Professional Wrestling and the Media

Professional Wrestling and the Media by Jeff Thomas – International Man

As a boy, I was quite non-violent, but I confess to having been fascinated with professional wrestling. For one hour, every Saturday morning, I’d watch Yukon Eric, Haystack Calhoun and Killer Kowalski attack each other in the ring in what was called, “professional wrestling.”

Of course, even as a boy, it was evident that it was a sham. Some wrestlers played the role of angry bullies; others were practically cartoon characters. The threats each made to the other before the match, the silly outfits, the absurd holds and body slams – it was clearly phony.

And yet, each Saturday, my friends would say, “Okay, maybe some of it’s phony, but did you see that guy bleedin’? That was real!”

Were my friends as gullible as that? Well not by nature, possibly, but, if they’d accepted that televised wrestling were totally phony, it would have lost all its excitement. Viewers would grow bored with it and cease to watch it. And, of course, it was so compelling – seeing two tough guys dramatically fighting it out in the ring.

And, of course, there was the tension created, since the protagonists always seemed to have been fairly evenly matched. Some viewers rooted for one wrestler, some rooted for the other. Right until the end of the match, it remained uncertain which would win. Tension was maximized.

But, today, wrestling has been taken to another level. The outfits are more theatrical, the drama is greater and, best of all, pretty women have been introduced. In fact, some had previously been beauty pageant contestants. Somehow it seems that the prettier they are, the more likely they’ll be capable wrestlers.

But, as adults, we’ve matured and are no longer so easily taken in.

Today, as responsible adults, we turn off wrestling and watch network news.

When I was a boy, it was impossible to tell whether the reporter was a liberal or a conservative. They reported the news dryly and allowed the viewers to make up their own minds. But, sometime in the 80’s, this began to change. It became apparent that there were liberally-leaning networks and conservatively-leaning networks.

The news studios were more expansive and more expensive, with lots of coloured lights.

Each network now presents a panel to discuss issues. On a liberal network, three erudite liberals debate against one inept conservative, beating him easily, demonstrating that liberal views are superior. On a conservative network it’s much the same – three erudite conservatives making mincemeat out of a carefully-chosen inept liberal, demonstrating that conservative views are superior.

And, remember, at one time, all news reporters were experienced former field correspondents who were now middle-aged – dull, possibly, but very capable.

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