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Assorted Wholesome Goodness
by Sam Halsall on 2002-09-27

Boy, the changes we've seen in this culture since the Billy & Chuck commitment ceremony! Homosexuals wring their hands in evil glee as impressionable children across the country declare their allegiance to the Queer Nation. Wrestling fans set aside their homophobia and embrace their gay brethren. Indeed, much like the sudden outbreak of "Irish" people on St. Patrick's Day, everyone seems to be just a little bit gay lately, all because of WWE.

Or not.

Actually, the whole thing sorta came and went without anyone really giving a shit. Well, okay, that's not completely true. GLAAD seemed surprised by the way it went down. Apparently, WWE told them it was going to be a serious ceremony, rather than the Charlie Fox it turned out to be.

I'm a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, while I hold most gay rights groups in the highest regard, GLAAD is an exception. Their constant war against freedom of expression makes me ill, most notably their attack against Mark Wahlberg in 1992. So anything that pisses them off makes me happy.

On the other hand, it would have been nice if WWE had actually had the balls to do what they said they would. Of course, it was not to be. A moderately intelligent child who had never seen a wrestling show before could have predicted that Billy and Chuck would turn out to be straight and/or get beaten to shit.

And don't even get me started on Eric Bischoff's HLA. This shock-for-shock's-sake material is so far beyond stupid it leads me to wonder if Vince Russo is back at the helm. And having the first two beaten up by Rosie and Jamal for no particular reason left a horrible taste in my mouth that hasn't quite gone away yet. And now WWE wants me to buy an HLA t-shirt? Christ, no.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

In his book Brain Droppings, comedian George Carlin writes: If you want to know how fucked up the people in this country are, just look at television. Not the programs, not the news. The commercials. Just watch only the commercials for about a week, and you'll see how fucked up the people in this country really are.

This certainly seems to hold true with wrestling programs. Smackdown in particular has hosted some legendarily stupid ads. From Pat Buchanan's thinly-veiled white-man-über-alles spots to Stacker 2's stunningly ill-conceived attacks against its own target market, they've all found a home on UPN.

The latest abomination against reason is a series of ads from The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, an American outfit which attempts to capitalize on post-9/11 hysteria by drawing tenuous links between drug use and terrorism. A recent outing showed a guy named Dan (no, not Titus) buying a joint from a chick at a nightclub, thus implicating him in the summary executions of a family in South America.

In the words of the immortal Count Floyd, "Pretty scary, eh keeds?"

What the NYADMC conveniently neglects to mention is that if these links do in fact exist, they do so only because drugs are illegal in the United States. You need look no further than Prohibition in the 1920s to see this truth in action. Alcohol became illegal, and organized crime immediately got very wealthy from its manufacture and sale while killing innumerable people in the process. Alcohol was made legal again in the early 30s, and the only alcohol-related deaths were suddenly being caused by the morons who drank it. Direct cause and effect.

The NYADMC's silence on this becomes very unsurprising indeed when you realize that the whole ad campaign is run by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, an organization with an obvious vested interest in keeping the Drug War going strong. Remember, a lot of people's jobs hinge on the idea that if we just fight hard enough, everyone will stop seeking escape from their day-to-day reality via drugs. But ironically, those same people would immediately be out of work should that day ever come.

(Since we are talking of vested interests, I will point out here that I do not use recreational drugs of any sort. I don't even smoke or drink. If not for my occasional consumption of iced tea, which contains caffeine, I would be considered straightedge. So I have no personal stake in the legality or illegality of drugs, save for my tax dollars being pissed away on a pointless, unwinnable war and a proliferation of armed cops with itchy trigger fingers.)

Note also that only drugs are an acceptable target for this sort of blanket-boycott advertising. Telling people not to purchase marijuana because you are supporting murders in South America is perfectly acceptable, it seems. But if you were to make an ad telling people not to buy Coca-Cola for precisely the same reason, UPN would refuse to run it on the grounds that it was "political". So would any other television network. As cartoonist Andy Singer has put it, "Urging people to consume is Nonpolitical. Urging people not to consume is Political."

The whole thing becomes particularly funny when the ads are shown on KSTW UPN 11, a station in the Tacoma-Seattle area. As I understand it, stoners in the Pacific Northwest don't get their weed from South America anyway, but from British Columbia (supposedly the home of the first or second best dope in the world, depending who you talk to). So this whole terrorism/drugs angle really seems to be a question of geography.

On the other hand (and perhaps hypocritically on my part), I love the anti-smoking ads from TheTruth.com. It just does my heart proud to see somebody fucking with big business, particularly tobacco companies. I sense a Michael Moore influence in their work.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Can someone please explain to me the logic behind sending a talented cruiserweight like The Hurricane to RAW, a program with no cruiserweight division? Granted, the team with Kane was inspired, and the two do seem to compliment each other's styles nicely, but think of the great matches we're now going to miss out on over on Smackdown.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

As Dan Titus mentioned already, the Digital Cable Box at my house is no more. Which means no more pay-per-views for the foreseeable future. And you know what? I'm not really disappointed.

I mean, even though I was taping all the damned things, I never really watched them again after the initial broadcast. And as it is, I have a library of some 150 wrestling videos and DVDs.

And the strangest thing of all? I don't watch nearly as much TV as I did when Jodie and I had the box. It seems I'm less likely to watch something that doesn't suck too much just because it's on if I don't know it's on in the first place. Which I don't, since I can't pull up complete listings for every minute of the next seven days with the push of a button any more.

If I discover afterwards that a particular PPV was especially awesome and a "must-see", I can always buy the DVD a couple of months later. If I want to get a bunch of friends together to hang out, we don't need to have a $30 show as background noise. Screw pay-per-view. My only regret is that I won't see Madison when she appears on NWA TNA. And you know what? I'm sure someone can hook me up with the tape if and when it happens. Screw digital cable.


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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "After a long hard thought about what I wanted to do, I realized retirement isn't what I wanted. Why would I give these knuckleheads the satisfaction of retirement when I can terrorize them ten fold in the ring.".
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