Season 2 Episode 9 Part 2

Shownotes

With Kayfabe introduced, we turn our attention to how it became adopted by the rest of the world. Within the complex web of tangents, examples, and backstories – I hope the fundamental point I was trying to make was clear:

The modern world behaves like professional wrestling. By understanding the rules of Kayfabe, you can start making sense of it.

The final scene of the wrestler that I cover in the episode. The whole film is amazing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV3i2SeXhSM

One Fox News’ infamous reportes going off on CNN:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RfxS5Om3Yk

A series of videos showing the buildup and post-fight brawl of McGregor v Nurmagomedov:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc56YrGbwu0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCzeyg774Vs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so8rbsKIeMw 

 

Transcript

Deep down we all know that something isn’t quite right. Sure, the buses run on time, the shelves at the supermarket are full, and there’s petrol in the pumps. But there are brief moments in time when we are made aware that chaos lurks below the surface, and order is just an illusion placed on top.

Our society is not as concrete as it seems. It is made up of myths and stories, built upon the myths and stories that came before. Layers of half lies and mistruths forming the sedimentary bedrock into which we dig our foundations.

Nestled deep within our psyche is our defining trait: the desire to find meaning in fiction. This trait is arguably our biggest strength. It’s what binds us together, what makes us human. In the right hands, it is a powerful force that leads armies, ignites movements, and builds empires. But in the wrong hands, it is our biggest weakness.

This is Tim Quit His Job, the show that follows me on my adventures into the unknown, as I quit my job and set out on a journey of business and discovery. It’s written and recorded by me – Timothy Spinks – and edited by up and coming Hip Hop producer – Henri Victorious. This is part 2 of a 2-part special to finish off the season. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend going back and listening to part 1. Head over to timquithisjob.com for all the episodes, show notes and transcripts. But in the meantime, enjoy the show.

In part 1 we looked at the rise of Kayfabe within the wrestling industry. It’s a good enough story on its own, but unfortunately that is not where it ends. It’s not where Kayfabe ends. Although the wrestlers at the fairs were the first to create and adopt Kayfabe, they were not the last.

The techniques used by the wrestling industry began to spring up everywhere: social media, entertainment, sport, and politics. The fundamentals of kayfabe wove themselves into the fabric of modern society, creating a world that is inherently deceptive and impossible to understand.

Well, almost impossible. By understanding Kayfabe and looking at everything as though it’s one big wrestling match, you start to see that there is some method to this madness.

Any investigation into fakeness in the modern age has to start with social media. We all know that most of what we see on social media isn’t the real deal, but when I thought about social media in terms of Kayfabe, and whether any of it mirrored professional wrestling, I was shocked to see how closely it does.

The main thing I noticed had to do with one of the fundamental tenants of Kayfabe – the creation of an alter ego. All wrestlers create characters, avatars of themselves that might either have some connection to who they really are – or be complete fabrication. And to varying extents, we all do the same thing on social media.

It’s a slippery slope. The content that we post goes through a number of filters before it is released. First, we choose which moment we want to photograph, usually at a time when we are looking our best. Then we might take a number of pictures, so that we can choose the best one to publish. And then often these photos are edited to make the subject look better. A simple filter to make the subject more prominent, or a photo editor that removes wrinkles, enlarges the eyes, and trims the waist. As the subject moves through each layer of the process, they become more alienated from who they really are. Piece by piece, this process creates a caricature of the subject that gets cemented into the minds of the audience, and the mind of the creator.

The longer we keep this up, the more different our caricature become to us. What then forms is an unrealistic alter ego that we cannot keep up with. Compared to the alter ego, we are less attractive, less interesting, and less socially active.

We are used to feeling a sense of inadequacy, a sense of less, when we compare ourselves to others. When we try and keep up with the Jones’ as they say. Much has been made about how the exposure to the lives of others via social media magnifies this feeling. But this point misses a much more twisted and sinister side effect. With the creation of these alter egos, we now feel a sense of less when we compare ourselves, to ourselves.

For many, this is a source of constant anxiety and self-loathing, as the mirror shatters and betrays the illusion we have created. It’s enough to make people feel uncomfortable leaving the home without looking their absolute best. It’s enough to stop them from venturing outdoors without a full face of Instagram makeup. It’s enough to make them undergo painful and expensive cosmetic surgery so that they can look the same as their alter egos.

