Bull, knocking him to the floor with multiple blows to the head and back...

Then, I noticed Thesz drop something from his meaty hand, a small package of some sort, then I noticed more of these packages littering the floor around the growling, bleeding wrestlers. They looked familiar, but what did they look like? The crowd was going wild as Thesz picked up Wild Bull and tossed him over the ropes, back into the ring. A middle age man in a sport coat lunged at Thesz and was restrained by two of the Houston Police officers posted around the ring.

Ketchup, the little packages looked like the ketchup packages from Prince's hamburger joint -- that wasn't real blood down there. I remember tugging on my Father's sleeve, pointing out the obvious fake sanguinary packets. My Dad would have none of it -- he loved everything about wrestling, especially the fake Blood.

He had been going to wrestling matches since he was a young boy. His family's housekeeper would take him on Saturday afternoons. She loved wrestling and gave him his love of the ridiculous pageant. I think the beginning of our later battles started at that wrestling match where I saw Lou Thesz drop the little package from his meaty hand. I never really enjoyed wrestling after that -- it wasn't real. I remember going to, probably my last match between Killer Kowalski and Fritz Von Eric, or maybe Ernie Ladd, and ignoring the mayhem, thinking about my pals building a fort or having a water balloon fight. We never went again.

Wrestling has become an even wilder, ever-burgeoning, fantastic violence pageant. I have watched some recently with my brother-in-law and guiltily kind of enjoyed it for its fantasy, soap opera kinda of jiggy. It's a very popular part of our popular culture and that's ok, I guess. However other parts of our popular culture have taken cues from wrestling and we are now experiencing the Wrestlerization of America.

We have reality shows that aren't real, we have a news channel (Fox News) that's not real, we have cultural and political Svengalis that aren't real (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity et al.), we have political candidates that aren't real (Sara Palin and Rick Perry, etc.), we have intellectuals that aren't real (Dinesh D'souza, etc.), we have celebrities that aren't real (the Kardashian Clan), we have museums that aren't real (Creation Museum), we have athletes that aren't real (Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens, et al.), we have historians that aren't real (David Barton, etc.), we have movies that aren't movies, just badly written, badly directed amalgams of digital bologna (I haven't been compelled to make the trip to a theatre in three years) we have food (GMO's) that's aren't real, we have human beings that aren't real (Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh et al.) and now, being made evident by the recent tragedy -- car racing is not really car racing anymore, it has become a form of automotive wrestling and as spotlighted by what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, the police are not police (peace officers) anymore, they are a militarized, aggressively empowered domestic shock force with a mandate to control American citizens, so -- the police are not police anymore -- they're a paramilitary in a war against their own countrymen.

I believe that the car racing thing and the police thing are directly related to Wild Bull Curry and his success as an entertaining wrestler -- they very effectively pretend to be representative of the definition of what they represent. However, the packets of fake blood litter the landscape.

Tony Stewart, the poor young man he accidentally killed and Ferguson are victims of the Wrestlerization of America. I guess, like all of those wrestling fans I sat with as a young boy, we Americans can just continue to sit ringside cheering or booing the villain, but that's not really fake blood down there anymore.

(Article changed on August 23, 2014 at 12:28)

(Article changed on August 23, 2014 at 12:30)

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Kevin is an Artist, Writer, Carpenter and Gallerist in Texas.

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