Linda McMahon vs. Chris Powell: Some Would-Be Libel Defendants Have All the Luck

Published May 31st, 2012, Uncategorized

It’s been almost a year and a half since WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt last threatened to sue me, and he has never done so with the flourish just exhibited by the company in its letter to Manchester (Connecticut) Journal Inquirer columnist Chris Powell. WWE demanded retraction of Powell’s opinion that recidivist Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s family business was, is, or ever will be pornographic.

Frankly, I’m jealous. Downright attention-starved. My seven-year-old daughter won’t even let me neck-fart her any more, and she’s the last of the litter.

Colin McEnroe, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, has a good one about all this, headlined “Wrestling With Linda McMahon – Past And Present.” See http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-mcenroe-wrestling-with-linda-mcmahon-past-pr-20120531,0,5078066.column.

McEnroe’s running joke, and it’s a real rib-tickler, is his attempt to bait a WWE flack into setting ground rules for what a journalist can or can’t say without getting threatened.

This is pertinent for me, because “pornography” is not the first word I would use to describe how Linda McMahon and her husband Vince became centimillionaires. (Though admittedly not the last, either: the introduction to my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon refers, with pseudo-intellectual verbosity, to “pornography of the spirit.”) My effort to get the good people of Connecticut, or anywhere else for that matter, to drop the cultural-values critique of the McMahons in favor of something more substantial – widespread and avoidable industrial death – has mostly fallen on deaf ears.

Damn that Powell. He calls Linda a porn purveyor and what does he get? A letter from the party of the first part sternly instructing correction on behalf of the party of the second part. Meanwhile, I call Linda a death merchant and what do I get? Not so much as a voicemail from Triple H.

So I’m working on a new strategy, one that should be easily understood by the denizens of the gated communities of Fairfield County, where the McMahons live. It’s an offshoot of the old joke about how to get around water rationing during a drought so you can wash your car.

If a roving inspector sees you hosing down your Mercedes, he’ll likely point out that that is not allowed. However, if you have the foresight to park your Mercedes on your tennis court, you can simply inform the inspector that you’re spraying the molten tar off the asphalt, and there’s no regulation against that.

OK. Here goes:

WHY, LINDA McMAHON, YOU EVIL-DOER. THE “COCKTAIL OF DEATH” IN THE INDUSTRY OVER WHICH YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND HAVE PRESIDED  IS AWFUL. IT’S … IT’S … TERRIBLE. IT’S EVEN … PORNOGRAPHIC!

There.

I await the papers from Jerry McDevitt and his Twitter-stalking secretary Eileen Wargo.

 

Irv Muchnick