You know, for the opening quote, I could have done the old standby for this particular day, “Workers of the world, unite…” blah blah blah, but I sat down and thought about it and decided against it because Karl Marx has totally lost his relevance. I mean, even I went after him in yesterday’s column.
The college students of the Thirties read Marx looking for an alternative to what they saw as failed capitalism. The college students of the Sixties read Marx to see what all the fuss was about. The college students of my day read Marx to see what went wrong in the Soviet Union and, later, try to figure out what the hell Gorbachev was trying to get back to. The college students of today read Marx to try to figure out what the hell he was on when he wrote it.
Coming from a union family in Chicago, I feel a strong affinity toward May Day (after all, May Day does commemorate the Haymarket Riots in Chicago, which actually took place on May 4th, but that’s neither here nor there). Unfortunately, Reagan’s attempted destruction of unions and the death of the concept of worker solidarity took a lot of the luster off of the day. It’s a shame, really. You don’t have to be a dyed-red-in-the-wool Marxist to appreciate a day celebrating workers and toilers. That brings me back to Marx for a second. A lot of people, for some reason, think I’m a Marxist. Nope. I don’t hitch my wagon to a philosophy that just doesn’t work these days.
I see nothing wrong with Marxism in the abstract. It’s a lot like religion, in fact: it’s great as statements of philosophy, but when it gets put into practice, it gets perverted into something that would be unrecognizable to its theorizer. Most religions (Christianity, especially) depend on the view that humans, deep down, are inherently good and will try to do the good thing if given a choice. Marxism is dependent on the same tenet. We just have to look at the world around us to see that, in many cases, it’s just not true. That doesn’t invalidate the philosophy, but it does make it harder to separate the philosophy from the practice of it.
Marxism only worked under one set of conditions, that of a society undergoing a transition from a primarily agrarian economy to a primarily industrial economy. This was valid for most European countries in 1848, when he and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto. It could have worked somewhere during the revolutions that swept through Europe that year. But no one decided to put it into practice until 1917, and it was Lenin’s willful misinterpretation that became the dominant strain of Marxism. He ignored all of Marx’s preconditions on the creation of true socialism and stated straight out that Russia, which was still pre-industrial at the time, could build true socialism without going through them. We all know what happened after that. The fact is that most of the true Marxists looked at Lenin and said “What the hell are you doing?”, people like Georgi Plekhanov and Rosa Luxemburg. I’ve read State and Revolution, and if you read it back-to-back with the Manifesto, it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to figure out how the latter led to the former.
That brings me back to religion. When I said yesterday that we needed to get rid of the word “God” from every language on Earth, what I was talking about was not getting rid of the concept of worshipping a supreme being. It was about getting rid of all of the baggage associated with that word, the baggage that drives people to commit acts against their fellow human being in Its name. What Gamble said in his column is absolutely correct: people should strive to express their better nature. Religion is a binding force that can turn a random group of people into a community and be able to express that better nature in a constructive, beneficial fashion. However, when it becomes a primary means of identification with a person, when a person establishes his identity by saying “I’m a (insert religion here)” rather than “I’m a human being” first, then there’s a problem.
(Memo to Shawn Moroney: We don’t need religion as a “difinitive” reason to love and care for each other. Just being human should cover that. And humans do create the concept of God in the image of what they believe a supreme being should be. God is, in fact, the human concept of the idealization of human behavior, in both positive and negative ways.)
Same goes for nationalism (Memo to Antwan Jackson: I would have agreed with you if you said that religion and nationalism would be the two reasons why there will never be peace in the world.). I view myself as a citizen of the human race first, a citizen of the United States second. What upset me the most about September 11th was the ultra-patriotic fooferaw that followed. The focus should have been the fact that thousands of people were killed, not the fact that America was attacked. The community should have been bound together by the horror of the crime, not where it was committed. Somehow, that fact got lost amid the mad stampede to stores to buy flags and “United We Stand” bumper stickers.
