Well, today’s the day (or tomorrow as the case may be) where WWE can use “One-Hour Special” in a much better context than I could. I’ll be getting to that in a little bit, of course. But, let’s get right into it, because I’ve got various and sundry to do today before I drive to Nebraska tomorrow to go apartment-hunting. I also picked up a copy of the TNA Super X material and have yet to watch that. I normally cut myself off of wrestling after finishing the Wednesday column, but between that and Smackdown (and the Round Table), I’ll have to disregard that option this week…
THE PIMP SECTION
Gamble clears up a misunderstanding that’s going around about what I said and what he said in reaction to it, and he’s right. Boycotts don’t work as an instrument of change, especially against Vince McMahon, but I’ve received a lot of letters from people who have stopped watching and are only reading recaps, and they’ve all said that if this is the kind of crap they’re going to continue to show, they’ll stay the course. I consider my statement more of a Public Service Announcement than a call for a boycott (“Warning: Contents contain WWE Programming. Can cause skin damage on contact. Do not take internally.”)
Here’s a comment from Dennis Liermann that sums up the feelings a lot of people have right now, and shows that I’m at best a catalyst for a decision that many people are in the process of making:
I have stuck with the WWE/F through all the thick and thin, when they were getting their asses handed to them by WCW in the mid/late 90’s, through the glory days when they were putting up 7’s in the ratings department. Well last Monday night, I had it, I have seen enough, the crap that Vince puts on now, especailly on RAW makes me sick to my stomach!! I DID NOT watch raw for the first time in my LIFE last Monday night, all I did was get the results off of the site here of course. I did it again last night, didn’t touch it, nada, no highlight, no nothing, just the resutls from Scooter’s and your column. I really didn’t think the time would come where I would stop caring about it, but I guess it did, it’s just not entertaining anymore. I know I am one person, but hey, for a lifelong fan of wrestling to finally stop watching because frankly it sucks, it’s just too bad, the folks in the WWE don’t realize that they suck too. The Ironman match on Smackdown this Thursday lays in the balance between me from totally stop watching the product forever, or whether or not there is a little hope out there for a guy who always had the faith that Vince could turn his company around make it feel great to be a fan no matter how crappy it can get.
Memo to Haley: No problem. That Little Thing Trish did with taking her feet off the ground was hardly noticable, and she ended up not doing it the second time she was in that position. So if you missed it, I’m not surprised.
And I’d like to discuss something from yesterday. Here’s a letter from Matt Nute about what I said regarding his new column yesterday:
Regarding ruining the “suspension of disbelief” required for finishers – if someone’s reading 411, they’re pretty much over the suspension of disbelief.
Normally, I’d agree with you that being an Internet smark eliminates kayfabe as a factor. However, I make an exception regarding finishers. Let’s face it, some of them require a LOT of suspension of belief/disbelief to work. Even if kayfabe is removed from the equation, we’ll still accept finishers without reservation because it’s too integral a part of wrestling. You can eliminate promos tomorrow and wrestling will still exist. You can’t do the same without finishers.
Not everyone’s been around long enough to get a twice-weekly column to ramble on about everything under the sun and occasionally some of that wrasslin’ that the site’s about. You bust on one new writer for trying too hard to be you,
It’s bad enough to cop one guy’s style and get away with it when the two guys in question are at different sites. But on the same site? My message there was “Don’t use me as a crutch. If you’re a good enough writer, you’ll get an audience. But don’t leave yourself open to comparison to someone else, especially at the same site, because first impressions are important, and if people think you’re an ‘X Ripoff’, they’re not going to read you.” Besides, we’re both poaching the same territory here, only he makes it more obvious than I do (and in that regard, he also needs a new pen name). And we both have the real thing to contend with at espn.com and your local bookstore.
and then you bust on another for doing something no one else does.
That would be you. No, I wasn’t busting on you for doing something no one else does. I commend you for that. You, somehow, found a unique thing to do a column about in this day and age. I just consider the nature of the concept dubious.
So when do you give the speech about “The only writers to put asses in seats are Eric S., Grutman, and Hyatte”?
You are new here, aren’t you? Ask any of the other writers, and I think they’ll tell you that there is virtually no one more encouraging to writers at this site than me. I’ve had it out with pretty much every columnist in the wrestling section in the past, and more than a few in the Music and Games sections to boot. But they all know that I only want the best for 411. I sure as hell don’t hold people back, I don’t impose a Glass Ceiling, and I don’t go behind people’s backs with knives. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have done a Grut Vs. Daniels guest shot and wouldn’t have contributed material to numerous other columns on this site when people have asked me to. Ask Pankonin, Williams, Fernandez, Zucconi, etc. They’ll tell you.
