10.22.2008

Puncturing Bubbles

I take no joy in doing what I am about to do, but know that if I didn’t do it, I’d find myself regretting every morning. Here we go.

Recently D.K. Wilson over at Sports on My Mind, who got this written about him the last time he tried to speak on something about which he has no great sense of knowledge, decided he’d keep the damned thing going. So, because we here at The Majesty of Wrestling like puncturing self-important people’s bubbles just as much as we like Torneo Ciberneticos, puppies, and American Dragon, here we go: A FJM-style dismantling of every single last one of Mr. Wilson’s points in his latest notes article found here

(Author’s Note: My Comments are in Bold. Helps to keep things clear.)

Brock Lesner was featured by Tom Ferrey in one of Tuesday’s E:60 segments. And Lesner was the recipient of some serious ESPN “White Pass” treatment.
OOH….. Racism. I’d love to see how we prove this one.

For those who do not know him, Brock Lesner was an NCAA champion wrestler at the University of Minnesota. He then entered the world of professional wrestling and became a multimillionaire. For his efforts he blew out both of his knees and has chronic back pain.
After leaving the ranks of pro-faux grappling he tried to parlay his wrestling fame into making the Minnesota Vikings as a defensive lineman. Lesner lasted until the final round of cuts and found himself lost and without work. So he turned to mixed martial arts for salvation and in a rocket rise through the ranks reminiscent of Kimbo Slice, is set for a championship fight against 45-year old Randy Couture in November.
The only difference between Lesnar and Slice is that while Kimbo got there because he was discovered by some faux boxing promoter looking to drag himself into the MMA mainstream behind the wing of a parody of a street fighter, Brock lesnar actually has and always had the credentials necessary to be a good MMA fighter. NCAA Champion, one of the most dominant college heavyweights in recent memory. And I will say that your dismissive attitude towards Pro Wrestling will not be treated as it normally would here.
It is a true, your 15 minutes of fame is up, story.
But not for the WWL and its continued efforts to make good on its bet that MMA is the next big deal in - sort of - sports, So to force MMA down the throats of sports watchers, we are introduced by Ferrey to 6′3″ 265-pound Brock Lesner:
“Brock Lesner has always wanted to fight. Four years ago he was labeled the next big thing - but in the make-believe world of pro wrestling.”
Former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg then says:
“He’s a genetic freak. If god were to sit down and build a warrior I think he would come out to be Brock Lesner.”
Wonderful imagery there, ESPN. This is, after all, the sports news outlet that played and replayed Kellen Winslow’s U of Miami locker room tirade where he mentioned being a warrior ad nauseum. They highlighted and debated Winslow’s quote on every show possible and slagged him for using the word at a time when America was at war.
Ok. Where to begin? Brock was actually named the “Next Big Thing” by the WWE and proved it, and then after an ugly split with the WWE, went over to New Japan and did pretty much the same stuff (although him leaving and taking the belt with him was kind of shady.) But, to somehow imply that Brock Lesnar isn’t a genetic freak is just plain dumb. The dude’s got massive strength, great speed, and is agile for someone who is built basically like a big house.