So how the hell am I going to link all of this to the WWF? Well, I can’t, really. So let’s move on to something else and then head to SD…
SOME MAIL NOT ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGION
Joe Stock wonders what I think about Karen Hughes’ “resignation” and what I think about her. First of all, I believe Hughes when she says she’s resigning to spend more time with her family. She was being frozen out of Dubbaya’s inner circle a bit, but that’s more to do with circumstance rather than a change in her status. Besides, she’s still going to have a lot of influence with him, especially when it comes to speechwriting. However, a lot of people are going to be happy to see her gone. The conservative forces inside the White House now see the light changing to green because Hughes was the main voice preaching moderation, and since Dubbaya has the attention span of a mayfly, her not being physically present gives them more of a chance to press their agenda (and the Demos will be very happy if that happens, since a sudden shift to the right by the Forces of Occupation gives them an opening to flank Dubbaya in the November elections). The press is going to be very, very happy, since she had the worst relations with the press corps than any communications director or press secretary since Ron Ziegler. All in all, Hughes’ resignation is a “time will tell” type of story that we really can’t judge at this moment.
“Matt” gives out a good addendum to my old-guys-on-the-golf-course statement of yesterday: That same guy who uses the 3-Wood from 100 yards out is the same guy who waits on the next tee for the group in front to be 300 yards away, because “sometimes he can hit ’em that far.” Damn right. These are the people I aim for when I finally get up to the tee. I don’t think that the golfers can file a suit against Augusta National, though. They’re a private club that sets their own rules, and former champions have that perpetual invite to the tournament only at the indulgence of the club. If that’s illegal, than all mandatory retirement ages are illegal.
Memo to S. Young: Absolutely agreed on the subject of Dubbaya making things worse in the Middle East. The problem, I think, is that Dubbaya thinks he’s his dad, while he’s acting like Dana Carvey playing his dad on SNL. Yes, it’s only a matter of time before the US hits Iraq, but he’s going to screw the pooch on that one just like his dad did. As for why the WWF only goes halfway on its major angles, that’s Vince’s innate conservativism. Keith brought up the subject of Vince’s carny mentality, and he’s right on that issue. Vince won’t do anything to alienate the audience unless he needs to do it because there’s more money on that back end than on the path he’s on (viz. the introduction of Attitude). On the specific subject of the Invasion, that was Vince’s ego moreso than his conservativism. To him, his victory over WCW meant that their performers had to be assimilated and molded into his vision of wrestling rather than the need to maintain the illusion of competition to spur audience interest. There wasn’t even an attempt to kayfabe the audience that WCW/ECW was a real threat, and, like you said, the involvement of Austin and Steph cemented that fact. That attitude has even extended to the Split. Vince has to make it known at every opportunity that they’re still one company; thus, we have the crossovers and both traveling crews performing on monthly PPVs. A clean split would have been better.
And that’s good enough for a segue into SD…
This week’s entrant in the never-ending contest to find a tag partner for Rikishi is Helms. Hell, why not? The guy’s been humiliated enough with his final WCW gimmick and the Hurricane nonsense. Teaming with Rikishi is a step up for him if looked at it that way.
Rico Constantino hasn’t had a match on the main WWF programming at this time, yet he’s already been stuck as an adjunct to a dead-end angle and now becomes the recipient of a Stinkface. Welcome to the bigs, Rico. I’ll lay you odds this isn’t what you thought it’d be like.
Damn, they ended up pissing away Angle/Edge on a hair versus hair match. That stip dictates that Angle’s going to job, because he looks a helluva lot better bald than Edge does.
No! Not Randy Orton! Oh, my Beautiful and Beloved, if only I were there to save you from this horrid fate. I don’t mind Vince as much, for some reason. It’s probably an age thing.
So now they reveal that any wrestler who crosses shows will be suspended. Amazing how that came into play only after Trip kicked UT’s ass in. Let’s see if that holds the Monday after Backlash.
Edge/Venis versus Angle/Storm, without a description, sounds like a reason to watch SD. With the description, it’s an even stronger reason. In a perfect world, this’d be the main event, but we’re in an imperfect world that’s showing its imperfections by providing a haven for Hogan.
