I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor. – King George III of England
The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. – Karl Marx
We were stoking the fires and oiling up the machinery, until the gods found out we had ideas of our own. – Don Henley, “The Garden Of Allah”
Connect the dots and apply to wrestling, and you’ll see where I’m coming from.
THE PIMP SECTION
Letawsky has a very full mailbag, so let him clear it out a little first before inundating him with stuff. In fact, someone even wrote him to Ask 411 why I hated Flex. Either that or he wanted to know too. Well, my answer didn’t make this column, but maybe the next will feature it.
Nason. Fight Club. The Return. Enough said. Ditto the Indy Update.
Unca Ed is the only person with a busier work schedule than mine. Well, better late than never with Byte This.
SO WHAT CAN I DO WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A LIVE SMACKDOWN?
Make some comments on news in the little given time I have available, of course. Specifically on one story, the ratings. It’s Yet Another Eric Ratings-Related Rant, so skip over it if you’ve heard this before…
Yes, the ratings dropped from a 4.7 last week to a 4.5 this week. This is no surprise. They’re just repeating the pattern with the NWO that happened with Flex’s return and Flair’s return: one-week or two-week pop in ratings, then back to a 4.0. Ratings may be a little higher than that for the next couple weeks due to WM, but it’s going to be no surprise if they’re back to that 4.0 level before Backlash. Remember, last year, the WWF lost 20% of its audience in the six weeks after WM. The loss this year will be less, but they’re starting from a lower point.
The Torch brought up a good point (for once). This 4.5 is identical to last year’s rating this week, but remember that Nitro was still on at the time and pulled a 2.0. In effect, the total Monday night wrestling audience has dropped by 30% from last year. I don’t think that most of that 2.0 was comprised of people who said “I watch WCW or nothing at all”, especially given the fact that they stuck around when Russo was turning WCW into WWF Lite. That means that the burden of responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the WWF for not providing television compelling enough to grab and hold the WCW audience. It’s the same problem they have with their ratings now. Something gets reintroduced every few months, the ratings pop for a week or two, then it’s back to normal. So who gets the blame for this? The finger is pointing in the obvious direction, right at her overinflated yabbos.
The supplementary question to this is why we, the Internet Wrestling Community, react in the same way to these Major Events that casual fans do. Yes, we do share the fact that we’re wrestling fans in common with them. However, we have at our fingertips the greatest collection of information on wrestling and the business of wrestling ever created. How is it that we haven’t developed an institutional memory for these situations? Why have we, the fans, decided to treat wrestling as a series of quantum events rather than a continuum? Why are we so shocked each time the casual audience doesn’t stick around after those one-week or two-week pops? Why is wrestling apparently immune to valid forms of criticism that are used with other forms of entertainment, from literature to soap operas? Do columnists really have a need to “prove themselves” to be marks for fear of alienating people whose self-esteem is so low that they feel victimized when someone points that fact out to them?
I’ve been a person who’s been saying for a long time now that wrestling needs to evolve and mature in order to retain that casual audience. There’s another thing that needs to evolve and mature as well, and that’s the way in which serious fans start watching wrestling. The mentality of “it’s only wrestling” has to be abandoned. We have to develop this sense of institutional memory. It’s the only way that accountability for errors of judgement like the ones the WWF has been committing on a regular basis for the last year (ever since they decided not to make the Invasion the focus of the organization at WM) can be established. Fortunately, that seems to be happening here. How many columnists at 411 have said recently that they’re giving them until WM to right the ship? Let’s see if these statements are actually followed through. I don’t have full faith in it (lip service is something that has an infinite supply in the IWC), but the fact that people other than me are finally seeing what I’ve seen all along is encouraging. Maybe the bottomless appetite for the crap they’ve been serving us really isn’t bottomless after all.
(Personally, I’m giving them until KOTR. You can’t turn the Titanic on a dime.)
Add Spokane (Mariners games) and Orlando (Magic games) to the Smackdown Preemption List.
