For Linda McMahon’s WWE, Depraved Is As Depraved Does

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A couple of days ago I noticed that there was a research breakthrough for Fragile X, a genetic disorder that is a leading cause of mental retardation, autism, and other defects. It was an opportunity for me to review for Connecticut blog readers the sleazy story of how Linda McMahon, as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, tried to exploit reports that Chris Benoit’s son had Fragile X while she was managing the fallout of the Benoit murder-suicide in an interview on Good Morning America on June 28, 2007. I did a five-part series with the full background, the interview transcript, and a burr to politicos to go find this damning video.

But little did I know that my comparatively high-minded citation of McMahon’s disgusting use of the word “retardation” would get immediately buried in the fury over yet another tasteless old WWE television clip on YouTube. Indeed, mine was, at best, the third-most-resonant example in the last 48 hours of variations of “retardation” in damaging stories associated with perhaps the weirdest major Senate candidate in the history of the Republic.

First, Sarah Palin called out Rahm Emanuel – to whose Congressional campaigns the McMahon family has contributed – for saying liberal activists were “fucking retarded.”

Then, with the warp speed familiar to contemporary attack politics, the video quickly surfaced of Linda’s son-in-law, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, destroying a mentally handicapped character named “Eugene” in a 2004 WWE steel-cage match.

I wonder if Kevin Rennie is readying his next Hartford Courant column on the ruthlessly efficient war room of McMahon’s Republican primary opponent, Rob Simmons. Last week Rennie called the McMahon machine’s market research scary-good. Rennie was half-right.

In future posts I’ll be breaking down, from my perspective, the roles of Rahm Emanuel and of Mr. Family Values himself, Joe Lieberman. For me, this is not a partisan issue. In Connecticut today, and throughout the country, there is plenty of sleaze to go around.

And I’ll be trying to return everyone’s focus to the real Linda McMahon scandal: the public-health nuisance that professional wrestling has turned into on her watch.

Meanwhile, for McMahon, the lesson is clear: She can run from her WWE past, whose mega-profits are underwriting her $50 million campaign – but she can’t hide.

Or as Forrest Gump might have said, “Depraved is as depraved does.”

Irv Muchnick

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