Stone Cold Stunned

« April 2008 »

In lieu of today's column, I call for a moment of silence, in mourning of the death of American politics.

I'd love to write about the impending primary, where, even as you read this, voters in Pennsylvania are going to the polls to settle absolutely fucking nothing, but I've just been ostensibly pandered to by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain, and it's difficult to see the keyboard through the forks sticking out of my eye sockets.

Because all three potential leaders of the free world gave pre-taped pre-pared pre-pandered statements that aired last night on... WWE Raw. I mean, I'll admit, there's a bit of irony, after 2004 and 2008, in these people appearing amidst contests whose outcomes are fixed, but a drop of irony does not help you when you're stranded in a desert of shit.

For some reason, the usual pandering formula - candidate appears at niche event, and intersperses standard message and themes with awkward, uncomfortable references to the subject matter - is made infinitely worse when the subject matter is pro wrestling. And I "like" pro wrestling.* But, you know, I "like"* democracy too. But I don't always take all the stuff I like and smoosh 'em together in a big undifferentiated pile.

Hillary Clinton looked, for all the world, like Vince McMahon was just off camera holding a gun to Chelsea's head. Within five seconds, she'd asked us to call her "Hillrod", at which point seismologists all over the world detected millions of Americans cringing at the same exact time and thought Chicago had suffered another aftershock. The only possible way it could have been more awkward was if she'd visited a convention of furries and told them that for tonight, they should consider her Miles "Tails" Prower.

Obama fared slightly better, correctly identifying Randy Orton as a heel champion before launching into very familiar themes, leading up to the inevitable punchline, "Do you smell what Barack is cooking". Made only borderline palatable by the fact that Obama and Dwayne Johnson actually sound a bit alike.

And John McCain? John McCain looked for all the world like a senile grandpa who'd gone out to the gazebo to help the kids with their wrestling game. That is, if senile old grandpa had a team of crack researchers ready with cue cards feeding him the catchphrases of, in order, The Rock, Ric Flair, HHH, Hulk Hogan, The Rock again, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Plus a namedrop of the Undertaker, a reference to a cage match, and a pledge to strive for "smaller government and bigger individuals", which I can only assume is a pledge to legalize steroids.

Sure, he called the Fatal Four-Way for the championship this weekend the "Fatal Four" like it was a basketball tournament, but I have to say, it was a shocking, surprising amount of pandering to fans of a sport where the victor gets his hand raised above his head. Shame that's not a precondition for the presidential race. I know I'd sleep a lot better between now and November.

*For a broad and complicated definition of "like" that I don't want to describe and you don't want to read.