Fleabag and I were talking about this last week, and we both agree that we have one helluva dysfunctional family here. I’m not going to screw something like that up by casually bitching about another columnist for the sake of merely bitching, noob or not. All I said was that I find the concept dubious. If you make it work, hey, that’s great for you and great for 411. I’m not optimistic about it, though.
I write what I know, same as you. You ramble on about everything under the sun – and despite the occasional YAM candidate, people like that. *I* like that. That’s your schtick, and you do it well.
Let me do mine, and save the disdain for someone who’s actually done something to piss you off. I’m sure there’s more than enough.
And I do, as you know. However, don’t consider the knock on the concept of your column yesterday a declaration of war or some kind of signal that I’m going to “hold you back”. Consider it more in the nature of a warning to take care with your subject matter.
SO FAR, SO GOOD
Yesterday, the US Senate voted 55-40 to quash the changes the Federal Communications Commission had made regarding concentration of media ownership. You may recall that I spent a number of columns (and a screed at Fleabag’s) talking about this particular subject, bemoaning the fact that Son Of SecState and his FCC cronies had opened the doors for the media megaliths to M&A their way into complete control of what we see and hear all day. The Senate vote is very, very encouraging. However, it’s not good enough. It’s going to be a tough fight in the House to get this passed, and then Dubbaya, being a complete corporate tool (among many other things), has vowed to veto it. The 55 votes in the Senate is not enough to provide a veto-proof margin. So we may end up seeing this thing happen regardless.
However, I like to pat America’s tame lawmakers on the head when they do something good, and this time, there are 55 pats on the head due. Yes, even one to Trent Lott. I would have preferred that some of the GOPtards would have come around and understood what the American people want, but that was too much to ask, I guess. Well, f*ck ’em. They’ll find out next November.
Oh, by the way, the Washington Post beat CNN and Fox to this one web-wise. Just business as usual, huh?
SO FAR, SO BETTER
It’s nut-cutting time for the RIAA. Despite the fact that Darth Rosen and her GOP-connected succesor got the courts to force Verizon to pony up subscribers’ names for their file-sharing jihad, SBC, the Baby Bell responsible for the US’s largest DSL network, has given them a big “f*ck you” and refused to provide them with the information they require to sue more twelve-year-olds. They’re the latest to jump on the “don’t give in” bandwagon, but the wagon has now expanded to an eighteen-wheeler to accomodate this particular pachyderm. With Verizon still in appeals on their case, it’s now become a full-blown Big Entertainment versus Big Telco battle, and that’s entertaining to watch. Of course, when the Titans upstairs have a piss-fight, we all get rained on, so who knows?
This is something I have to consider now that I’m moving. I don’t know what kind of broadband’s available in Lincoln (hint to readers out there who might live there, and I’m not talking the university here, I’m talking in general). However, if it’s the choice I’m facing now here in Chi, namely SBC DSL or Comcast cable modem, I know who I’m choosing this time.
A QUANDARY SOLVED
Remember that we’ve been reporting over the past couple months that Trip wanted to get some film roles, but was having a hard time doing so because, well, he sucks as an actor? Well, according to the Hollywood Reporter, that has changed. He’s not only snagged a role as one of the villains for the third Blade movie, but he’s also going to be the star of a film being produced by WWE Productions, Jordana del Muerte. So, therefore, it’s nepotism ahoy for him. Wonder if there’s a role in it for the wifey as well? Since the film is supposedly a “modern-day western set among biker gangs in the Southwest”, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to put the Bitch of the Baskervilles in there as a scooter slut.
Jordana del Muerte‘s script, if you could call it that, is written by Hollywood legend, reactionary paranoid, and gun freak John Milius, the man who did the script for Apocalpyse Now and Clear and Present Danger, among many other films, and both wrote and directed such wonderful classics as Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn, and Flight of the Intruder. He also was the man responsible in many ways for Steven Spielberg’s most embarassing moment on screen, 1941, having produced and in large part written the story for that mega-dud (Bob Zemeckis at that point wasn’t what he’d later become, and Milius’ overbearing personality overwhelmed him and his frequent writing partner Bob Gale). Anything Milius touches is, by definition, inherently evil, therefore the casting of Trip as the lead makes sense in a number of ways. Milius probably won’t get to direct this one, because he’s going to be busy helming the next Conan flick, due out in 2005. Too bad. I’d love to see the ego conflicts that would go on on that one with Trip in front of the camera and Milius behind it. That guy’s said to be a major-league taskmaster on the set. Trip wouldn’t stand for it.
To show you how nuts Milius is, here’s a quote from him: Triple H has a great sense of humor and rare combination of accessibility and inherent nobility…He is a working man’s hero, something that has been missing in movies for a long time. This quote, and Red Dawn, should show you how thin a string of sanity connects Milius to reality as we know it.
