Crocker! A Serious Discussion About TNA's Hypocritical "Eliminate the Hate" Campaign
By Dan Crocker Nov 4, 2010 - 7:48 AM
(JG Note: The opinions of Dan Crocker are do not necessarily reflect those of World Wrestling Insanity and are written as his own opinions...and maybe Super Porky.)
First, I'd like to concede defeat to my crazy ass opponent, Tea Bag Charlie.
Now that that's out of the way, what a week, huh? In a year where it seemed like half the candidates from either party were literally insane, Linda McMahon still couldn't buy her way into office. It doesn't help that she spent the money on 500,000 male escorts. Apparently, she's not going to be returning to WWE as CEO, and she may run for Senate again in the future. I'm not very good at math, but damn. Linda should have just waited and ran for president. That may have helped Raw's ratings. If nothing else, Stephanie might have ended up on Dancing With the Stars.
In related news, Ric Flair was just announced as a cast member of next season's Dancing With a Sports Coat.
He's going to win this thing hands down.
Big News From This Week's Raw
Pee-Wee Herman was the best thing to happen to professional wrestling since Super Porky ate that ham. It just made Lita's brief appearance all the more lame. I mean it's Lita! Our love affair in the late 70s has been well documented, and I would have liked to have seen a bit more of her. Later on RAW, of course, something weird happened with a dream. That's it. That's all the WWE news. Except for this, Undertaker is going to be out for a while because of a shoulder injury. It's not what you think. He didn't have a confrontation with Lesnar. He hurt it playing bingo with Brett Favre.
Now Uncle Cracker Gets Serious For a Minute
TNA has announced an anti-bullying campaign called "Eliminate the Hate."
Forgive me if I'm skeptical about this. They want to, and I'm serious here, "put the headlock on bullying."
Bad writing aside, it's a wrestling program, and I'm not sure it's equipped to be a platform for anti-bullying. By its very nature it promotes bullying. At the very least, it glorifies it. Sure, kids are supposed to know it's fake. But kids, like many of their parents, are stupid.
Here's my big problem with it, however.
TNA is a homophobic organization. Watch this clip:
Orlando Jordan is a great wrestler, a good talker, and an out bisexual man. This is the best TNA can come up with for him. Taz calls him a freak. Tenay calls him bizarre and eccentric. Sounds like some of the bullying often directed toward gay people to me. He's stuck in low card hell spraying mayonnaise on himself which is obviously supposed to represent something else. Try going to YouTube and looking at some of the comments fans make about Jordan. This is the culture TNA has created.
Unfortunately, TNA had a great opportunity to, as they often do, take a real life aspect of a wrestler and make good TV out of it. I've been saying for years that the time is right for a gay wrestler who isn't portrayed as a stereotype, but instead as a bad ass. Something like Simon Sermon is doing--although Sermon is doing it on a lesser stage. Take a look at the following clip. You have to get past Adrian Street to see it, then again, his interview shows a pretty typical view of the professional wrestling culture.
A.J. Styles, the sometimes franchise of TNA, is another example of the homophobic culture of TNA. Back when I was writing for a start up TNA site (a site that didn't last long), I remember writing a scathing article about Styles' for calling someone a "f*ggot" on television.
That wasn't the only time, either. He's been known to publicly do this on several occasions.
Here's a copy of his then apology:
"To me 'faggot' is a word you just say when you're goofing off. Unfortunately it is not the right thing to say, I wouldn't say it in church so I shouldn't say it anywhere else. It just slipped out. It surprises them that I said 'faggot' in Nashville, of all places, but when I said bastard, which really bothered me the week before, it didn't bother them at all. The week before that show, they wanted me to say SOB, I compromised and said bastard. Nevertheless, it was wrong, and I apologize."
Yes. He's really comparing calling someone the other "f-word" to saying "bastard."
You have got to be f*cking kidding me. One isn't really even a curse word and the other makes people jump off of bridges. Honestly, I thought I had forgiven A.J. For this, but I guess I really haven't. Probably because I've still never really seen him appropriately address the situation.
I know that the world of professional wrestling isn't, at the moment, conducive to a gay friendly culture. Why would it be? You have a bunch of
oiled up young men in speedos rolling around and groping each other.
I know the problem isn't just with wrestling. It's the culture of sport in America in general. Hells bells, it's often the culture in general. That doesn't mean we have to let it off the hook. I like A.J. Styles. I love to watch him wrestle, and I've praised his matches in this very column countless times. Still, his homophobic episodes will always bother me, but not as much as the company that encourages them.
The pre-planned, scripted, homophobic comments of Taz and Tenay when Jordan comes to the ring are far worse because it's blatantly being sanctioned by the company.
I don't find that clip nearly as funny as Hall or that fat bald f*cker seem to.
I commend TNA for their attempt at an anti-bullying campaign. Let's not forget, however, that this entire anti-bully movement is a result of gay teenagers committing suicide because of how they are made to feel. This, by the way, has been going on for decades and people are just now talking about it. Unfortunately, nowhere in TNA's press release do they mention homosexuality. Here is a quote from it:
"Sadly, bullying is a national problem, and it crosses into all races, religions and every socioeconomic status," Anderson said. He added a personal note, "Growing up, I was bullied until I was a freshman in high school because I didn't conform to a group or play sports. I was open that I liked video gaming and comic books and got picked on for that. I eventually took Tae Kwon Do and Eskrima lessons because the bullying was relentless and I thought it would come to a fight. But when the bullies heard I was taking martial arts classes, they backed off"
Frankly, this is bullshit. I'm sorry that Mr. Anderson got picked on when he came out of the closet as a video game player, but this can, in no way, be compared to the relentless, day in and day out, pressure that gay teens are subject to. It comes from their peers, teachers, the television, their church, and their parents. I know it doesn't compare to the hell that comic book readers are in. As a comic book fan myself, I've often thought about putting a bullet in my head.
I also can't wrap my head Anderson's remark that learning how to bully the bullies is in any way going to help anyone.
This entire thing is TNA's self-serving attempt to jump on the anti-bullying bandwagon without addressing the larger issue that they have helped to create. If they are really sincere about this then they will bring out Styles, Zbyszko and every wrestler who has ever used a homophobic, racist or sexist slur, every wrestler who has portrayed, or written for, a character that is supposed to be homosexual (or to represent one anyway) but is really just over the top and mean spirited, and every wrestler who has even hinted that another wrestler might be homosexual in a degrading way to come out and apologize.
While they are at it, they can apologize for not hiring Chris Kanyon after he came out of the closet.
I started watching wrestling as a young boy with my father. It was one of the few things we bonded over. For that, I'll always love professional wrestling. Sometimes though it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. There aren't a lot of gay male role models out there. There are even fewer male bisexual role models. If TNA really wants to start an anti-bullying campaign, they'll start in their own house. I call on them to start by doing something positive with Orlando Jordan.
For my readers this week who aren't wrestling fans, before you get the idea that all professional wrestlers and wrestling fans are unenlightened read This.