Monday, 2 February 2009

I 'aint got time to bleed.

It turns out that I'm useless with keeping up with current affairs. For example, if it wasn't for the fact that somebody woke me up this morning with a phone call to ask me my thoughts on the Superbowl then I wouldn't have even known it had taken place this weekend. Which would have been a shame really, because then I would have missed the news story that some folks in Arizona had their coverage of American Football's annual show-piece interrupted by good old fashioned pornography.

According to the news reports, during the final stages of the broadcast on KVOA-TV a short clip aired of a woman unzipping a man's trousers before engaging in a "graphic" act, interrupting the game in doing so. To quote local resident Cora King "I just figured it was another commercial until I looked up. Then he did his little dance with everything hanging out". (Gee Note: Huh? He did a "little dance"? Is that a euphemism for something, or I have I been watching the wrong type of porn movie? You know, the one's where people engage in promiscuous sex and don’t tango up a storm. Seriously, have I been doing this wrong up until now? Should I in fact trade in my copy of Ordinary Peep-holes for Dirty Dancing? Honestly, this has freaked me out a bit. Also have advertising standards in America dropped so low to the point where a third rate skin flick could, for a time at least, conceivably be mistaken for an advert? Go Daddy has a lot to answer for).

It's a relief if I'm honest to have caught this glorious snippet of a story in relatively quick fashion, as all too often recently I've been learning about things about three of four months after the fact. Take the story of Torvaid Alexander, a 6ft tall builder from Edinburgh who arrived home after attending a fancy dress party on New Years Eve to find his house being burgled. Alexander instinctively ran at the thief, scaring the bejesus out of the burglar who promptly jumped out of the window. The reason for the burglar's panic? Well Torvaid had decided that for the fancy dress party he should stay true to his Norse ancestry and go as Thor, red cape and tin foil breast plate to boot. And to be honest if I was a burglar plying my trade and the God of Thunder came charging out of the shadows at me, I'd jump through the window as well. If there was one there of course. Otherwise there'd be a giant Gareth shaped hole in the wall.

Problem is I only heard about this the other week, despite it being reported in newspapers nationwide at the beginning of the year. Which is frustrating as it's the kind of story I could have used on this blog ad nauseum. "Speaking about the lizardman, some guy scared of an intruder while dressed as Thor. How cool is that?" That kind of thing. However, when it comes to news items I should've picked up on at the time but didn't, the Scottish Thunder God claims a distant second.

When I started this blog I used an old saying that “For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation will do”. It was a way of saying you'll either enjoy this blog, or you won't, there won't be an in-between. It's actually something I read once about professional wrestling. You'll either love it, or you'll loathe it. And those who do love it will never be able to convince those who don't otherwise and vice versa.

Which is why I don't tell an awful lot of people that I'm a fan of professional wrestling (Gee Note: So posting it on an online blog makes perfect sense I guess. Jeez I really should start thinking these through). It tends to bring all kinds of baggage with it. And in all honesty you can't blame people for looking down on wrestling. I mean for every five star Curt Henning – Bret Hart match there's a promoters son in law simulating intercourse with a mannequin on national television.

But I grew up with wrestling. Some of my most cherished memories as a child involve watching videos of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant (Gee Note: By the way I was all kinds of Mr. Smartypants in the pub the other night when I knew who used to drive Andre the Giant to school in the morning. It was Irish playwright and poet Samuel Beckett. Yep, the writer of Waiting for Godot drove the man who would be Fezzick around as a kid. See? Who needs Stephen Fry when you have me? No one, that's who). I loved the theatrics, the fun of knowing that in the end the good guy will win. And I loved Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

Ventura was an ex-navy seal, who broke in to wrestling in the mid 70's playing a beach dwelling, body building bully (Gee Note: The kind of guy who would kick sand in the face of someone like, er, me). Unfortunately blood clots in his lungs cut his wrestling career short, and by 1984 he was looking for a new vocation. So he decided to step out of the ring and instead take a seat behind the mic as a colour commentator.

Ventura was a revelation behind the stick. Playing up to his bad guy persona, Jesse would cheer on the bad guys, make fun of the good guys, and had a fantastic chemistry with Gino “Gorilla Monsoon” Marella. He was quick witted, knew when to play it straight and when to ham it up, and would ask the questions that fans at home were asking themselves. And for a small Welsh boy, Jesse “The Body” Ventura was the voice of wrestling.

