Politico.com’s anticipated article with ex-wrestlers talking about Linda McMahon is out: “Wrestlers lob past at McMahon,” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30316.html.
For people who know a bit about the history of the McMahon family and World Wrestling Entertainment, there’s not a lot here. Some would say that viewing wrestling, and McMahon’s role in it, as sleazy rather than cute at least marks a start.
By far the most credible figure in the story is Bruno Sammartino. Unfortunately, his quote makes him look more like a septugenarian fuddy-duddy than like the person who has spoken eloquently for more than 20 years about the shame of pro wrestling’s pandemic of drugs and death. “I would not vote for her because I know what she contributed to the wrestling world with her husband,” Sammartino is quoted as saying. “The vulgarity, the nudity, the profanity, all that kind of crap — it bothers me.”
I may have blinked and missed it, but I don’t think the reporter even broaches the subject of the generation of WWF/WWE deaths running from Rick McGraw, in 1985, to Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, just last week.
I don’t live in Connecticut and the good citizens of the Constitution State can decide for themselves whom they want to elect next year to the U.S. Senate. Minnesotans elected Jesse Ventura, a wrestler, as governor. Californians elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, a bodybuilder. The idea that Linda McMahon will be disqualified from major elective office simply because wrestling is yucky is a non-starter — morally, I think, as well as politically.
As McMahon’s candidacy proceeds, I hope elite journalists will get beyond what I call “YouTube journalism” — a mere storyboard for all the supposedly embarrassing clips of WWE skits floating around. If Linda McMahon deserves to be held accountable for something, in my view, it’s for her position atop an industry with inexcusable health and safety standards, the proximate cause of the deaths of dozens, if not hundreds, of performers in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.