Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How Professional Wrestling Explains American Politics

I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling for a long time. It helps that the first wrestling boom that leaked over into the mainstream culture came about right around my pre-teen years in the mid-1980s. That was the era of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Macho Man Savage, and tons of others.

Wrestling is the kind of thing you go in-and-out on, it's a male-targeted soap opera that isn’t hard to pick up even if you stop watching for years. I again found wrestling in my early 20s, that is, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, around the time of what is now called “The Attitude Era,” when WWE Wrestling — the dominant brand in the business — decided to produce hard-edged “extreme” stories and characters.

So I’m something of a connoisseur of wrestling’s rhythms, archetypes, tropes, presentation methods, and overall milieu.

What is amazing is that politics follows tons of these same rhythms. Often I’ve been able to figure out just where a political moment is heading because I’ve seen almost exactly the same move before, only instead of it being executed by Stone Cold Steve Austin, the provocateur was Senator Harry Reid.

So, let’s explore just how the squared circle of wrestling just might be the hidden key behind American politics.
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