We spend our realities working to uphold the illusions we have constructed. Each time we post, falling deeper and deeper into a dangerous cycle. Just like the wrestlers, who were not allowed to break character outside of the ring, so too have we become slaves to our virtual personas. Our online alter egos.

This shift towards the prioritisation of our alter egos is central to the plot of the movie ‘The Wrestler’. A film which follows an aging professional wrestler who struggles with a lifetime of serious injuries, financial hardship, and the growing hatred his daughter has for him. His real life becomes so bad, that he retreats further into his character’s alter ego, the only source of pride he has left. Such is the extent to which he favours the life of his character, that he takes on one final wrestling match with his old arch nemesis, knowing full well that by doing so, his heart will give out and he will die. The final moment of the film, and of his life, is of him standing on the top rope. He looks out painfully across the crowd, hoping to see his estranged daughter. Maybe she has forgiven him and come to support him. She hasn’t. With the crowd screaming his name, he raises his fists into the air, completely lets go of his real life, and leaps off the top rope, performing his character’s signature move, and dying in the process.

When I see the extent people are prepared to go to keep up with their online persona, I think of the punishment that the wrestler in the film puts himself through. And I often wonder, if just like that wrestler, the lives of some people’s alter egos, have become more important than their own.

There’s an interesting philosophical question that gets thrown around a lot these days. It confronts the nature of reality and asks whether we are living in a simulation? Depending on who answers that question, you could be told anything from ‘it’s unlikely’ all the way to ‘it’s a mathematical certainty’. Either way, perhaps more pertinent a question asks whether or not we are living in a simulation that we, ourselves, have created? By that, I am referring to whether the arena of social media, one filled with avatars and alter egos; actions and reactions; love and heartbreak, could be described as being a simulation. If so, are those who engage with it more than they engage with the real world essentially already ‘living’ inside of one?

In the most well-know popular depiction of simulation theory in action – The Matrix – the humans are connected to a simulation via tubes plugged into the brain. Disconnect these tubes, and the humans return to reality. In our own example, we are physically disconnected from the simulation by a space. It’s about 50cm – the distance between our phone screens and our eyes. A void across which the simulation travels. If it wasn’t for our addiction to our phone screens, it would be easy for us to enter back into the real world. Just put your phone away and look up. But over the next couple of decades, the simulation will narrow this space and move closer to the human body through smart lenses over our eyes or chips implanted into our brains. When this happens, it will become harder and harder to disconnect. Perhaps one day, we will have moved so many layers deep into our virtual worlds, that we’ll forget what reality was like.

The world of showbusiness and entertainment has always been one of exaggeration, excess and extremes. In many ways, it’s always been fabricated: airbrushed, filtered and carefully manufactured.

But in recent years, I’ve noticed the whole thing get a lot more pro wrestling. Particularly within the music industry, and Hip Hop in particular, the rise of fake personalities and fake rivalries typify a slide towards Kayfabe.

It’s not uncommon for musicians to take on fake names and alter egos, composers have been doing that for centuries. And recently, some of our heroes and idols – like Elton John and Freddie Mercury – changed their names to fit the image they were trying to project. But in a bid to glamourise themselves and sell a story that just isn’t true, many artists now engage in the deliberate Kayfabrication of an alter ego that they convince the public is real. In the process, they may glamourise a lifestyle that is anything but, and tempt people towards criminal lifestyles that end up being far uglier than the music videos depict. Now this, I have a problem with.

Floridian rapper Rick Ross is a prime example. Rick Ross is more than a man, he’s an idea. He embodies the caricature of a drug kingpin in Miami, who gained all of his money and respect in the cocaine industry. Nearly every song references his fictional organised crime lifestyle – the killings, the women, the cars, the money. I remember in one of my favourite songs of his he raps the line ‘I know Pablo and Noriega, the real Noriega he owe me a hundred favours’. By this, he is claiming that he has a close relationship with deceased Colombian kingpin – Pablo Escobar – as well as having General Manuel Noriega – the former dictator of Panama – owe him a personal favour. Wow Rick, that’s quite the friends list you’ve got there. As you can imagine, none of this is actually true. Not only is the whole image of him being a drug kingpin a complete fantasy, it emerged a few years ago that he actually used to work for the criminal justice system. Turns out he used to be a corrections officer in South Florida.