On the other hand, the Black Americans versus White Canadians match is a disincentive to watch. It’s only D-Von’s interference on behalf of our Northern Neighbors that prevents me from making certain racially-based assertions, other than to question whether there wasn’t a white guy available for D-Von to feud with.
Tajiri/Kidman again? Hey, I love the matches, but SD has the main cruiser contingent. Save it for PPV and do the interfering in each other’s matches thing that the audience loves so much.
The ending of the main is done to reestablish Trip’s tarnished rep as the savviest, smartest guy in wrestling. However, there’s a major logical hole. Vince stated that he and Flair agreed that any wrestler who crossed over shows would be suspended. Flair would have no compunction about suspending Undertweener if that happened given their recent history. Jericho knows all of this. And yet he still expects UT to hit the ring after Limp Bizkit plays? Jericho is NOT that dumb. Chalk up another hit on the Burial of Jericho tally.
AND IN OTHER WRESTLING NEWS…
More on Page’s injury courtesy of the Torch. In addition to having degenerative disks and bone spurs, something expected in an active wrestler Page’s age, the specific problem the doctors are worried about is a blockage in the canal surrounding the spinal cord between the fifth and sixth lumbar vertebrae…wait a second, there are only five lumbar vetebrae. Could they be kayfabing us on this to drum up sympathy for Page? I can see this as being part of a weird “will he be paralyzed” push, a lot like they did with Austin after he came back from his neck injury.
Okay, let’s get rid of the cynicism for a second and say that Page and the Torch misspoke and that the blockage is between the fifth lumbar and first sacral. In medical terms, this is called a stenosis; if caused by degenerative wear and tear due to advanced age (possible in Page’s case; the bump against Bob Holly may have aggravated a preexisting condition), it’s called a spondylosis. It just so happens that I know what I’m talking about because I have a related condition called a spondylolisthesis, a narrowing of the spinal canal specifically caused by the disks slipping against each other due to degeneration, and by happy coincidence, the two disks involved happen to be my fifth lumbar and first sacral. If it’s real, it’s serious. He really can become a paraplegic if the canal gets cut off due to the fifth lumbar’s key role in lower body nerve function.
Page is going to be seeing the WWF’s favorite neurosurgeon, Doctor Joel Youngblood (the guy who did the neck surgeries on Austin, Benoit, Rhyno, and, just this week, Lita), in a couple weeks for a further evaluation. Right now, he’s undergoing standard treatment for this disorder, which amounts to ibuprofen and physical therapy (been there, done that).
Speaking of degenerative conditions, Raw popped a 4.4 in the ratings, down from its normal 4.8. Let’s wait and see what the trend is before passing judgement. Hey, it’s hard on me to have to hold off from an “I told you so”, but I’m willing to do that for now.
Are we going to be having a Round Table for Insurrextion? Here’s the judgement-free card for the UK-only PPV, courtesy of 1bullshit:
Trip vs Undertweener
Steve Austin vs The Big Show
Eddy Guerrero vs Rob Van Dam, IC Title Match
X-Suck vs Bradshaw
Hardys vs Brock Lesnar and Shawn Stasiak
Spike Dudley vs Billy Brass Knucks, EuroTitle Match
Trish/Jacqueline vs Jazz/Molly
…with more to be announced. We’re anticipating some sort of Ric Flair match, since he’s doing active wrestling on the European cards. He’ll be in the main tonight in Cologne in a three-way against UT and Austin and tagging tomorrow night with Trip against UT and Regal in Glasgow. The best part of the EuroTour, though, has to be the Tribute to Vladimir Nabokov mixed tag matches with Lawler on one side and Hennig on the other (Lawler teaming up with Stratus or Jackie, Perfect with Molly Holly). A dirty old man and a guy with a penchant for ill-timed erections involved in mixed tags? Hey, I’m there.
Before I leave, I think I’ll take Gamble’s challenge, considering how familiar I am with cattle, specifically their primal and subprimal parts, not to mention their byproducts that the WWF has been foisting on us:
ALL-JAPAN COWS CIRCA 2000: You have two cows. Your chief farmhand steals one of the cows, but slaughters it and gives you back the tenderloin, while he sells the inferior cuts at his new meat market.
