Tending the Bigger Tree
Hello, my intended…
Exactly sixteen years ago, I gave an explanation about why racism angles were a terrible idea and should be avoided at all costs. At the time, Booker T was locking horns with Triple H heading into Wrestlemania and Triple H was explaining at length that ‘people like Booker’ not only did not deserve the top spots, but were lucky to be allowed to have ANY spots at all. Booker, naturally, took exception to this and on the road to Wrestlemania got the better of Levesque by way of a surprise attack in the arena bathroom. Ric Flair, while picking HHH up off the floor, said words to the effect of, “I thought you said guys like him couldn’t do this sort of thing.”
“Nobody told Booker that,” Levesque replied morosely. As this was the week or so before Wrestlemania, HHH rightly realized that if ‘people like Booker’ posed zero threat, then defeating ‘people like Booker’ provided zero accomplishment. Even so, during that particular Wrestlemania (XIX if you’re curious), each of the higher level matches was decided by no less than three finishers – except for one. Yes, the Rock had to use three Rock Bottoms to defeat Steve Austin; Brock Lesnar had to use three F-5s to defeat Kurt Angle; and it even took three Big Legdrops from Hulk Hogan to beat Vince McMahon…
But HHH vs. Booker T? One Pedigree was all it took to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
So you can probably understand why I’m really disappointed that they’re drawing from this poisoned well again. The “Let’s Fuck Over the Colored Guy” thing is, I understand, something that Vince finds fucking hilarious. Why else would he do it so goddamned much? I’ve only been following wrestling since the mid-seventies or so, but I don’t recall seeing black folks – or anyone much darker than fresh pine lumber – being anything more than either a comedy/minstrel act nobody should take seriously, or a hood/jungle act if they were supposed to be legit. You know, because the scary darkies are from the jungle or the hood. Everyone knows THAT.
That hasn’t changed much since the northeast territory went national; but let’s check it to make sure. Do note that these are listed in no particular order and are by no means a complete list. My memory is still pretty good, but as the fibromyalgia progresses it does take a toll on the ol’ noodle. Feel free to chime in if I’ve forgotten anyone, or if I’ve made you remember anyone you wished you’d forgotten… Double-edged swords and shit, right?
Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas (Soul Patrol) Hood Tag Team.
Afa & Sika (Wild Samoans) Jungle Tag Team
Kamala – Jungle Monster Heel
Superfly Jimmy Snuka – Jungle Babyface
Tonga Kid – Jungle Babyface
Junk Yard Dog – Comedy Babyface
S.D.Jones – Comedy Jobber
Koko B. Ware – Jungle Comedy Babyface
Tatanka – Comedy Babyface
Tito ‘El Matador’ Santana – Comedy Babyface
Tony ‘Saba Simba’ Atlas – Comedy Babyface
Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat – Comedy Babyface
Bad News Brown – Hood Monster Heel
Slick, the Doctor of Style – Comedy Valet
Papa Shango – Jungle Heel
Men on a Mission – Comedy Hood Tag Team
Haku – Jungle Monster Heel
Zeus – Hood Monster Heel
Flash Funk – Comedy Hood Babyface
Farooq Asad – Comedy Babyface (Ron Simmons in a Styofoam Helmet)
Nation of Domination – Hood Stable
Los Boricuas – Hood Stable
Ahmed Johnson – Hood Monster Heel
Farooq – Hood Heel
Rocky Maivia – Comedy Babyface
The Rock – Hood Babyface
The Godfather – Hood Babyface
Viscera – Hood Monster Heel
D-Lo Brown – Hood Heel
Kaientai – Comedy Stable
Booker T – Comedy Heel (Incompetent WCW)
Tazz – Comedy Heel (Incompetent ECW)
World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry – Hood Monster Heel
Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry – Comedy Babyface
King Booker – Comedy Wrestler (Heel and/or Face)
Three Minute Warning – Hood Heel Team
Umaga – Jungle Monster Heel
Bobby Lashley – Hood Babyface (1st Run)
Rosie the Super Hero In Training – Comedy Babyface
Cryme Tyme – Comedy Babyface Tag Team
Titus O’Neil – Comedy Jobber
R-Truth – Comedy Hood Babyface
Shelton Benjamin – Hood Jobber
Bobby Lashley – Hood Monster Heel (2nd Run)
The New Day – Comedy Babyface Stable
The Usos – Comedy Jungle Team
Lucha House Party – Comedy Jobber Stable
Apollo Crews – Comedy Jobber
No Way Jose – Comedy Jobber
Lio Rush – Comedy Valet
Akeem the African Dream – Fat White Man from South Carolina
Razor Ramon – White Man from Maryland
Wow, you can almost detect a pattern or something. Now, this brings us neatly to the current ‘plotline’ with Kofi Kingston. Young black man fights and claws his way over the long years up to the top; or more accurately, as close to the top as ‘people like him’ are allowed to get. He battles through obstacle after obstacle, defeating almost insurmountable odds. The fans get behind him, rooting hard for the plucky youngster fighting to achieve his dreams in the face of setback after setback – believing that he will persevere and triumph.
