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  1. #1
    Never Mind The Bollix
    Looper's Avatar
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    Fake Wrestling vs Pantomime Politics

    Fake tan, flowing blond locks, pantomime patriotism: Hulk Hogan or The Trumpster?

    Some interesting comparisons between fake wrestling and pantomime politics in this article

    Follow the broken ABC link at the bottom for the yootoob links that highlight the article

    Donald Trump's approach to US politics shares striking similarities with the world of professional wrestling

    Recording a radio report for ABC News this week, I could barely believe the words coming out of my mouth.

    More than 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

    About 40,000 new infections are still being detected every single day, a number that experts fear will soon dramatically spike, with 30 states showing rising case numbers coming into winter.

    All of that is stunning enough.

    But it was the next line that left me staring at the page I'd just typed.

    "Just last night, President Donald Trump severely downplayed the seriousness of the virus to thousands of supporters at an election rally."

    Trump: "It affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."

    This is a very difficult statement to get your head around.

    But it helps if you're a fan of professional wrestling.
    Hulk Hogan is not the only American who exudes self-confidence

    As a kid in the 80s, my hero was Hulk Hogan.

    Regularly draped in an American flag, he was the personification of national strength and honour.
    Hulk Hogan in a wrestling ring speaking on a microphone
    American patriotism was part of 80s wrestling hero Hulk Hogan's brand.(Reuters: Faisal al Nasser)

    His long golden locks flapping around his fake-tanned shoulders, he'd storm into the ring to the tune of I am a Real American, before ripping apart his trademark yellow Hulkamania singlet and throwing it into the screaming crowd.

    Then he'd bravely take apart the bad guys.

    It's part of what made me love America in the first place.

    Coming from Australia, where most people are more comfortable with self-deprecation than pride, I never could have imagined that there were real Americans like Hulk Hogan.
    Youtube YouTube: Hulk Hogan "Real American" PT 1 of 4

    But they're everywhere.

    Some describe it as national pride or patriotism. Others say it's American exceptionalism.

    For decades, that self-confidence has been a major part of what's made America great.

    In the era of coronavirus, that pride has become a deadly sin.

    Millions seem to prefer the freedom and levity that comes with the myth that America has handled the crisis well.

    And they're dying for it.
    A Trump rally and a wrestling match share a lot in common

    The first Trump rally I attended in early February in Iowa, I couldn't shake a feeling of familiarity.
    Supporters of Donald Trump at a rally
    Supporters lap up the pantomime of Donald Trump's campaign events.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

    I'd gone into the packed stadium with my guard up, having been told countless times it's not a comfortable place for journalists.

    But when I planted myself in the middle of the crowd to record a piece to camera I was almost overcome by folksy, cheerful sentiment.

    Eventually, microphone in hand, I had to politely ask my new friends to stop talking to me because I had to record something for the news.

    When the President came on stage and started mocking the "fake news" media, those same people turned to us and booed us at the top of their lungs.

    And this is when it struck me.

    The rally was just like the professional wrestling I'd watched as a kid. Only this time, I was playing the role of the villain.

    It wasn't just the all-American soundtrack, the dazzling lights, the stars and stripes and the fake tan that was familiar.

    It wasn't even the crude insults, the cheers and the boos.

    It was the pantomime of the whole thing.

    The fans get all riled up, cheer the good guy, boo the baddies and go back to their lives with a smile on their faces.
    Wrestling's evolution proved to be a blueprint for US politics

    In the late 90s, championship wrestling had a major resurgence.

    I was old enough to know better, but I got drawn back in.

    This time around, the star was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin a crude, working-class brute with a goatee beard who dispensed of his adversaries with a "Stone Cold Stunner" before skolling a beer and crushing the can on his head.

    It was the 90s and America was learning to love the anti-hero.

    Under CEO Vince McMahon, who happens to be a long-time associate of one Donald J Trump, professional wrestling had undergone an inspired marketing makeover.
    Donald Trump speaking to Vince McMahon
    Donald Trump and World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon have been close for decades.(Reuters: Brendan McDermid)

    McMahon branded the show as "sports entertainment", dropping any pretence that the matches were "real".

