Sunday, February 11, 2007

World's scariest wrestling school

- On his website, former ECW wrestler New Jack has announced that he's opening a wrestling school.

That's New Jack. Quite aside from the fact that he's, shall we say, not exactly renowned for his technical prowess... it's New Jack.

What novice wrestler in his right mind would trust his safety to New Jack?

- And while I'm at it, here's an article in the Guardian from a week or so back, asking intellectuals about their guilty pleasures. A chap called Anthony Giddens singles out professional wrestling:-

I'm a fan of a very disreputable sports programme, one that I like because of its absurdist nature. It is a cable TV offering, featuring American professional wrestling. Watching it is certainly a guilty pleasure because the programme is politically incorrect in more or less every way one could think of. It is Americana at its most extreme, although put on in a knowing way and with a definite element of self-parody. I can't really work out what is going on, which is part of the reason it's addictive. Wrestling isn't a real sport and the contests are in some large part staged. On the other hand, the wrestlers sometimes do serious damage to one another and the losers surely can't always agree beforehand to lose. Do they hate one another as much as they seem to, or are they buddies behind the scenes? I don't know. Even more ridiculous, when there is a commercial break, the programme solemnly informs the viewer, "Whatever you do, don't try this at home." Do they seriously think people would?"

Wow, it's the last mark alive. A man who believes professional wrestling is partially real - something that even the promoters haven't claimed for 20 years. And the "Don't try this at home" bumpers are there for a very good reason, because yes, people do, and if you try some of this stuff without knowing what you're doing or how to land, there's a very real chance of breaking your neck. That's why wrestlers sometimes get hurt badly for real. (I can't bear to tell him how they do the blood.)

What's most amusing - or alarming, depending on your point of view - is that the slow-on-the-uptake Mr Giddens isn't just any old sociologist. He's Baron Giddens of Southgate, one of Tony Blair's closest and most influential policy advisers. He's the guy who invented the "third way." British politics for the last decade has been defined by the ideas of a man who thinks wrestling is real...