Then the white guys fuck him over. AGAIN. Ha-ha, thought you had something there, didn’t you?
I will paraphrase Jim Cornette here by saying, “If you’re doing a rib that you’re GONNA do something, then you’re supposed to NOT do it, you dumb motherfucker!”
Let us for a moment examine the squad employed against Kofi Kingston these last few runs of Kickaniggaround, shall we? AJ Styles, Rowan, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, and Cesaro. We also saw Vince had schmozzed Kofi by telling him he was making the Kevin Owens versus Daniel Bryan match a Triple Threat – but not putting Kofi in it – instead having Sheamus and Cesaro go 2-on-1 against Kingston at Fastlane, a match they won using the finisher called, I shit you not, White Noise.
Yeah. I like subtlety, too.
So, setting aside Samoa Joe, that’s a lot of white folks kicking around one black guy at the orders of one old, avowed, piece of shit bigot, wouldn’t you agree? Even assuming it’s a ‘work’ which at best would only suggest the white guys beating the shit out of the black guy aren’t enjoying themselves doing it; and let’s not even get started at what it looks like at worst.
Ooops, looks like I already have.
Folks, allow me to explain something. Many years ago, I saw Redd Foxx’s “Video in a Plain Brown Wrapper”. I’ve been a long time fan of Mr.Foxx, and one of his jokes has always stuck with me.
“People always asked me, “Why’d you marry outside of your race?”
I tell them, “The fuck did I marry, a DUCK? I married a WOMAN from the HUMAN race.”
There are hundreds of different breeds of dogs, but they are all dogs. They are all categorized by the same scientific term, that being canis lupus familiaris. Likewise, there are hundreds of different breeds of cats, but they are all cats and categorized by the same scientific term, being felis catus domesticus. Finally, although there are many different ethnicities of human, we are all classified as homo sapiens. We’ve all of us got the same two lungs, heart, brain, bones, eyes, ears, and all the rest of that biological falderall – the only difference being the package it comes in. These are extant truths.
Yet these truths are often denied, aren’t they? In this age of enlightenment, where gathered knowledge that would beggar the imaginations of the scholars of ancient Alexandria is at the fingertips of nearly every person, facts that were plain in even those backward times are suddenly in dispute. While wise Eratosthenes calculated that the earth was round in 240 B.C., Logan Paul and other ‘luminaries’ on Youtube and elsewhere are collecting thousands of dollars selling people the idea that there’s a sinister conspiracy keeping ‘the truth’ that the world is actually flat hidden away. Still others sell ever viler ‘theories’, calling into question established facts regarding matters of vaccination, astrophysics, and yes, even race.
So we’re clear, there are people that are knowingly telling people the exact opposite of what is the truth for their own crass benefit. When it’s someting small and harmless, for instance, that the doctors on TV aren’t real doctors – or the guys in the wrestling ring aren’t really trying to kill each other – we can accept it as the magic of entertainment and play along, being entertained. On the other hand, when it’s something else, say, “They’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” or “They are often the kinds of kids that are called Superpredators. No conscience, no empathy.” well, it makes you wonder what the fuck they’re selling, doesn’t it?
