It’s not the CNN-bashing; it’s the pro ‘wrestling’ thing

I don’t know about y’all, but I took off Monday and had a lot to do over the long weekend, so I more or less disconnected from the madness, aside from an occasional Tweet.

So I was just barely aware of the Trump tweet that pushed out memories of his Morning Joe childishness last week:

It is now, by the way, his most reTweeted post ever. So you think he’s going to stop doing stuff like this? Not likely.

But here’s the thing for me: Of course, of course, this embarrassment provides further proof — as if anyone needed it — of Donald J. Trump’s utter and complete unfitness for the job he defiles each day he holds it.

But it’s not because it shows him cartoonishly beating on CNN. There’s nothing new about that sort of anti-media demagoguery, or about Trump inciting violence, or about Trump-affiliated politicians actually committing violence against the press.

What this does for me is forcefully remind us that we have a president of the United States who is in the professional wrestling Hall of Fame — and is not even slightly embarrassed by that fact.

Trump Tweeting out a clip that reminds us of his affiliation with pro “wrestling” — something anyone with any sort of position of responsibility would want to bury — is like… it’s as if George W. Bush had Tweeted old video of himself on a bender before he sobered up and started demonstrating the kind of seriousness that used to be a prerequisite for the office.

The Tweet says, How low has America sunk? This low…

All hail President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho!


18 thoughts on “It’s not the CNN-bashing; it’s the pro ‘wrestling’ thing

  1. Harry Harris

    I’ve been on a few pro “wrestling” rants over the years. I was a high school and college wrestler during the 1960’s, and had a disdain for the stuff for a long time because it’s not only fake, but insultingly so. I re,ember telling a workshop full of SC science teachers that I had figured out the biggest reason US students score so badly on international science assessments. In any country where a significant number of adults believe pro wrestling is real, we don’t have the mindset for scientific thinking. And if you live in a region where those folks are over-represented, you’ve got a serious problem teaching science.
    Starting in the latest few decades, I began to see pro-wrestling as not only nonsense, but harmful to the public at large and to youth. We allow youth to be entertained by spectacles that are saturated with disrespect – for people and rules, glorifying of rudeness, outrageous (fake) cruelty, and referees that appear too stupid to have survived to adulthood. Getting away with something, even by the heroes is looked upon favorably. Pro wrestling glorifies the worst of what we’ve become as a society – and it’s staged. It appeals to the worst in its viewers. The “sport” itself is built on deception and lying. and the purveyors hedge when publicly confronted with its fakery. They remind me of the tobacco companies or a certain politician today who simply doubles down or attacks when caught lying. It’s a shameful promotion of a crude, crude approach to life. Rant paused.

    1. Claus2

      I seriously doubt a lot of serious science folks over the age of 16 believe professional wrestling is real, if I go to a school like MIT, how many of them are going to argue that WWE is real and not entertainment? Now if I go to a local bar in Redbank where you have a bunch of high school dropouts who want to argue Ford vs. Chevy all night long I would expect to find the opposite. For that matter look at the NBA, how much of that is “basketball”? It’s closer to the Harlem Globetrotters than it is James Naismith.

        1. Richard

          My take on Claus’s statement is the WWE is the NBA as high school wrestling is to James Naismith. Meaning both the WWE and NBA are nothing like the origins of the sport. Apparently is a racist statement to Brad.

          I don’t recall a lot of black guys in the WWE, but it’s been years since I’ve watched professional wrestling. The last I watched I believe Minnesota’s former governor was still wrestling.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Harry, as a high school wrestler myself — not a distinguished one, but I did make the team — I share your disgust for this spectacle.

      But even when you say it’s not a sport, but entertainment, you’re left with the fact that it is such a base, stupid form of entertainment.

      How can people get into that stuff? It’s fun to joke around about (for instance, I’ll scoff at the Ric Flair fans around here and insist that Jerry Lawler was the King), but to spend any appreciable time watching it?

      It was reality TV before there was reality TV. Same intellectual level.

      But I especially like what you say about everything that pro “wrestling” glorifies — “a shameful promotion of a crude, crude approach to life” — essentially, it’s all about the way Donald Trump lives his actual life…

      1. bud

        Brad, you and Harry are being way too judgemental here. Pro wrestling is not my thing but it’s no more dangerous than something like Game of Thrones or worst of all Mad Men. The constant display of fake cigarette smoking can only create an environment that glorifies this dangerous drug. And let’s not mince words tobacco is a dangerous drug. I suggest a bit of open mindedness toward others entertainment choices would serve us well. (At least I didn’t use the word condescending)

        1. Scout

          I disagree. I don’t think there is any comparison between pro wrestling and shows like Game of Thrones and Mad Men.

          I think Harry summed it up best here: “We allow youth to be entertained by spectacles that are saturated with disrespect – for people and rules, glorifying of rudeness, outrageous (fake) cruelty, and referees that appear too stupid to have survived to adulthood. ”

          Irresponsible behavior shown in programs like Game of Thrones and Mad Men makes sense and has it’s own intrinsic purpose within the contexts of the show. That doesn’t mean it’s great, just that there is a way to understand it that doesn’t glorify stupidity for it’s own sake. What is the context of Pro Wrestling? It is presented as modern day real life. So we are asked to believe that this would be an acceptable way to behave in modern day real life? For Trump, apparently it is. I personally see no reason to glorify disrespect, rudeness, and cruelty.