    Decades of derision about wrestling being fake simply dissolved.

    For millions of wrestling fans, like me, it was liberating.

    In a sense, the lie was easier to swallow than the other "real" sports, with their endless match-fixing and doping scandals.

    With wrestling, you could just watch the fakery as it was a kind of irreverent mash-up of cage-fighting and soap opera.

    It was just a modern-day circus.

    Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
    It's all about seeing the everyday man win

    McMahon's greatest master-stroke came when he cast himself at the centre of the show as a greedy, arrogant, suit-wearing CEO of the company who took advantage of the wrestlers in his employ.

    Inside the ring, the lines between truth and fiction were starting to converge.

    In the fictional storyline, the character McMahon was pitted against none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    Before thousands of booing fans, the character McMahon told Austin he didn't approve of his rebellious nature.

    Austin replied with a Stone Cold Stunner, knocking the CEO "unconscious".
    Youtube List This: "Stone Cold" gives Mr McMahon the Stunner

    It was perhaps the most entertaining "stick it to the man" moment in the history of television because it tapped into a deep-seated resentment that had been building since the "greed is good" days of the late 80s.

    Finally, the everyday man had won.

    The anti-corporate storyline went on for years and ironically helped make the real-world corporation countless millions of dollars.

    Real-world CEO Vince McMahon declared Steve Austin was the biggest star in the company's history, even surpassing Hulk Hogan in popularity.
    Donald Trump is no stranger to the pantomime

    In 2007, Donald Trump made his own explosive appearance in the wrestling ring.



    Headlined as Battle of the Billionaires, the night ended with Trump slamming McMahon with a cheap-shot, then (pretended to) beat him senseless before shaving the villainous CEO's head.
    Youtube Inside Edition: Watch Donald Trump Take Down WWE's Vince McMahon Back in 2007

    As Trump celebrated the victory, Steve Austin, who was acting as referee, caught him by surprise with a Stone Cold Stunner.

    The crowd erupted.

    Sure, Trump beat up the biggest, greediest corporate villain of all, but at the end of the day the working-class man was still the star of the show.
    What wrestling taught Trump about politics

    Today, Trump has become the suit-wearing Steve Austin of American politics.

    Despite his preference for Diet Coke over beer and helicopters over pick-up trucks, this Big Mac loving billionaire has successfully cast himself as an anti-hero for the working class, sticking it up the Washington elites at every opportunity.

    And the working class loves him for it.

    Just as McMahon did for professional wrestling, Trump also seems to have embraced the art of the pantomime.
    On an overcast day, you view Donald Trump standing on a stage in front of excited crowds behind him.
    US President Donald Trump has resumed regular rallies for his supporters, despite the coronavirus pandemic.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

    In July, The Washington Post tracked the President as making more than 20,000 false or misleading claims.

    But to many of his supporters, Trump's utterings are easier to swallow than the run-of-the-mill dishonesty sprouted by polished, stern-faced establishment politicians in order to get elected.

    As politics writer Matt Taibbi put it, in 2016:

    "[Trump] was every bit the liar the other politicians were, but lacked the pretence of truth-telling."

    Just like McMahon's brand of professional wrestling, Trump's falsehoods were out in the open.

    Taibbi even claims the establishment politics version of lying is "probably more destructive as it strikes directly at public faith in the system."
    Still, there are some truths that cut through the noise

    Described by Trump's former campaign advisor Steve Bannon as "flooding the zone with shit", the stream of misleading claims is distorting the reality we live in.

    It's as if everyone in America has been forced into the wrestling arena, unwitting players in a nationwide pantomime.

    When the President suggests he'll serve another four years and another four after that, in direct contravention of the constitution, his supporters laugh it off as a joke aimed at riling up liberals.

    When he refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the case of defeat, as he did this week, his backers in Congress rush in to assure us everything will be fine, claiming the media is over-reacting.
    Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
    President Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power

    I really hope we are.

    Still there are some truths that cut through the noise, no matter what the President says.

