Senate candidate Linda McMahon ran a wrestling empire that, like pornography, is built on sex and violence.
How low can politics go?
That’s what I’ve been wondering as I learn about Linda McMahon, the professional wrestling entrepreneur and likely Republican nominee for the US Senate from Connecticut. Together with her husband, Vince, she has developed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) into a $1.2 billion company. She reportedly plans to spend up to $50 million of this treasure to capture a Senate seat.
But pro wrestling is not just any business. To put it simply, McMahon’s fortune is built on violence and vulgarity. Anyone who cares about the future of our country should join hands to make sure she never joins the Senate.
If you think otherwise, look at clips from WWE's recent past. You’ll see enormous human beings pummel one another with sledgehammers, garbage cans, and folding chairs. They deliver blows to the face, neck, and groin, often drawing blood.
They denounce rivals with signature gestures and curses, made famous by WWE’s relentless marketing machine. One former WWE star, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, was best known for his raised middle finger. Other wrestlers preferred sexually vulgar utterances.
Indeed, there has been almost as much sexual imagery outside the ring as there is violence inside it. Over the past decade, the WWE has invented R-rated plotlines for its wrestling characters. Only a few can be cited in a family newspaper, but one involves a wrestler who played a pimp – complete with his own line of barely clothed women, whom he blithely called his “hos.”
Women compete in the ring, too, adding yet another element of sleaze. In the WWE’s now-defunct “Bra and Panties” event, they tried to strip one another down to their underwear; in the “Pudding Match,” they wrestled in a pit of chocolate; and in the “Paddle and Pole” competition, the winner was the first woman to climb a pole, obtain a paddle, and strike her opponent.