I wonder if he’ll throw in some of his patented ultra-conservative bullshit into the script like he always does. That’ll just give me another reason to avoid it like the plague, like I will Trip’s other film projects.
And in regard to Semi-Regular Zac Hartman’s query about whether this will take any of the heat I’m giving off Flex, the answer to that is no. That flame will burn as bright as ever. Just because the wound is crawling with maggots doesn’t mean that you stop trying to kill the body lice.
SMACKDOWN SOMEWHAT SPOILED
The year’s stupidest quote may have been cinched by Brad Stutts, who did the Torch’s dirty work for them: Haas & Benjamin are the best thing to happen to American tag teams since the Hollywood Blondes. In what way? Pillman and Austin were one thing that Haas and Benjamin have never been: entertaining outside of the ring. In a technical sense, I won’t fault H&B. But they’re boring otherwise. That’ll change with time and with a little more self-assurance on the mic. Anybody remember Christian’s first time stuck at the commentary booth? I do. It was that horrible. It was almost as horrid as Trish Stratus’ first promo on behalf of Albert and Test. It’s those kind of things that make your knee jerk and force you to cry out “Never let them hold a mic again!”. They’ll improve, and one day, we should be able to compare them to the Blonds. But not yet.
Every spoiler I’ve read has mentioned how phenomenal the Iron Man match is. I can’t say anything about it until I see it. This is something that appeals to the near-dead mark in me. It’s something I’ve been wanting to see since Lesnar arrived. I just can’t believe they’re pulling the trigger on it. I will say this: if not for the PPV brand separation, this match wouldn’t have taken place. They’d be gearing up for Unforgiven on Sunday and would be giving us the same kind of filler material that Raw is right now. This is an even better sign for WWE “creative”, though. This match, and to a lesser extent the Guerreros/B&H match, shows that at least one of the teams is getting their act together in regard to pacing the two-month gaps between house-brand PPVs. One of the guys last week in the Features section talked about creating an equivalent to Clash of the Champions and how this show would be the acid test of that concept. Looks like he was right.
I will say one thing about the result: I agree with the booking given what they’ve already done. Let’s see what they do with it.
And memo to Semi-Regular Raffi Shamir: yes, I will be watching it, if I pop for a motel tomorrow night in Lincoln and it’s on there. If I’m stupid enough to try to drive back to Chicago, then I won’t. And I think turning Maven and putting him into Evolution will totally destroy Evolution’s credibility. But then again, I don’t like Maven.
A lot of people have asked me about Wesley Clark’s entry into next year’s White House Giveaway Sweepstakes. Clark’s become my backup candidate, since I’m a good Democrat and I’ll ride Kerry until he’s out of it. That being said, he’s got a good, strong image, but I’d like to see his non-military perspective on foreign affairs come out a little more before becoming more encouraged by him. And, of course, there’s the whole domestic policy issue. The best thing, I believe, would be Kerry at the top and Clark as SecState (yes, similar to the position we have now, but I’m thinking more in terms of Harry Truman and George Marshall here).
Sticking with politics, Aaron Spanik asks me a question that I’ve been thinking about since 1989:
Would you say an accurate description of current political climate in the US might be that the old guard in the White House (and other organizations such as the CIA, the GOP, and the military) doesn’t adequately know how to function in a global situation where there isn’t an easily identifiable external menace? It seems that the Bush administration wants _terribly_ to create the same kind of polarized “Us vs. Them” situation that they “enjoyed” when the Cold War was in full swing? Is it because they “know the games” in that kind of scenario and think they can control them? Or is it more the fear of dealing with a global economy/society where there’s not One Big Line that everyone’s on one side of or the other?
Yes to both in regards to the Republican Party. They spent so long defining themselves in terms of their opponents (the Soviets, not the Democrats) that they became lost when that menace disappeared. And they’re still lost. Notice the neo-con brigade still has to define themselves not in terms of their own ideology, but in terms of what they’re against (and David Brown tells me that Laura Ingraham has a new screed out in the bookstores to poison impressionable minds with). They need a whipping boy. They thought they had one after the events of two years and one week ago, but trying to anathemize “terrorism” was harder than it looked. It’s too nebulous a concept. There’s no nation-state that you could peg it to, there’s not even a face that you attach to it (especially after the military didn’t get Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan). So through sleight-of-hand and a lot of FUD, the Junta attempted to mesh the concept of terrorism with Saddam Hussein, and they almost got away with it. Fortunately, the people who bought into that are now waking up and seeing what a stupid situation we’re in and how we were duped into it.
The GOP needs an enemy, and when they don’t have one, they go out of their way to do so, and end up embarassing themselves doing it. Would rational human beings, even politicians, have behaved like the Gingrichites in the mid-90s? Would Monicagate have been trumped up like it was under other circumstances? Very doubtful, but the Republicans had to manufacture an enemy from somewhere, and the Clinton Administration had to do.