ALL-JAPAN COWS CIRCA 2001: You’re left with one cow due to the farmhand above. Your neighbor has only one cow left due to financial mismangement. You and your neighbor tear down your fence to allow your cows to mingle with each other, but they have to be forced to do it. You tell everyone that the neighbor’s cow is a prize-winner, but no one believes it. The only thing you have left is to find a way to say that the tenderloin you got from the cow above is better than the tenderloin from the prize-winning cow, but you can’t figure out a way to do that without slaughtering the neighbor’s cow first.
WWF COWS POST-MARCH 2001: You have one cow. You buy another and give it to your son. You then buy a third cow and give it to your daughter while hiring the third cow’s former owner, who likes to pretend the cow’s still his property. You then let your daughter and the third cow’s former owner attempt to mate the three cows to create a super-cow offspring, which fails because, let’s face it, they’re all cows. So you bring in two stud prize-winning bulls to mate with the cows, except that the bulls are past their prime and can’t do the job. So you split the herd up into two separate pastures in order to create two different herds, but you put both of the bulls (whom you are convinced are still potent) into one pasture and the best breeding stock in the other. That doesn’t work, so you remove the fence between the pastures and allow the younger of the two bulls to wander between them in case he has an interest in mating with the prime stock. However, that bull seems to be convinced that spreading his seed weakens him, and thus no breeding takes place. Pretty soon, all you have left is aging cattle that isn’t even fit for canner and cutter grades.
WWF COWS CIRCA 1998-1999: You have two cows. Your farmhand attempts to mate them regardless of gender, videotapes the result, and starts selling it as lesbian cattle porn. Soon, the entire Internet is talking about how great lesbian cattle porn is, so the larger corporate farm down the road hires the farmhand because they want in on the action, so to speak. You keep trying to do lesbian cattle porn for a while, but the Internet becomes bored with it. However, your former farmhand has ruined the other company enough that the corporate owners are willing to sell the cattle to you at cut-rate prices in order to get out of the cattle business entirely. See above for what happens next.
WCW COWS CIRCA 1991-1994: You have two cows. One of them is considered to be the best cow ever. You leave the gate open, and that cow wanders off. The corporation that owns the ranch tries to make do with one cow, and hires a series of farmhands who try to do something with that one cow and fail miserably. Eventually, the cow that wandered off comes wandering back and all is well, until the last farmhand that was hired wins a prize-winning cow at auction. The ranch quickly finds out that there’s not enough room in the pasture for both those cows, especially after the prize-winning cow starts inviting her friends over to graze.
WCW COWS CIRCA 1996-1998: You have two cows. You paint one of them with black and white stripes and attempt to call it a zebra. You keep emphasizing everything the “zebra” does as the greatest thing ever while the other cow withers away from lack of attention and eventually wanders out of your field. Soon, everyone gets bored with the zebra and you turn to the farmhand who painted the zebra in the first place to see if he has any different ideas. He tries painting the zebra with red stripes instead of white, and that doesn’t work, so you fire him.
WCW COWS CIRCA 1999-2000: You have two cows. You just hired that new farmhand who makes that great lesbian cattle porn mentioned above, so you try making some with your cows. However, your cows don’t mate as well with each other as the cows the farmhand is used to working with, especially the one that’s been painted like a zebra (she’s pissed off because she’s getting less attention than she’s used to). So the farmhand decides to involve himself and create bestiality videos. There’s even less of an audience for that than there is for lesbian cattle porn. The farmhand that was fired for painting the zebra with red stripes comes back, and the two hands decide to buy new pasture land in order to start a completely new herd. But problems quickly arise because 1) it’s the same old cows, just on new land, and 2) the first hand can’t get an idea that doesn’t involve paintbrushes and the second hand is still fixated on his bestiality idea. Finally, the corporation that owns the farm throws in the towel, fires both hands, and gets out of the cattle business.
And that’s all she wrote.