Yesterday, I decided not to write. I had already posted my blog entry on Friday about WWE and its fans taking responsibility for the well-being of wrestlers when suddenly tragedy struck in Paris. After watching news pouring in from all over the world I needed to give myself a break. When the body counts started jumping, and my twitter feed became saturated with anti-Muslim nonsense and the overuse of the word “terrorism”, the post 9/11 New Yorker in me had to unplug. I spent my day at work yesterday listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and trying to be nicer to people. I caught a friend’s bluegrass band afterwords and took a few hours to actually laugh with the little family I have built for myself down here in Virginia. I even bothered to find the Rousey/Holm fight when I got home – though I turned it off before the first round even ended. I had seen all the carnage for one weekend I could stomach.
Now I am back at work and listening to the West Side Story soundtrack because Leonard Bernstein is a genius and why the hell not? I am thinking a lot because it’s a quiet Sunday afternoon – the Redskins are putting the Saints to bed, so all of the DMV is at home or in a bar watching. Related to this, I am thinking about what we all consider to be entertainment. Between watching Rousey get her ass handed to her last night, the swelling orchestra music surrounding me now, refreshing the NFL scores for the day, and considering those poor people in Paris who just wanted to see a rock and roll show – it’s all very overwhelming. Even the music I’m listening to involves violence – half of the main characters end up dead by the end of the play.
So what does all of this have to do with The Lady J’s wrestling blog, you might be wondering? Because for many of us, wrestling has a very specific job. It is supposed to entertain us, yes, but it also supposed to distract us from our every day lives. It is a controlled environment for us to experience a wide variety of emotions without hurting ourselves or anyone else. I have mentioned in past posts that when I came back to WWE in 2013, I was taking care of my Mom who suffers from Early On-Set Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a hellish situation to be caught in – the emotional exhaustion of watching my mother disappear and not being able to stop it while simultaneously wearing myself out physically trying to care for her and keep her quality of life at the highest possible level. I was at the end of my rope. So when my then-boyfriend turned on Monday Night RAW one night, it was easy to channel all of my emotions – rage, desperation, frustration, grief – into the stories playing out on the TV before me.
We joke a lot right now that the favorite thing to do of several of the babyface characters in WWE is Overcome. And when you think about it, those have always been the greatest stories, and not just in professional wrestling: overcoming an evil boss, a psychotic villain, a disadvantageous beginning, a disability, oppression. Yes, sometimes we like to see the villain triumph. Sometimes we enjoy a little chaos. But we also know what happens when chaos reigns supreme. Violence. Carnage. Destruction. There is enough of that in our day-to-day lives. In this country alone we are waging wars on so many fronts: on the poor, on those of minority ethnicities, on people of varying sexual orientations and gender identities, on the mentally ill. When you are constantly surrounded by sorrow, who wants to turn on something that brands itself with the word “entertainment” and see more of it?
Write now, you’re all reading this because of the internet. Many of us watch WWE products via the internet. I even watched UFC 193 last night on the internet. We get our music through the internet, communicate through it, and even get our news through it. That’s how I found out about what happened in Paris. Is there more violence now than there was 100 years ago? Probably not. But we are saturated with it now because of how connected we are. It’s impossible to escape now. You can’t play ignorant. Instead, you have to face the cruelness of the world.
In the film version of West Side Story, Lt. Shrank breaks up the war council between the Jets and the Sharks. After throwing the Sharks out, he gives the Jets a lecture about what dumb hoodlums they all are. He starts to say, “when I was your age”, but one of the Jets, Action, cuts him off.
“When you were my age?” he shouts. “When my old man was my age, when my brother was my age – none of you were my age! The sooner you cats get hip to that, the sooner you’ll dig us.”
My parents were my age in a different, internet-less time. My grandparents were my age during World War II. My great-grandparents were my age in a fascist Sicily under Cesare Mori. The world is changing, faster and faster now. We need more things to remind us that good can triumph over evil, that we can overcome the vicious anger that seems so rampant. That’s why I watch wrestling. That’s why I listen to classical music. That’s why I’m still keeping an eye on the football scores. That’s why, when my shift is over, I’m going home to make a big pot of sauce and some pasta and I’ll sit down with the world’s fluffiest dog and watch a movie or two.
That’s enough from me for now. I’ll be back with my usual sassiness tomorrow before RAW. Hope you all have a lovely Sunday – whatever is left of it where you are. Sending some light your way.