The other institutions you mentioned weren’t as affected. Let’s take the CIA. Ideology doesn’t mean as much in the spook game as you might think. The KGB, after WWII, always defined the US as the “Main Adversary”, not the only adversary, and their adversaries were anyone they believed were against them, including other Warsaw Pact governments that didn’t toe the line (the full extent of KGB operations against the people of Eastern Europe hasn’t been revealed, but what has been is terrifying enough; if there ever is a complete assessment, Yuri Andropov might be counted as one of the ten most influential men of the 20th Century considering the dominoes that fell due to the fact that he couldn’t get over Hungary in 1956). It was revealed by a pair of defectors in 1960 that the National Security Agency here in the US spent a boatload of its time intercepting and decoding communications of the US’s allies. Aldrich Ames was the KGB’s man inside of the CIA, but after the fall of Communism, he became the SVR’s man inside of the CIA. The Cold War was simply a focal point for the activity, not the reason for it. As for the Army, it’s simply a matter of altering doctrine to reflect political reality. Doctrine only gets changed when military reasons require it. I know this first-hand, having been in Western Europe during the whole brouhaha. We were laughing at trainers during classroom sessions in 1990 when they were talking about an invasion through East Germany. The doctrine simply wasn’t updated yet, and they had to go on old material in order to get the class done. The lessons were still pertinent, though.
Aussie Bureau Chief Brett Wortham’s having a little trouble with Medal of Honor, so I’d better answer it because it’s a rather common point given the global reach of the Net. Brett landed up with an Aussie copy of Medal of Honor, but pirated a US/UK copy of its expansion pack. The expansion pack won’t install without crashing. Software companies do have a habit of localizing their software. The Japanese are infamous for this; you have to go through hoops to get a console game out of Japan to work on a US system (this is one of the best reasons for mod chips that I can think of). When you go out and pirate games, sometimes you’re not sure of the particular source nation. Some of the release groups for programs are based in Europe, and they get European source material. If you’re dealing with a game whose distribution has been localized, that might mean trouble when it comes to patches and expansion packs. My best recommendation is that you hit ShareReactor (for eDonkey) or Suprnova (for BitTorrent) and get a copy of the US/UK Medal of Honor. Despite what the website says about the patches being compatible, sometimes the cracking process disrupts that compatibility.
Memo to Regular Sean Fri: Michael Wilbon, as is well known, is from the South Side of Chicago and loves the Bears to death, so he’s very, veyr critical of them when they’re completely inept like they are now. Writing for the Washington Post doesn’t matter; you can’t take the South Side out of him any more than you can out of me. I can relate to Wilbon completely, which is the only reason I can stand watching PTI. I want to give Kornheiser a swirly every time I listen to him.
And Memo Again to Regular Cabbageboy316: When I write negative things about WWE programming, people write into me telling me that if I “don’t like wrestling” (fallacy of synechdoche, mistaking a part for the whole), I shouldn’t watch it. When I tell people not to watch it, people write into me telling me “How dare a wrestling writer tell people not to watch wrestling?”. I can’t win.
Daniel Drattell brings up a good point: If Ross, Lawler, Coachman, and Snow are all in the ring, who’s going to announce the match on Sunday? Daniel says that it’ll be Bisch and Austin. That seems like a logical assumption, but I somehow see Bisch interference being key to Snow/Coachman going over (with Austin interfering on behalf of his tame bitch Ross only after the damage is done), and them being at the announce table sorta cramps that. So, without bringing in the Smackdown or Epilepsy teams, who gets to call it? Here’s a suggestion: Terri Runnels and Lilian Garcia. Yeah, they won’t do a good job at it, but that would be secondary to the set-up that both of them are going to be treated like dirt under the new announce team (after the match, Coachman throws them out of the booth in a rather sexist fashion, and Bisch can tell them afterward what a horrid job they did, and that their jobs might depend on their willingness to “cooperate”). It’d be different, you have to admit.
Memo to Ines Custovic: Allo Allo isn’t on my local PBS channel, and it had been years since I’d seen it. However, DVDs of the first two seasons have been released by the Beeb, and since DVDs have been released, that means rips are available (that answers your question, Brett). ShareReactor has indexes for the files on eDonkey, so you can download them to your bandwidth’s content.
Before going, I’d just like to note that the Mark Henry/Predator comparison was not mine, but Big Daddy’s. Always give credit where credit is due. I’ll be back to give credit to nobody in the Round Table, if we have one this month, and I should be able to get something done for Fleabag. Otherwise, I’m going to get a lot of rest because I’ll be on the road early tomorrow. Until the next time I pop up somewhere, have a good one.