May 2012 COTM - Chair Shots: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?
Jun 16, 2012 - 12:51:20 AM
“So here’s what we’re going to do for my appearance on Raw Monday. I want a skit with Hornswoggle where we wear Stetsons and make fun of Jim Ross’ Bell’s Palsy. That’s funny right? Of course it’s funny. How can that not be funny?”
And that is just what happened this past Monday on Raw. For no apparent reason other than to mock a man with an illness, Vince McMahon and his illegitimate son (which seems to have been forgotten) made fun of Jim Ross. Now this isn’t the first time good old J.R. has been embarrassed and made a fool of on national TV. He’s almost become the poster boy for insensitive humour on WWE programming. Michael Cole, playing the heel role he so enjoys, one replied to a comment from Josh Matthews about talking out of both sides of his mouth by saying “"Actually, there is nothing wrong with my mouth, unlike J.R.'s."
Vickie Guerrero has also been the victim of unflattering and insensate remarks, most often from Jerry Lawler. Even though Vickie has lost an incredible amount of weight, Lawler continues to remark on her size and her appearance. Honestly I don’t see where anyone, other than Vince McMahon maybe, finds this amusing. It certainly doesn’t add to the value of the show. It actually cheapens it. This past week’s Raw was largely entertaining. The wrestling was spirited and the promos were for the most part interesting, and AJ Lee was on TV for a considerable amount of time. So why the need to cheapen it with a bad J.R. skit and fat jokes?
Now I understand that there’s always been a level of humour in professional wrestling, and a lot of that is very juvenile in nature. We’ve had Santino parade around in drag, R-Truth ranting about spiders, and Ricardo Rodriguez stripped to a Justin Bieber t-shirt. But the kind of humour that degrades and humiliates an individual for entertainment’s sake is, well….bullying.
And that’s where the problem lies for the WWE. This is a wrestling organization that has heavily promoted and supported the Be a S.T.A.R program against bullying. There’s no denying that bullying is a big problem for our youth, as well as for adults. When I was in high school (many, many years ago) I was bullied quite heavily. My high school had what the upper classmen liked to call the “initiation program” for the freshman class. Most of the time it occurred on the bus to or from school. Some of the “initiations” were painless, like singing the school song, but others were very physically and emotionally painful. One was called “The Hot Seat”, where you’d have to sit in the far back corner seat of the bus and all the seniors would jump on top of you. I came out of that one with 4 stitches to my eyebrow.
These types of things are what the Be a S.T.A.R. program fights against. For those who forgot what the S.T.A.R. stands for, let’s have a quick reminder.
T - Tolerance
A - And
I don’t know about you, but making fun of someone’s disability or weight shows neither tolerance nor respect. It’s a tough position that the WWE has put themselves in supporting a cause like this, when a lot of their programming revolves around people who basically bully each other for a living. Now I know we’re looking at scripted television, and in reality most of the superstars are actually pretty good friends, but we are adults. However, there are a lot of influential children that are fans of the WWE and what they do.
One of my fellow CF writers has a young son that is a huge fan of WWE programming. He’s at a very influential age where things like name calling and making fun of people hit home. Now my friend sounds like a pretty good Dad who would explain to his kid that in the real world that’s not acceptable behavior, but should all the responsibility fall on the parent? Shouldn’t the WWE take some responsibility for their own actions and stop being hypocrites?
One of the biggest storylines in the WWE today basically revolves around bullying from top to bottom. At No Way Out, John Cena will battle the Big Show in a steel cage with either Cena’s or John Laurinaitis’ job on the line. Let’s do a quick recap of how we got to this point.
1. John Cena fought Big Johnny, but prior to that he cut a promo making fun of his voice, and calling him a Loser about a dozen times.
2. Big Show also made fun of Laurinaitis’ voice, was forced to get on his knees and apologize and was fired.
3. Show was re-hired and will fight John Cena, but in the meantime has shown up on Raw punching people like R-Truth in the face, because he’s bigger than everybody else and has felt bullied by the WWE for 12 years.
In other parts of WWE land, CM Punk got the term “Goat Face” trending on Twitter worldwide in regards to Daniel Bryan’s appearance, and called Kane a freak. Now I know a lot of you are probably saying I’m taking this all too seriously. I mean it’s just professional wrestling after all. This has been going on since Gorgeous George stepped foot in the ring prancing around like a lady. And you’re right, it has, and it will probably continue to occur for many years to come. There’s always going to be storylines where superstars don’t like each other. There SHOULD be an animosity. It helps to advance the storyline, but there has to be a point where the line doesn’t get crossed. And for the WWE this is more the case than any other wrestling organization because they actively promote and support a campaign against doing the very thing they do quite often on their programs.
So I know your next question is going to be where do you draw the line? Well that’s a tough question to answer, and everybody is going to have their own opinion on the response. For me, the line has to be where bullying is done just for the sake of bullying. Making fun of J.R.’s condition doesn’t advance any storyline. Making fun of Vickie’s weight has no impact on what’s going on in the ring. They’re just hurtful and mean-spirited, even for adults. I don’t expect the WWE to become all touchy-feely and go around singing “Cumbaya”, but what I hope for is that the WWE starts to practice a little more of what they preach.
Thanks for letting me show up on the Main Page again. This is my second appearance up here and I hope it’s not my last. Hit me up with any questions, comments, or death threats.
Until next time,