    More than 200,000 Americans are dead and millions more have been affected by COVID-19.

    https://www.abc. net.au/news/2020-09-25/trump-turns-us-election-into-fight-he-can-win/12698506

  2. #2
    Your local I.Q. Monitor
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    Quite a good piece and a great analogy that many americans have swallowed hook line and sinker. In fairness to them, they have watched the erosion of living standards and the the increasing wealth gap for years in the USA. A rampant form of capitalism that has been softened by more socialist type policies in other western democracies.
    A millionaire promising to "drain the swamp" is akin to the crocodile telling the frog the swamp will be safer with more crocodiles.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    I don’t understand how a rich, spoiled brat managed to trick the folk into believing he is a working class hero.

  4. #4
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    A rampant form of capitalism that has been softened by more socialist type policies in other western democracies.
    The US ranks dead last in rising affluence among western democracies, yet this belief that anyone can become president and/or become a millionaire still sticks in peoples' minds.

    I'd disagree wit 'socialist' ideas, though, they are social, it needn't be political dogma.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    I don’t understand how a rich, spoiled brat managed to trick the folk into believing he is a working class hero.
    Weak-minded people like a bully, especially a bully who purportedly speaks for them and wanks over and over about nationalistic slogans. Look at other big bullies that did the same; Hitler, Mussolini, the British Monarchy (any monarchy?) . . . these are people/institutions that millions gave their lives for.

    He's coarse. They are and like coarse
    He's simple and his messages are simple. They like simple messages and like people who speak in simple terms.
    He's a 'success' story and he's rich. They like people who have 'become' rich.

    He's perfectly made to lead the great unwashed masses
    Last edited by panama hat; 26-09-2020 at 06:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    It's quite ironic that the kind of people that like fake wrestling are the same ones that call the truth "fake news".

  6. #6
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    How is that ironic?

    Because these people should appreciate the same qualities wrestling has...in their news?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    I don’t understand how a rich, spoiled brat managed to trick the folk into believing he is a working class hero.
    Have a look at the Rolling Stones concert sized crowds at these wrestling shows put on by a cast of well rehearsed actors who put their show on in front of a baying crowd (who very likely own a pick-up and multiple firearms) that think its real, your answer lays within.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    How is that ironic?

    Because these people should appreciate the same qualities wrestling has...in their news?
    You do realize they think the wrestling is real right?

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    Never underestimate the base appeal that someone like Trump can have over a massive slice of the population. Like pro wrestling, or other forms of entertainment the lower you aim the better, and more successful you become. I'm surprised Jerry Springer or Simon Cowell haven't found their way into politics yet.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart View Post
    I'm surprised Jerry Springer or Simon Cowell haven't found their way into politics yet.
    Jerry Springer was Mayor of Cincinnati before he got his show.

  11. #11
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    The article is spot on but it is nothing I didn't already know. It is why there are two Americas one lives in an archipelago of coasts cities and suburbs on the two coast. The other lives everywhere else and happens to be irredeemable and basically they have become one giant cult most of them don't travel, barely read, shop at Walmart and think that the Olive Garden is a fancy restraint. They eat up pro rastlin and love the orange moron.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looper View Post
    Coming from Australia, where most people are more comfortable with self-deprecation than pride, I never could have imagined that there were real Americans like Hulk Hogan.
    In Australia such people are known as 'dickheads', 'fuckwits' or 'muppets' because they are 'up themselves' and think that 'their shit doesn't stink' because 'the sun shines out of their arse'.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat raycarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pickel View Post
    You do realize they think the wrestling is real right?
    you can add this to the ever growing list of things you're completely wrong about.

    the overwhelming majority of adult professional wrestling fans know it's scripted entertainment......just like they know trump lies.

    they know and they don't care.
    Last edited by raycarey; 26-09-2020 at 12:17 PM. Reason: added 'adult'

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raycarey View Post
    you can add this to the ever growing list of things you're completely wrong about.

    the overwhelming majority of adult professional wrestling fans know it's scripted entertainment......just like they know trump lies.

    they know and they don't care.

    it says so too, right in the OP/article that he obviously didn’t read.

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