We’ve Been Kayfabed

I guess I’m just as annoyed as the next person (that guy over there) by some of the stuff going on in Washington these days, but I’ve noticed I’m not as flat-out outraged as a lot of people. I assumed this was because I’m old and I’ve seen lots of bad governmental stuff before.

Things may be bad now (from my biased left-wing point of view), but they’ve been just as bad, if not worse, before.

At least that’s how I interpreted my relative calm. But I have a new theory now.

I’m not as upset as I should be because I’m a fan of professional wrestling.

If you’re not familiar with professional wrestling, you may want to check it out. It’s extremely entertaining — a lot like cartoons, with colorful, insane characters who have pianos dropped on them, go flat, and then reinflate and be fine a few minutes later.

I’m not the first to point out the parallel to wrestling. An opinion piece in The New York Times by a lawyer recently explained our president’s appeal to his supporters as a form of kayfabe – a term used in the wrestling world to mean fake events in which everyone involved insists the events are real even through everyone involved and everyone watching knows they’re not.

The president certainly has experience with wrestling kayfabe. Go to YouTube and use this search term: “Trump WWE.”

You will be entertained.

Then consider fake news, the border wall, the over-the-top villainous characters, the shameless boasting. It’s World Wrestling Entertainment, Washington-style. The only difference is that there’s no hope for a title change in the near future.

I don’t know why I didn’t see this before, but the realization came after spotting a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last week against a wrestler named Titus O’Neil (not his real name).

It seems, according to the complaint, that during filming of an episode of a show called “Swerved,” a wrestler named Paige (not her real name) was “featured hunting down fellow WWE ‘Superstars’ with an electric shock stick.”

This might be normal wrestling show activity except for the fact (I think) that “Swerved” is sort of like “Candid Camera” and not all the wrestlers are in on the joke (if you can call it a joke).

So when Titus O’Neil got shocked, he “became enraged and began shouting, and he raced up to” the plaintiff, who was filming the scene, and kicked him.

Who could have guessed that a giant professional wrestler would lash out at the camera in front of him after being shocked?

There may be an assumption of risk defense here.

I read the description of the incident and immediately thought it was kayfabe, yet there it was in a real lawsuit. Then I realized that much of what passes for reality these days seems like kayfabe too.

Epiphanies occur when you least expect them.

By the way, the WWE used to project a huge picture of Vladimir Putin on a wall while a pair of villains — the Bulgarian Brute and the Ravishing Russian — praised him. (Think Boris and Natasha on steroids.) They’ve stopped doing that since the election and since the wife of the WWE chairman got appointed to the Cabinet.

Villains can become heroes overnight in wrestling, too.

More reality? Speaking of things you may have a hard time believing, a Santa Clara University law professor has published a 57-page survey of the “law of emojis.”

According to a brief abstract of the study on “ways the emoji revolution will impact the law,” emojis create issues for judges, including “if and how judges will display emojis in their opinions, if emojis in court opinions will be searchable, and how best to present emojis as evidence to fact-finders.”

I can’t wait for the first single-poop-emoji dissent.

I think we may have been kayfabed.

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