Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, and the Tea Party

I was always a fan of Jack Swagger. I enjoyed his push ups, I liked his flying around like an eagle soaring high above, and I always thought he had a lot of upside in the actual act of doing the wrestles. He's a good wrestler that was only held back by his inability to talk.

His humorless Kurt Angle shtick ran its course quickly after he stopped working with Dolph Ziggler. After a few adventures on Mars he came back and had a new fire in his belly. That fire was racism, or patriotism if you're one of those people.

His friend, Zeb Colter, has been doing the talking and has been rather controversial. Instead of getting into what has been said it is easiest to direct you to their YouTube videos.

There's two ways I approach this. First, is as a wrestling fan. As a wrestling fan I'm not sure how this angle plays out. Like I said above, I like Jack Swagger and this seems like a dead-end gimmick for him. He obviously can't win long term with this angle, and at a certain point this shtick won't work. Worse, my bleeding heart has a bit of sympathy for jobber types so once this angle runs its course and he ends up jobbing to Fandango it'll just make me feel sympathetic for him.

As a fan of wrestling and politics, however, this angle is really exciting. The thing I like most about it is that it is not too obvious and is not as on the nose as it could be. It would be very easy to have Colter and Swagger yell derogatory comments and just become a South Park parody. Instead they use language that is grounded in the reality of today's right.

It would be easy for Zeb Colter to be entirely too villainous, but instead he uses many of the same code words and way of phrasing things as the actual Tea Party. Instead of talking about how he hates brown people he instead talks about America and it being a "City on a Hill". His arguments are completely in line with what is fairly mainstream in conservatism. I'm sure many of you have family members that would be near indistinguishable from Zeb Colter.

One only has to look at Michele Bachmann's statements on the Pigford Settlement and white farmers harmed by floods, Sarah Palin's constant yammering about "real Americans", or just an otherwise quick glance at RedState or Free Republic to see how realistic Zeb colter is.

I'm somewhat hopeful of where this angle could go after the inclusion, or at least the attempted inclusion, of Glenn Beck. In Colter and Swagger's video inviting Beck to Raw they constantly refer to Beck's "followers". That's a peculiar way to phrase things and not altogether inaccurate. Going after Glenn Beck the way they did shows a certain degree of perspective that one can assume the WWE wouldn't otherwise have.

Many of the reasons for the Tea Party and the rise of right wing populism stem from economic despair that is entirely too understandable and sympathetic. While it is too easy to wave your hand and speak of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh whipping these people into a frenzy for ratings and money as the exclusive reason for the Tea Party and its racism (and this is something I've seen many liberals say, because the real reasons for these people are with issues liberals do not wish to address), there is a small bit of truth to the belief that the tail wags the dog.

Further positioning Zeb colter as an almost cult like leader of Jack Swagger works as an interesting critique of these media personalities by the McMahons. Linda McMahon, despite being terrible in almost every way a member of the bourgeois class is able to be terrible, was a fairly mainstream Republican. She thought she had a decent chance at becoming Senator of Connecticut, and one must wonder how much the McMahons blame the Tea Party for shoving them far to the right and becoming unelectable in a blue state like Connecticut.

So much of the Zeb Colter story seems to be a broadside from the McMahons at the Tea Party and the media darlings associated with it. It makes a lot of sense that they are going to depict the Tea Party in an unsavory way. Moving forward I hope they allow this angle to run its course, but for Swagger to get a change of heart and understand that him and Yoshi Tatsu aren't so different afterall and that instead of yelling at poor immigrants he should start hurting hedge fund managers and politicians that support globalization. And he should rename all of his moves after Emma Goldman.

No war but class war, brothers and sisters.

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