What makes it all the more remarkable is that Ventura is really a man one can respect. He tried organising a labour union for wrestlers in the mid 1980's, something that the industry desperately needs even now. He sued Vince McMahon and the WWF after he had discovered that he had been swindled out of royalties for VHS/DVD rights and won. He ran for Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and won. He ran for Governor of Minnesota and won that too, where he was a passionate advocate of gay rights. He appeared in a number of blockbusting films such as Predator, The Running Man, and Demolition Man and has written a best-selling autobiography. The guys a walking success story.

And then last September this video started doing the rounds.

Awww Jesse. What the hell man?

For a start nothing says crackpot like the bald head plus mullet look. I mean if you want people to take you seriously, turning up in front of the media looking like a hobo who enjoys wearing golfing slacks probably isn't a great idea.

Look I agree with a lot of it. I agree the war in Iraq had absolutely no basis what so ever. I joined protests opposing it. Seriously my anti Iraq stance has never been in question. And I agree that the investigation in to the aftermath of 9/11 has at best been badly mishandled. And yes the Patriotism Act is the worst law to be passed in America since the end of the civil rights movement.

But Jesse you ask a lot of redundant questions here. Like why did the third building fall down for example. It's a goddam sky scraper in the middle of New York. Do you honestly think that the architect who designed the building for one second thought “Hmm, it's big and it'll stand up on it's own, but what if Godzilla comes to town?”. Of course not. It fell down because a plane was never supposed to fly in to a building next to it. And the argument of “Why haven't they banned hot plates/ smoking from these buildings if fire caused it?” is also insanely daft. A lit cigarette will never cause the same type of devastation as a passenger plane flying in to a building. It's like getting attacked by a Triffid and then banning roses because they have thorns.

(A Triffid)

(A Rose)

But here's the big one. Why weren't the jets scrambled? And why did it take two years for the government to order an investigation? And really the answer is a lot simpler than men in dark suits manipulating society so that they can go and fight some folks with a different coloured skin.

You want to know what the answer is?

OK you ready?

The American Government screwed it up.

Simple as that. They didn't scramble any jets because for a brief period the people who run America turned in to the Keystone Cops. And when the planes hit and all hell broke loose they were looking for something to deflect the attention away from themselves. That's why there wasn't an investigation until two years down the line. That's probably the reason Iraq was invaded. I mean Iraq resonates a hell of a lot more with the American public than Afghanistan does. That's also why things like the terror level alert going up on the day of the Democratic convention happened. It's to keep people thinking “How can we stop this?” instead of “Why didn't we stop this?”.

The truth is the people who flew two aeroplanes in to the World Trade Centre on September 11 2001 are the ones responsible for the loss of over 3000 lives. The American Government simply failed to stop them when they had the chance. So ask yourself some questions Governor. Can you blame them for being slightly evasive? How could anybody honestly be expected to stand in front of one person, just one person, and say “I made a mistake. If I hadn't made that mistake, 3000 people may be alive today.”? How about saying that same thing to the entire World?

But you know what Jesse, I give you credit for not asking if it could happen again. Because of course it will. Whether it be tomorrow or in a million years time, at some point the person with the power to stop it will screw up again. And whether it be America, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, wherever, whichever nation it is will have a terrible tragedy on it's hands.

9/11 was a horrible atrocity where the bad guys committed mass murder in cold blood. The good guys, yes good guys, messed up and then didn't come clean about it. And I can't help but feel “What good would it have done if they did?”. Would it have brought any of those people back? Would it have somehow helped heal a broken country to find out it's elected leaders aren't infallible?

Many people died on that horrible day. And constantly pointing the finger with one accusation after another doesn't honour their memory in anyway. So please Jesse, do them and yourself a favour. Start asking the right questions. Like what we can do to help those effected by this tragedy for example. That way you can really use your influence and fame to make a difference. Maybe even finally get the chance to play the good guy.

You know, it's tough when a childhood hero does something you don't agree with. Maybe, as in this case, some stories should just stay missed.

1 comment:

Naveed said...

Well put Gee. I've grown so tired of everyone pointing fingers at people over the whole thing. And do not get me started on one Micheal Moore.

Oh, and I bet that Ace the Body Ventura's new look probably threw off his "sexual tyrannosaurus" look lol.