The emergence of photos of him in the uniform prompted a backlash within  the hip hop industry, with 50 Cent releasing a diss track called Officer Ricky in retaliation. My problem with Rick Ross, is that he is both profiting off a lie, and making the cocaine industry of South Florida seem far more glamorous than it actually is. He knows this from his time as a corrections officer, seeing the effect that crime and prison have on people’s lives and aspirations. And yet, he poses with the cars and video hunnies, enticing young people into a life of criminality.

The other side of Kayfabe in Hip Hop comes in the form of fake rivalries, aka Fake Beef. Beef in hip hop is as old as the artform itself, and there have often been touches of exaggeration in the past. But not like this. Since about 2010, it has become almost a rite of passage to be engaged in some kind of rivalry. And more often than not, the whole thing is completely made up. Why? Rivalries and feuds sell, and they know it. Many of the famous beefs of the past decade – Drake and Meek Mill, Eminem and MGK, Cradi B and Nicki Minaj, even Cardi B and her own husband! – have all been made up by the clever marketing teams that surround the artists.

But who can blame them for starting fake beef. Modern hip hop evolved in the shadow of Tupac and Biggie. Two of the world’s most successful rappers who started out as great friends, but ended up trapped in a fatal blood feud.  In the early days of their careers, they inspired and encouraged each other. But their relationship broke down after Tupac claimed Biggie tried to get him killed, after he was shot 5 times during an armed robbery. Tupac then moved and joined a West Coast record label, starting a nasty dispute with the East Coast label Biggie was signed to. Their beef, between two men, created an escalating dispute between the East and West Coast. A rivalry that culminated in the murder of Tupac, followed shortly thereafter by the murder of Biggie.

However tragic that conflict turned out to be, at its peak it made the record labels millions of dollars, with diss tracks like ‘Who shot Ya’ by Biggie and ‘Hit Em Up’ by Tupac remaining classics to this day.

The kayfabrication of modern hip hop beef is a way to get the best of both worlds. A way to capture the mouth-watering profits of rivalry, whilst avoiding the bloodshed.

Perhaps the last place I expected Kayfabe to pop up is within the fight industry. As the arena of pure combat, I hoped that it would be immune from theatrics. But then again, maybe it was destined to appear here – an almost prophetical repetition of the past. It was Catch Wrestling after all, itself an authentic form of combat, that was the very first adopter of Kayfabe. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to see it creeping into MMA and boxing in the modern world too.

Just like the music industry, fake beefs and caricatures now seem to be driving public interest in the shows. But unlike the music industry, the fight game still maintains a site of raw authenticity that sits at the heart of the spectacle: The cage. The boxing ring. Once the boxer steps through the ropes, or the cage door close behind fighter, they cross through the portal from illusion, to reality, into a sacred place of legitimate competition where there can be no Kayfabe. Where everything is raw and authentic – or is it?

One doesn’t need to go very far within the fight game to see the tendrils of Kayfabe creeping into its scared place. All you need to do is look at the most famous fighter on earth – Connor Mcgregor. McGregor rose to the top of the sport not just because he is an unbelievably good striker, but because he is an even better shit-talker. In the history of the sport, no one has been able to sell a fight like Connor McGregor. By creating bitter rivalries out of thin air and turning every fight into a grudge match, he was able to amplify the pre-fight drama, adding more weight and importance to each spectacle. This drew in the fans, put more on the line, and hence paid off more when he won. As was the case with his Jose Aldo title fight, the Kayfabricated rivalry he created not only drew in a ridiculous number of pay-per-view buys, but also played a part in his victory. He managed to get under the skin of Aldo, causing him to tense up uncharacteristically at the beginning of the fight and get knocked out by the first punch that McGregor threw.

This ability to market fights just like the WWE reached its pinnacle in the build-ups to his fights against Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Against Mayweather, when he switched over to professional boxing, there seemed to be a deal struck between the two that they were going to make the buildup as ridiculous and hyper-aggressive as possible – without being violent. They knew full well the financial returns that this approach would bring. In a series of highly staged pre-fight events, the two of them carried out a number of bizarre acts in an attempt to demonstrate their financial, physical, and even sexual dominance over one another. It got weird, very weird. When it came to the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, McGregor took things way too far. Nurmagomedov, a humble Muslim family man from the mountains of Dagestan, was only interested in the chance to fight and defend his honour. McGregor on the other hand, was more interested in making the build-up as nasty and offensive as possible, using it as a platform to sell his newly released whiskey brand – Proper 12.