I understand bigotry, having been on the receiving end of it for most of my life. People flat out exhort that unless someone looks a whole bunch like they do, they don’t deserve to be treated as they themselves should be, period. It’s willful ignorance, rejecting plain truth. Fact is, I pity folks stupid enough to believe that there’s different races of human, much moreso those that happen to believe they belong to the only ‘good’ one. Ah, this reminds me of Voltaire. “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” We’ve only to observe the evening news to see this is so, although I’m told there are still ‘some very fine people’ among these school shooters and church bombers. I know better than to believe such nonsense. Other folks are easier to lead astray, unfortunately. Funny thing is, that all it amounts to in the end is fear. Fear can make you do some stupid shit. Fear can make some ridiculous nonsense sound reasonable, too, and you can bet your ass they get told some ridiculous nonsense. They get told that ‘those people’ are threatening their way of life. That ‘those people’ are going to destroy everything they hold near and dear. That ‘those people’ are going to replace them; supplant them. That ‘those people’ are going to steal everything that they’ve worked their whole lives for, and leave them with nothing.
Funnier still, the people that are telling them this are the ones that are really doing the shit to them.
So I see this playing out, again, in the ol’ grap game. The rich old white guy has gotten the young white guys to dogpile on the little black guy, because he’s told them that the little black guy wants to take what they’ve got – and they’d better stop him before he does. Then the old rich white guy sits his fat leather ass back in his fat leather chair and watches the fun from a safe distance. Maybe he rubs one out onto that big expensive desk, if he can still stiffen up that old genetic jackhammer. You can probably understand that this isn’t much of a show for anyone else, but the rich old white guys don’t care about anyone else. Never did. Never will.
Back in the days of Vince’s dad, when it was the WWWF, there was a wrestler in the locker room for everybody in the audience. Everybody got someone to root for, from Ivan Putski the Polish Hammer to Bruno Sammartino and beyond. Hell, Hulk Hogan was brought in to tap into the IRISH market, originally. You CAN use ethnic pride to draw money, because Vince’s dad was doing it for fucking YEARS. The important part was, you kept the wins and losses close to even. If you jobbed any one segment of the audience’s pride and joy out too much, you’d find they’d stop buying tickets to see him. Junior, though, he’s going about it all wrong, and even decades later he still can’t get it right. I’m probably showing my age more than usual, but there was a movie called Requiem for a Heavyweight starring Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason, where an old boxer and his manager hit the skids after the boxer gets beat up to the point he’s no good in the boxing game anymore. He eventually ends up in the wrestling biz, under an Indian Chief gimmick. Originally, he’s told he’s going to lose his first fight in the wrestling ring, which he objects to, since “He’s never thrown a fight in his life.” It’s quickly explained to him that the way it works in wrestling is different. “Sometimes YOU win. Sometimes the other guy wins. Relax. It don’t mean nothin’.” He’s reluctant, but since his manager is in deep debt to some hardcases, he’s forced to go along with it out of loyalty.
That’s the part they haven’t picked up in all these years. Sometimes, the other guy is supposed to win. They’ve ruined so many easy money angles by simply not letting the other guys win, and we’ve got most of them tattooed on our brains as wrestling fans. We know it’s not supposed to mean anything, because we know these guys don’t really want to kill each other; just like we know Robert Downey Junior isn’t gonna be fighting Josh Brolin come April 26th. We’re not fucking STUPID. But if someone wrote the show out like they believed it really DID mean something, they’d have to be some stupid money marks that’d make Dixie Carter look like Sam Muchnick in comparison, wouldn’t you agree?
What do we have them writing, exactly? The boss’s son wants to show he’s so, so tough that he can beat up a guy that gets paid by his dad to get beat up by whoever he’s told to get beat up by. We got the guy that married the boss’s daughter wanting to show HE’s so, so tough that he can still beat up guys that get paid by his father-in-law to get beat up by whoever they’re told to get beat up by. We got the old, white boss showing us HE’S so, so powerful that he can make people that don’t technically work for him fuck themselves and each other up for his entertainment, if nobody else’s. While the venues get smaller and smaller, and the crowds get thinner and thinner. You can only drink from a poisoned well for so long before it fucking kills you, as the poor souls in Flint, Michigan could easily tell you.
Well, those that are still alive, anyway…
You’re welcome. See you SOON.