Lots of great suggestions so far on possible replacements for Pop-Up Killer. I’ve yet to go through them all, but I will say that I tried Pow! and didn’t like it (although I have used other AnalogX programs and thought they were good). I also had a very bad opinion of Opera from using earlier versions and although it’s improved, I’m not going to use it until I get the bad taste out of my mouth. Besides, no one’s come out with a good, solid keygen for it, so upgrading becomes an issue (Pay for software? You must be kidding.). Nice to see some people write in not automatically assuming I use Windows (even though I do). It gives me hope that Linux can somehow break through, even though Linux partisans are even more arrogant and bull-headed than wrestling fans (Have you tried reading Slashdot these days? Talk about a suffocating environment.).
imfaruqi writes the following: Hey I read your columns all the on 411 and I agree with you totally about Bush jr. and his lackys. As I former Republican I can’t believe I supported him during the election. Actually I hate both political parties now and with the Libertarian and Green Party would unite and destroy everything. As a Muslim citizen of this country I have been made to feel by the media like I am on the wrong side of the conflict, just because I support the Palistinians.
As desirable as a unification of the Libertarians and Greens might be, the process of becoming a third major party in a two-party system is very difficult. For instance, a lot of Brits don’t consider the Liberal Democrats a third major party despite their occasional successes and won’t until they actually get a Prime Minister in office (Labour was considered in the same light until Ramsay McDonald was brought into office in the 1920s). As for the US, it’s always been a two-major-party country. When major parties died, another was ready to take its place, like the Republicans coming to prominence in the 1850s only after the Whigs died a gory death.
Now, as to the issue of being a Muslim in this country right now, you’re between a rock and a hard place. Read this and weep. The most amazing part of that survey shows the typical arrogance of Americans: 56% of people surveyed said they knew nothing about Islamic countries or the culture, yet those people still have an opinion on them. And writers to me still wonder why I constantly slam “the people”. Maybe it’s because I think that Americans should be better than media-force-fed ignorant sheep, whether the subject is wrestling or the world at large. Wallowing in your own ignorance is no way to live.
I will say in regard to the Palestinians that, at this moment, both sides are being complete schwantzes.
However, I do second your recommendation later on of Michael Moore’s book Little White Men. It does shed some interesting light on the connection between the Bush and bin Laden families.
Ryan Barclay asks the following: What exactly is Late Night Black And White on Cartoon Network? And what happened to Cowboy Beebop on Adult Swim??? They were on the last two episodes and instead I got flippin Rocky and Bullwinkle!!!
LNB&W was a one-hour block where CN broadcast only vintage B&W cartoons from the 1930s and early 1940s. It was the only time to see cartoons that Warner Brothers hadn’t colorized in order to extend their copyright life back when copyright was only 75 years (now it’s 95, and damn you to hell, Sonny Bono, for that), or to see material that they won’t broadcast because they think non-color cartoons will turn kids off. Classic Clampett Porky Pigs, Harman-Ising Merrie Melodies…for a cartoon smark like me, it was an hour each week of paradise, kinda like the Flair-Steamboat of cartoon watching. It was followed by a half hour block ostensibly of Droopy, which was really one Tex Avery Droopy and two “non-conforming” classic MGM cartoons, ones that they won’t broadcast during Acme Hours. So, in reality, it was an hour and a half of smark wallowing. Better than sex. But it’s gone now, and I mourn.
As for Cowboy Bebop, it had already had one full run-through, and Brad Siegel had all this “new” anime to show, so bye-bye Bebop. Great series, though. Not enough to convert me to being an anime fan, Bill Nielsen, but great nonetheless. As for the issue of what you list might just be worse to put on CN than anime, I wrote an entire column about that particular show last year, and the knives were out, believe me. I believe I made a pretty good case for Scrappy-Doo being the Antichrist.
By the way, insult the works of Jay Ward at your peril.
In response to the lack of affordable eateries in Rosemont, Illinois, JTSBK ripostes: Hey there’s a Chili’s resturant just north of Allstate Arena on Manhiem Rd / Toughy and a Steak N Shake also. The gentleman in question was asking about affordable eateries close to the Rosemont Convention Center, not the Horiz…dammit, Allstate Arena. I’ve eaten at the Steak and Shake you speak of, and it sucks, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. And spell Mannheim and Touhy correctly, please?
I haven’t got through a lot of this week’s mail yet, so apologies if you wrote in yesterday.
I’ll be back next week. Until then, Grut and Flea have the balcony.