Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stop Bullying Me

Photo from
By Chad Smart

If you’ve watched WWE or TNA programming over the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen each company has a new anti-bullying campaign.  WWE’s campaign is called, Be A STAR (Show Tolerance and Respect), while TNA’s is called, Eliminate the Hate. While it’s admirable both companies have created these bully awareness campaigns, I can’t help but shake my head in and sigh whenever I see the commercials.

TNA's Eliminate the Hate
I’ll save you readers from wasting time responding taking me to task for writing what about I’m to say by admitting I can be heartless and cruel, and maybe I don’t understand the severity of today’s bullying. All I know is when I was growing up; I was picked on and teased along with thousands of other kids across the country. Bullying is a part of life. Does it suck? Should people be kinder to everyone? Sure. But that does change the fact no matter what you do or say, the insecure bigger kid is always going to try and make himself/herself feel better by picking on a smaller weaker target. The problem I have with these campaigns is they are part of a growing problem in society where instead of teaching kids to stand up for themselves or do anything to make them stronger and build character, society keeps wrapping a giant security blanket around them to insulate them from the harsh realities of life. I could go on, but this is a wrestling blog and I should tie this more to wrestling and less to my societal views of a growing dystopia.

"Piggy" James
So bringing this back to wrestling, what is my problem with these anti-bullying campaigns, you ask? Am I the only one who finds it odd that organizations whose primary form of viewer entertainment revolve around people fighting are trying to get their fans to be nicer to one another. Wasn’t it just like year when LayCool were making fun of “Piggy” James for being fat? Weren’t Goldust, Chuck and Billy and Orlando Jordan seen as weirdoes and freaks for their alleged non-heterosexual personalities? Haven’t the majority of non-American wrestlers (or American wrestlers portraying other nationalities) seen as evil and a threat to the American way of life?  Even without the standard bullying mindset as a catalyst for a feud, which is more prevalent in a wrestling storyline, guys wanting to see who the better wrestler is or guys who hate each other wanting to decimate their opponent? 

If wrestling is built around violence and personal attacks is it not a bit hypocritical for WWE and TNA to sell their anti-bullying messages 30 seconds before promoting a match up where people are fighting for no other reason than because they don’t like each other?  Sure they can talk about how the wrestlers don’t really hate each other and it’s just entertainment and blah blah blah. But that would be like at the end of a Cheech and Chong movie having Cheech and Chong talk to the audience about not doing drugs. They’re sending mixed signals to the audience. And yes, I realized I just dated myself by referencing a duo that hasn’t been relevant since Ronald Regan’s first term in office. Guess I should have went with Harold and Kumar. Hopefully you get the point.

Maybe it’s just me. I have an odd way of looking at things sometimes.

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  1. Bullying is no longer the "boys will be boys" custom that it's long been dismissed as. In today's world, the torment can be enough to provoke serious and often fatal retaliation as well as severe damage to emotional health. It's not the victims' fault for being "too soft". It's become this way because bullies have gotten away with their actions for far too long. Life can indeed be cruel, but that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Instead of turning a blind eye, the root of the problem needs to be attacked. Kids need to learn early on that it's pointless to go out of their way to persecute someone that they don't like. The "hit them back" mentality will not solve anything. It will only make the conflicts worse.

    So yes, I strongly support anti-bullying campaigns. However, WWE and TNA definitely should not be the ones to send these sort of messages because of all the reasons that have already been pointed out on the original post. One of WWE's biggest babyface stars, Steve Austin, was arguably the biggest bully that ever stepped foot in the ring.

    These wrestling companies want us to laugh at foreigners, homosexuals and the mentally challenged because they behave oddly. Yet they turn around and say bullying isn't cool? Ridiculous.

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