When these two build-ups came to fruition in the ring, the line between Kayfabe and reality began to blur. In the Mayweather fight, it appeared as though a very dominant Mayweather was putting on a show, deliberately letting Connor make it all the way to the 10th round before forcing the ref to intervene and stop the fight. Mayweather confirmed this afterwards, making it clear that he only let him get that far in order to ‘put on a show’ and increase the money making potential of a rematch.

With Khabib, by the time the fight started the situation had gotten out of control. McGregor had repeatedly insulted Khabib’s homeland, family, and religion. He even threw a metal trolley at a bus Khabib was in, shattering the glass and cutting the faces of the UCF fighters inside. Before the fight, it seemed like all of Ireland and Russia hated each other. Fireworks were certain to fly.

The fight began and as many expected, Khabib dominated from start to finish. At one point in the fight, after being on the receiving end of some nasty ground n pound from the Russian, McGregor gets up and says to Khabib ‘hey, it’s only business’. By doing so, he is admitting that everything he did beforehand was just a show, an act. And perhaps he is pleading with him a bit. Perhaps he said it in the hopes that some of the Kayfabe could seep into their fight, and Khabib could go a bit easy on him in the remaining rounds. Either way, Khabib certainly didn’t, unleashing a further beating on McGregor before submitting him with a neck crank. When the referee stopped the fight, unlike in a usual match when all the anger of the buildup subsides, the whole arena broke out into pandemonium. Khabib leapt over the cage and dived straight into a group of Mcgregor’s entourage, swinging wildly; Khabib’s family members leapt into the cage and started hitting McGregor from behind; and groups of Irish and Russian fans started brawling in the stands. It was crazy. The pantomime of the buildup became the reality of the post-fight riot. It was a symbol that the Kayfabe that had been used to promote the fight had become manifest. As Khabib flew into the crowd, reality entered the Kayfabe. As Khabib’s cousins leapt into the ring, Kayfabe entered reality.

What we saw that night could just be an example of a rivalry getting out of hand. Or it could be a symbolic warning. A warning that the theatrics used for publicity might find their way into the ring. If this happens, then just like Catch Wrestling of old, the sports we love will lose their authenticity, and we will be turned from fans into marks.

It doesn’t take a part time podcaster to notice that politics is somewhat theatrical. British and American politics plays out like a low-budget pantomime. But it also plays out like a wrestling match. In fact, the whole political arena seems to have fallen under the spell of Kayfabe.

This Kayfabe is centred on the two-party dynamic that pervades our political system. A classic ‘face’ and ‘heel’ performance that provides the audience with both the illusion of choice, and the illusion that any real change will be introduced.

Just like the wrestlers who put on their makeup backstage and enter the ring as characters opposed to one another. The politicians, underneath their makeup and costume, remain largely similar, no matter what side of the aisle they are on.

Mass media, in my opinion, plays the most important role in maintaining this Kayfabe, perhaps because they are the ones who seem to gain the most from it. The seesawing, rhythmic to and thro that happens as parties take it in turn to lead, is largely powered by the ever-changing allegiances of the mass media. In the UK, the mass media moguls decide the result of nearly every election beforehand, with their coordinated press coverage holding great sway over the psyche of the British electorate. Before an election, they will communicate with both parties, asking each what they can offer them and their friends in the world of business. Whoever can offer the most, gets the support of the newspapers. And most likely, gets the victory.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, newspapers in the UK switched from supporting the conservatives, to supporting Tony Blair’s Labour.  Despite backing the previous Conservative party for three consecutive terms, their headlines read. Tony Blair: Give Change A Chance.

But is that change? It seems to me that there is a constant. In both cases, the owners and orchestrators of the mass media get exactly what they want. The audience watch on, believing that what they are seeing is genuine competition, when in reality, it is a Kayfabricated spectacle, designed to entertain and enthral the audience to the extent that they do not question what they are actually watching unfold.

The Kayfabe of UK politics creates a gentle and convenient seesaw for the politicians and their parties, it creates a revolving door between politics and the media, and it allows for the interests of the financial elite to determine election results via the strong arm of the mass media.