          I think the tweet is most problematic to me for the following reason. Abhorrent though it is already that this behavior is acceptable within the contrived context of pro wrestling, the tweet takes it a step further. Trump is not in the ring and is wearing a business suit. He physically tackles someone, also not in the ring, who is apparently representing an entity that has been critical of him. So what are we supposed to think? That it is acceptable for people in street clothes to use pro wrestling tactics to resolve their differences with people in the real world who have been critical of them?

          It’s bad enough that our attempts at discourse have become so uncivil, but apparently now all pretense at resolving differences verbally is thrown out the window.

          It’s not new that there are people in the world with this attitude. It’s new that our President is one of them.

          That’s just great. Thanks Donald.

        2. Harry Harris

          I make moral and behavioral judgments all of the time. I constantly judge choices that I make and that others make. I hope for the kind of compassion needed to not consider cigarette smoking to be a sign of a character flaw, but I have to fight the urge to do so. As far as the pro wrestling form of entertainment, I consider it to be dangerous for the reasons I stated. I don’t advocate banning it, but “uncondoning” and publicly critiquing its detrimental aspects (the cheating, lack of respect for people and rules, rudeness, and crude behavior). I’m not about to condescend – I’ll try to stay on what I consider higher ground and state my case. I also object to the boorish bragging, poor sportsmanship, and trash talking rampant in many other sports I consider legit. I make no apologies for that, but try to understand the motivation of athletes (or fans) who engage in it. I’m a 69 year old Boy Scout who isn’t better than anyone, but I know what I think our society should strive for. Violence and disrespect for laws, rules, and people don’t fit those goals.

          1. Richard

            ” I’m a 69 year old Boy Scout who isn’t better than anyone,”

            Yet you admit to constantly judging others.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Probably not as much as I do, as my wife frequently reminds me.

              My only excuse is that my profession demanded it of me. I read everything critically, especially after moving from news to editorial. Everything I read was something I had to make a judgment about: Is this right; is this wrong? If it’s wrong, what can be done to fix it? (I became hypercritical of news stories that failed to give me sufficient information to reach a conclusion.)

              But even before that, from the time I was 22 and fresh out of college, I was an editor making judgments. Filling finite space in the paper, I would have to decide, “Is this story better than that one?” “Is this worth the front page? Why? (The why was essential, because I would have to explain and justify my judgments to others.)”

              As a supervisor, I critically read every word my writers wrote, challenging and assessing assertions of fact, and everything about the way those facts were related.

              It was a reflex, something as automatic as breathing: Does this measure up, or not? And why or why not?

              And it extends to people. I believe, of course, that all people have moral worth. But their ideas, or lack thereof, have no such automatic value. They must be assessed. And I have no qualms about assessing the quality of their decision-making, or their qualifications for a given office.

              I don’t suppose I’ll ever be able to turn it off…

          2. bud

            Violence and disrespect for rule, laws and people could pretty much describe any show on tv today. Not sure singling out one specific manifestation of those entertainment elements as somehow different from other manifestations is constructive.

            1. Harry Harris

              I don’t dislike only the pro wrestling show. Many are pretty crappy. I wouldn’t say, though, that most shows fit that negative frame. Besides, the widespread existence of negative influences doesn’t make them not negative – “everybody’s doing it” never holds much weight in an argument with me. Besides, I can’t criticize but one thing at a time (without being overly general).

  2. Bart Rogers

    The irony of it all, Trump had nothing to do with the video. His only involvement was to re-Tweet it. No one bothered to verify the source, all they saw was the video with Trump in it and automatically made the assumption he was responsible for it. But when one displays the behavior he does, then making the connection would be a Pavlov-like reaction.

    For anyone missing the point of the bothersome and potentially dangerous behavior of Trump, consider the reaction to the video and Trump being responsible was automatic. At some point, just like the recent shooter going over the top because of our political atmosphere, someone else will lose their “stuff” and go off the deep end and it may end up with even worse consequences.

    Up to a point I get the meme about Trump “telling it like it is” but sometimes “telling it like it is” ends up with consequences not considered or accounted for.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, I don’t think anybody thought Trump himself had the skills to create something like that, crude as it was. (I couldn’t do it without some coaching, and I’m pretty sure, based on what we’ve seen, that my ability to edit images and video exceed his.) It was pretty obvious someone else did it, which is why from the first reports I saw about it, people were wondering who he got it from…

      Of course, he embraced and reTweeted it, so he bears responsibility, if one can put the concepts of “Trump” and “responsibility” in the same room.

      No, reTweets do not automatically mean approval, but y’all know this guy: If he’s disapproving of something, he’ll make that clear, or as clear as his limited language skills will allow…

      1. Richard

        You should read the backlash on CNN regarding the threat they sent the person who created the video. Let’s just say there are a lot of CNN employees bent out of shape over what happened next.


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