Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How Politics is like Professional Wrestling

No really, I'm serious. Over the July 4th weekend, I threw the DVD's for Survivor Series 1990, 1991, and 1992 into my DVD player as I considered potential topics for the blog this week. As I was sitting there watching the spastic (some might say drug induced) interviews of various wrestlers, I realized that politics has a lot in common with the world of professional rassling, even though one is given a position of utmost intrigue and media coverage within our society, while the other is widely viewed as carnie garbage that uncultured low brow people watch to take themselves away from their miserable lives. This is not a post about the politics of professional wrestling, which can be quite ugly in its’ own right as various wrestling websites and blogs have often shown, but rather the commonalities between professional wrestling and politics.

Within the American political system, there are two dominant groups: Democrats and Republicans. In pro wrestling, the two groups are the faces and heels, though like Democrats who are fiscally conservative or Republicans who are socially moderate, there are there are faces and heels who often play the tweener role. Furthermore as in politics, wrestling has their charismatic figures who are gifted with rhetoric in order to pump those sympathetic to their point of view. Even though political issues are of much greater substantive importance like gun control or debt relief, there are certain parallels between candidates for office describing each other as loony tunes and whack jobs and any crazed promo from Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, or any other eighties-early nineties wrestling star, pumping up the crowd for a big match.

Wrestling tries to divide and categorize its’ world into departments of good and evil. Politicians undertake similar tactics when they characterize their opponents as socialists and communists because they support certain economic policies, but never fear because if you vote for them they’ll end blah blah blah… Much of this talk is rhetorical bluster of course as most politicians have little problem getting along with members of the other party. Then there’s the bombastic announcing. In the political world these voices belong to the talking heads of the news media advocating their liberal or conservative viewpoints to the approval of fifty percent of the population. In wrestling, there are two commentators who either support the face or heel, while seemingly producing a plausible justification for their actions, while universally condemning the other side. Sounds a lot like politics to me.

1 comment:

  1. This is 100% right, and something I've thought for a long time. Nevertheless, you don't take it far enough by labeling who plays the various roles. In U.S. politics, the Republicans are the clear heels. Their primaries are like blood sports, employing every dirty trick in the book; they will say whatever they want, regardless of the factual accuracy of their claims; and they have cheerleaders (media personalities) providing commentary who will disregard or make excuses for their malfeasance, and blatantly attack their opposition.

    If you wanted to go further, you could even cast key figures as wrestling characters: Wolf Blitzer as Mean Gene (the clueless interviewer), Bill O'Reilly as Jesse Ventura, Rush Limbaugh as Bobby Heenan, Barack Obama as the Rock (who cuts better promos?), Mitt Romney as Ravishing Rick Rude, Colin Powell as the Undertaker (the most revered man around), and so on and so on...