This is why, when someone comes along who threatens to break Kayfabe, someone who ‘shoots’ more than he ‘works’, the players who gain the most from Kayfabe fight tooth and nail to shut them down. That is exactly what happened with the rise and demise of Jeremy Corbyn

The people who voted him to leadership at party level were not under the spell of Kayfabe. You could argue they were under the spell of something else. Populism, Idealism, perhaps even anti-capitalism. But these were the minority who, for any flaws they may have had, saw though the layer of Kayfabe, recognised Corbyn as a genuine alternative to the established political order, and enabled him to get the Labour party leadership on numerous occasions.

But there were insurmountable obstacles that blocked him from going further.

All of those who stood to gain from the established political order rallied against Jeremy Corbyn: The conventional political players, the mass media, and the world of big business converged against him. Even his own party, sworn to support him, undermined him at every turn. Labour party officials even went as far as self-sabotage, deliberately trying to lose the election so that Corbyn would be ousted, and they could return to playing on the convenient seesaw of the established political order.

In an unprecedented continuous public assault, the mass media painted him out to be a racist terrorist sympathiser, and big business warned that he would send us back to the stone age. He may have held sway amongst those who saw him as a break from the norm, but amongst the general public, who were still well and truly intoxicated by the dramatic allure of kayfabe, he was not to be trusted.

When he was at his lowest, after enduring smear, after smear, after smear, a general election was announced, and he got annihilated in one of the worst defeats of all time. The political system breathed a sigh of relief, the seesaw could continue seesawing, and the revolving door could continue revolving.

I have to say, it was hard to watch him endure all that abuse over the years. I didn’t agree with all of his politics. But in him I saw someone that put his humanity, empathy, and honesty above his political career. He was just so genuine. Too genuine. I hope that in my lifetime we see someone who can, like Jeremey, puncture through the dark of cloud of Kayfabe that shrouds British politics. Be they liberal, labour, or conservative – it doesn’t really matter. In a world that increasingly favours spectacle and deception, authenticity is a rare and precious trait.

In America, as you might expect, the situation is more extreme. For starters, the kayfabe of the mass media has gone beyond the fickle seesawing that we see in the English media. In America, the news outlets have well and truly stepped into the ring and joined the fight. Over the last few decades, there has been a steady decline in objectivity and a noticeable rise in polarization, as the outlets become unashamedly affiliated on party lines. Most notably, you’ve got the firebrand Fox News as the Republican Cheerleaders, and the once impartial CNN, now firmly backing the democrats.

CNN and Fox News have both given up pretending that they are even trying to be fair and balanced. Each side makes their team out be the good guys and the opposition the bad guys. The networks have become caricatures of themselves, melting into the stereotypes that satirise the left-right divide of American politics. As a result, they have created polarising echo chambers. The American public now no longer tune in to the news to be told what is happening, they tune in to be told that their view on the world is correct, and that the other side is wrong and must be stopped at all costs.

Unlike the UK media, who deliberately keep one foot out of the ring, so that they may step back in on whichever side they chose, the US media has realised that in a deeply divided country like America – it pays more to fight than spectate.

In the same way that styles of kayfabe change depending on the country and location. So too can they change over time, as one deceptive political game is replaced by another. That is exactly what was on the brink of happening in America, stopped, at least for the moment, by Joe Biden’s successful presidential campaign.

Prior to Donald Trump, there was an old order to US politics: the 2-party system, the career politicians, the lobbyist groups, the Washington insiders, the corrupt Democratic National Committee. All this made up the previous game that served the interests of the players, whilst maintaining the illusion of a genuine contest of ideas. Be they led by a half-wit republican or a half-Kenyan Democratic, the drones kept flying and the bombs kept falling. This was the air of certainty that was provided by the traditional Kayfabe of US politics.

Then along came Donald Trump. A rank outsider. A media personality and businessman who appeared to be unshackled by the rules of the game. He was playing a different game entirely. Trump came with his own Kayfabe, his own style of politics that mirrored the caricatures and spectacle of wrestling, but did so in a way that shattered the illusion of the previous Kayfabe.

The US public saw him as a breath of fresh air, a way to stick it to the man, a way to ‘drain the swamp’.

Exposing the old system for what it was, made him incredibly popular. Playing by a different set of rules, made him invincible.