And ooh… the Warrior quote. Apparently Kellen Winslow, who at the minimum was an 18-year-old kid discussing a penalty he had incurred for a cheap shot and how he was tougher than everyone who was on the other side of the field, is perfectly alright. But Bill Goldberg, who meant it in a way of describing the boundless athleticism of Lesnar, is somehow deserving of the same criticism that Winslow got
.
Well, we’re still at war, but it apparently is just fine to air Goldberg’s quote and flaunt Lesner, who until recently, was just another WWE goon participating in that arena of predetermined outcomes, as a warrior.
“He got the fame, the fortune, and the girl… better known as “Sable,” wrestling diva and Playboy centerfold.”
Lesner tells us that he “lived the world of a rockstar” replete with “two Hummers, a Mercedes, Corvette - airplanes, four or five houses…”
And they say black athletes are the only people to squander their earnings on luxury items while acting like petty, transparent, consumer-addicted whores.
Am I going to sit here and argue that Lesnar’s lifestyle wasn’t reckless and consumeristic? Of course I’m not. That’d be silly. Almost as silly as going through an entire friggin article calling someone Lesner when his name is Lesnar. Nitpicking I know but hey….. it’s only going to get worse. And re the spending thing: One of these days I’ll take you to the homes of some white players in major sports and we’ll see how big they’re living. Deal?
But ESPN attempts to trick us into believing this is just another story of an All-American kid from the heartland (Lesner is from South Dakota). Just after showing a snippet of one of Lesner’s MMA bouts, there is a jump cut to a sunset-lighted field with infinite rows of corn and luscious green trees in the background and a tractor creating furrows and kicking up perfectly wind-blown dust (out of video camera view) in the foreground.
And baleful country slide guitar is serenading us to a sleep filled with pro-white America dreams.
Lord have mercy Jesus Christ. Because someone is from South Dakota, and a country guitar is played, it’s… let me get this right…. PRO-WHITE AMERICA? Oh god. He actually said this? *Sips a bottle of water, trying to calm down.* Oh that’s better. God forbid there are people in this country, even in Lesnar’s South Dakota, who like country music who happen to not be waving confederate flags in the backseat of their pickup trucks. And regarding the field and the tractor and the corn: It’s actually a good shot of the Midwest. Things like that happen out there. People use their fields to grow things. Like Corn… Wheat…. Rice. People don’t call the Midwest the breadbasket of the USA because it sounds nice. It’s true by and large.
Ferrey intones:
“Webster, South Dakota, a town near the Minnesota border with fewer than 2,000 people.”
And a solitary man - Lesner? - stands next to the town sign on the edge of railroad tracks - obviously going out of Webster.
“Lesner grew up on this dairy farm, struggling to help his family hold onto a property headed to foreclosure.”
It is Sarah Palin’s America.
Lesner then tells the tale of a broke family and knowing he needed to get out and make something more of himself (damn those people sure know how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps).
Wait a minute. We’re now clowning Brock Lesnar because he was able to get out of a bad situation because he was good, NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-LEVEL good, at something and used it to get a college degree from a pretty good academic institution? Come on now man.. Besides, in Webster, farms exist. You know like the ones you might have seen (cursing under your breath that the men in them have GOT to be racist). Now you’re just Nat X, tilting windmills and seeing racism behind every corner. What’s next: “I demand to know why the black shoelaces are behind the white ones!”
If all of that wasn’t insidious enough to turn your mind’s eye queasy, the punch line is.
Ferrey then says:
“So Lesner literally fought his way out.”
Cut to childhood friend, Matthew Baumgarn, who is bright-eyed remembering a young Lesner:
“He likes to beat on people. He grew up beatin’ on people. Him and his brother were fightin’ all the time.
And then Ferrey asks Lesner:
“What is it like to simply maul somebody?”
To which Brock Lesner replies in a very matter-of-fact fashion:
“Ahh, it’s a good feeling. Handling another human being and makin’ ‘em feel less than you is, uh, I don’t know, somethin’ I got a thrill out of.”
The music turns minor chord serious folksy and Ferrey begins to pave the road to creating a respectable man out of Lesner by letting us know how he “channeled his aggression into football and wrestling.”
Really? Channeling your aggression into doing something safe, in a controlled environment, instead of beating up random people all the time is a BAD thing? That’s what wrestling is at its core Mr. Wilson. You try and impose your will on someone, make them do what YOU want them to. And as someone who had older cousins allow me to let you in on a little secret: We fought… A lot. I’m sure if I polled your readership the ones who had bigger brothers could tell chapter and verse about the times they got into it with their brothers. It happens.
But there is no humanizing this —— is there?
Those were not, when I was a fool stories Lesner told. The man loves to physically damage other human beings with his fists or in any other way he can.
Today.
Imagine if that was ———– Kimbo Slice?
Remember the animalistic poses ESPN coaxed out of Slice during his E:60 segment with Rachel Nichols - with the up close camera views that distorted his features even more; the sweat, the bare footed bearded black barely human-looking…. thing we laid witness to - dwarfing Nichols who, though she held up trainer’s mitts for Slice’s punches, she also appeared hesitant, frightened to enter too close to his space during the interview (another silent nod to King Kong?) – hailed as the possible future of MMA?
Lesner was interviewed by Ferrey in a clean as a whistle barn on Made in the USofA hay bales, baby - and don’t you forget it, brother.
I try very hard to make this a family friendly blog but this is too far. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Forget the fact that before anyone knew Kimbo Slice existed he did this same parody-of-a-black-man shit on youtube, knocking cats out at NothingToxic purely for fun. Again so we’re clear Brock Lesnar, who was a national champion wrestler and a college-graduate from the University of Minnesota, is as much of an animal as Kimbo Slice, who got into MMA because he wanted to make money and because boxing wouldn’t have him. Again… DK Wilson= Nat X.
Lawrence Taylor referred to himself as a “crazed dog” on the football field and has been forever remembered as the animal “other” who didn’t know the defensive scheme but made the Hall of Fame by being “turned loose” by his head coach Bill Parcells to decapitate the quarterback. Never mind that Taylor could also be found covering a running back on a circle route 40 yards down the field after recognizing that the offense was designed to have a tight end chip block him, a tackle block him, and have that running back chip him on his way out into his route. Oh, LT was a thinking man’s football player, all right, but you’d nbever know it listening to media members descriptions of the man.
Think of the portrayal of Mike Tyson, before the Evander Holyfireld ear biting incident. Tyson as a champion was depicted as a killing machine, a brutal human sub-species - part rotweiler, part shark, and only human through the fact that we walked upright and on two legs.
Think of the fun ESPN would have today if a black athlete described himself as does Lesner. He’d be a thug, a goon, a monster. He’d be deemed too brutal for whatever sport in which he participated.
He would be dehumanized.
But Brock Lesner? Brock Lesner is an American Tail, human, not mouse. Brock Lesner had it all but turned down a seven-year $45 million pro wrestling contract to try to play the honorable game of football for $230,000 per season; who now lives as he really always wanted to all along, simply and with the woman he loves. And all the while he is once again called “the next big thing,” this time of MMA. And should he defeat Couture, Lesner will have millions once again.
Not bad for an All-American warrior from Webster, South Dakota.
Right Tom Ferrey? Right ESPN?
For the last time it’s Lesnar. And if he defeats Couture Lesnar will have done an incredible thing. Do you know who Randy Couture is? Do you have any idea what he’s done? Thank you. Your silence speaks volumes.

Is the way that Mike Tyson and LT were portrayed for the vast majority of their careers racist by some? Yeah, I’d he honest and say for some media members it was. But remember…. Race didn’t make Mike Tyson say he wanted to drive someone’s nose bone through their brain. Race didn’t make Mike Tyson act like Godzilla in Japan. Race didn’t make LT fail drug test after drug test. And Race didn’t make LT into what he is now, a guy trading off of his fame.

This is not a wholly racist society. And if you think it is, if you imagine it to be a place where no black man can get a fair shot at anything unless he “sells out” or “Acts white”, I’m sorry. Your hopelessness saddens me
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