Trump’s new Kayfabe favoured characters who were media personalities, who identified as being outside of the conventional system, and who had had their success prior to joining the game. Such was the strength of this Kayfabe, that the Democrats nearly chose to adopt it themselves. A couple of years after Trump’s victory, when the Democrats were at an all-time low, I remember that people suddenly got excited at the prospect that Oprah Winfrey might run for them at the next election. Rather than the career politicians waiting in the wings for their chance, the party considered getting their own successful media personality to fight the Republican’s. Reality TV star versus Reality TV star. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

This was a bizarre moment in US politics. Had Oprah decided to go for it, there’s a big chance the DNC would’ve backed her, and Trump’s form of Kayfabe would have been adopted as the standard. But no, they went for Sleepy Joe, and it appears that the old system has survived – for now.

Despite Donald’s Trump failure to revolutionise American politics in this way, his meteoric rise in 2016 is the perhaps the biggest indication of the deep entrenchment of Kayfabe in American politics. I’ve heard many people compare Donald Trump to a wrestling character. The way he commands an audience, exaggerates everything, and simplifies issues to an almost comical battle between good and evil. This Kayfabricated style of delivery enabled him to capture the votes of so many long-time non-voters at the 2016 election, swinging it in his favour. He understood the power that Kayfabe has to engage and captivate an audience. Just like the funfairs of old, who realised that fictional storylines and acrobatic manoeuvrers sold more than real matches, so too did Trump recognise that insulting nicknames and hilarious one-liners would sell more than conventional political debate.

The unbelievable thing is that this analogy about Trump behaving like a pro wrestler, is not an analogy at all. It’s the truth.

Donald Trump has always been a big fan of professional wrestling, and he’s been friends with the owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon, since the 1980s. Perhaps it’s not surprising, given Trump’s love of the limelight, that he eventually became involved with the organisation. He hosted two Wrestlemanias at Trump plaza in the late-80s and did a ring-side interview at an event in 2004. But 2007 is when things really kicked off. Following a drop in the ratings of his TV show, The Apprentice, Trump was looking for more publicity, so McMahon and Trump instigated a fake feud that became part of a WWE kayfabe storyline. This feud lead to a match between Trump and McMahon being organised. Billed as the ‘Battle of the Billionaires’, they would each chose a wrestler to fight on their behalf. In the runup to the fight, the feud kept building until Trump and McMahon signed a contract stating that the winner would get to shave the hair of the loser.

I’ve got to hand it to them, it made amazing television. I watched it whilst doing research for this episode. And even though I knew what was going on beforehand, I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was a wild ride! At one point, Donald Trump runs up to Vince McMahon outside of the ring, and clotheslines him to the floor. The crowd goes wild. After Trump’s wrestler beats McMahon’s, Trump and the referee – Stone Cold Steve Austin, strap McMahon to a chair and shave off his perfect hair, live in front of the audience. After they have finished shaving him, another twist occurs as Steve Austin then turns to Trump and performs his signature move on him, knocking him unconscious. It’s crazy, ridiculous, and completely scripted. But you can’t take your eyes off it.

In the years that followed the battle of the billionaires, Trump was inducted into the wrestling hall of fame. He returned the favour by making Vince McMahon’s wife, Linda, the head of the Small Business Administration when he became president.

Using Kayfabe to describe Donal Trump goes far beyond analogy. Trump learnt the art of Kayfabe from the experts themselves. He stepped into the arena and played both the marks and the smarks. He blurred the line between the illusion of a fake clothesline attack, and the reality of shaving another man’s hair off.

In general, I argue that the world of pro wrestling merely typifies the modern world. It provides a framework for understanding based on the similarities. I don’t actually think that pro wrestling of all things influenced the direction that western society took. But Donald Trump is clearly an exception to this. He crossed between the two worlds. Travelled back through a portal to reality, at which point Donald Trump the man, became Donald Trump the wrestler. This wrestler tore through the republican primaries before the candidates realised that they were now in a wrestling ring, not a political contest. This wrestler re-engaged the millions of Americans who had switched off from politics entirely. This wrestler turned Hilary Clinton, the once respectable politician, into Crooked Hilary the bad guy. This wrestler fought his way from outsider to leader. From illusion to reality. From the Spandex of pro wrestling, to world domination in the white house.

This craziness knows no end. And I worry that we are only just getting started. If anything, I see the world become more deceptive, more ridiculous, and harder to understand. Perhaps we don’t have to wait until we have smart lenses in our eyes, or microchips implanted into our brain, for us to enter into an alternate reality. As the world of kayfabe collides and merges with that of our own, it seems like we might already be living in a kind of simulation.

One that we have created ourselves.

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This