eric_artem (eric_artem) wrote,
eric_artem
eric_artem

Soap Operas and Redneck Morality Plays

Content advisory 18+ Have you noticed that when one couple or family invites other couples or families as guests, they try to present a positive image? It doesn't always work out that way -- sometimes the grim and gritty truth of mounting disaffection spills out spectacularly over the dinner table and someone (usually female) flees the room in "flood of tears" (to use the British expression). But usually, the hosts pull it off, burying their animosity behind vast Greenlands of frozen smiles.


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I have been invited to such festivities and have hosted one or two myself. I find it amusing when people try to come off as squeakily upbeat and shiny as they can, and meanwhile, you can just sit there and SMELL the mendacity within a rotting relationship festering below the surface.

It's like the soap operas I used to watch occasionally in America if I was maybe sick and had to stay home from school and when there was nothing else on daytime weekday TV to watch. These were the years before Feminism, and the commercials always depicted housewives who were delighted with their shopping bags full of brushes, sponges, and boxes of washing powder or even a birthday or anniversary present from Hubby of a brand new vacuum cleaner. Yippee!!! That was a long time ago, way before you started seeing articles in magazines like "Cosmopolitan" with such titles as "Why Isn't He Giving You The Orgasms You Deserve?"


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Once in a while, these soaps would indeed begin with a wedding ceremony. You would see the bride and groom beaming as they sliced up the wedding cake and exchanged kisses amid approving smiles and affirmative chatter of the guests -- and you knew, you just KNEW.. that all it would take was one more episode before the 'storm clouds' gathered and maybe another two or three (they were on every day) before the happy marriage was in shambles and all that pathetic joy and optimism irretrievably crushed. I used to get a real kick out of that.


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You can say, Wow, what a cold-hearted chap this Eric is. But isn’t it the same when you go to the cinema and see a young couple frolicking together amid the first green buds of love and romance -- and then one of them turns out to be an axe-murderer? I mean, isn’t that the point -- the reason for paying to get in? What good is it if nobody gets their head chopped off? In the end, the killer is unmasked, order is restored, Sanity triumphs. But Evil and INsanity have their moment in the sun, and THAT is the real source of the entertainment. In other words, it’s nice that we have chemotherapy, but imagining the remorseless proliferation of cancer cells inside your own body can provide a morbid kind of adrenalin rush too, don’t you think?

And, you know, it is really fascinating to observe the way in which pop culture and mass production deal with the changing landscape of social trends and mores in Post-Industrial Western society. The Soaps, for example, introduced interracial relationships a long time ago, and now some of the characters are even gay. I have no problem with it, and furthermore, I say Bring On the transgenders, bondage, spanking, and enema crowd -- maybe even one or two who get aroused by amputees. It’s the modern experience, and I for one don’t wish to be denied the chance to bask in its glow. You think I’m joking? Hey, there really are such people, so include them in the cast. Or maybe I should ask: how much can your sophisticated and tolerant minds truly deal with? (I can just hear the director saying, “OK-OK-OK, gay -- that’s cool -- but a scene with a guy who likes his girlfriend’s STUMP? Agh !!! No wayyyyyyyyyy!!”


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It was the same feeling -- this Perversity -- that I experienced when I used to watch Professional Wrestling on television. In Wrestling it was always the Good Guys versus the Bad Guys. Nowadays (I don't see much of it in this part of the world) the characters are a hybrid -- neither 100% good nor 100% bad, but kind of an inflated mixture, and sometimes their roles dart back and forth, as they enter and then break alliances with other prancing ’roid- bullies at the drop of a hat. Their women (and fellow wrestlers usually) are always of the Skank porn-star variety It is part of the great "IN YOUR FACE! " quality of American entertainment and actually the American psyche. Nobody cares about being a good guy anymore. The goal is to have "Attitude", to have "Game" -- and if you show yourself to be nothing but an all-out prick with any kind of sports or musical talent -- fellows like Conor McGregor and Roger Mayweather come to mind, plus an exponential number of rock and rap stars -- so much the better. A kind of wild, unrestrained Exhibitionism will win you more style points than being courteous, accessible, or simply a plain old nice guy and good sport.

Back in the day, the wrestlers all played characters which appealed to every known stereotype of the era. There was a Black guy known as Bobo Brazil who specialized in giving his opponent "Cocoa Butts" -- that is to say "nutting" his opponent with his head. (Black guys were known for housing their Inferior-to-White brains behind VERY hard skulls). The German villains -- who all had a Nazi-like swagger -- were either Count Von Dietrich or "Hans Something-or-Other". Hans Bruner. Hans Schmidt. There was a Frenchman named Paul DeGaulle who was a nasty little twerp. Needless to say, the "Foreigners" ("Furriners" in American pronunciation) were the bad guys. Every time.


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There was a Japanese grappler named Oyama Kato who loved to rub salt in his opponents’ eyes before he put them in his deadly "sleeper hold". There was "Gypsy Joe" who carried a rag soaked in alcohol or some toxic substance hidden in his trunks which he would fish out when the ref's back was turned and use to massage his opponent's (good guy) eyeballs, inducing temporary blindness, after which The Gypsy would administer a generous shellacking while the crowd (also full of "good" people) hissed and booed and brayed.

Then there was "The Sheik". He was always accompanied by some poor, timid servant woman from his “harem”, her face buried in a shawl, to whom he would give a good hiding right there in his corner in front of Allah and the world after she had helped him out of his robe before the match. The crowd would howl their disapproval, but of course, what else would an Arab do but beat his woman? It was part of the show.


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But the very best was reserved for the Russians. (Remember that this was during the Cold War.) There was one guy who went by the name of Ivan Kolov who would always insist on waving the "hammer and sickle" flag of the Soviet Union and singing the so-called "Russian National Anthem" (not the beautiful song of present-day Russia, but some horrible, guttural, throaty ejaculation that sounded like a rusty meat grinder). At this point, the Americans would all pull out their little American flags and start chanting "USA, USA, USA".

If I hadn't been laughing so hard I could gladly have set fire to the whole arena. Professional Wrestling in the USA was really The Redneck Morality Play -- a world painted in black and white, sort of like a comic strip in a newspaper coming to life before your very eyes.. And I ALWAYS pulled for the Bad Guys to win. Just because I liked to see how they fucked with the Good Guys.


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The Good (re: American) Guys? Who were they? What was THEIR 'proposition'? Well, none of them were intellectuals (a quality considered anti-American). They tended to have certain unmistakable Cowboy characteristics -- the kind of cowpokes and rodeo boys (from places like Texas and Oklahoma) who, having served Uncle Sam in the Armed Forces (kicking ass overseas) had now returned to clean up the mess at home and keep everything "safe for democracy."

Home on the Range. And the formula went as follows. The Bad Guys would come out of the gate fast, beating the hell out of the Good Guys. That was for me the best part of the match. But OF COURSE Good would triumph over Evil in the end. The meanies would get their comeuppance. So the Cowboys (and the occasional Indian Chief -- now also among the Good Guys) would win one for all those wholesome and God-fearing Amurrikan folks who had faithfully cheered them on. Not me. I was in tears because Brutus Beefcake, Lex Luger, The Sheik, and The Blob From Parts Unknown had been vanquished.


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Well, now that you see what kind of a monster I really am, let me explain tactfully that indeed I HAVE devoted some thought as to why I am like this. And my conclusion is different from what you probably think.

In reality, nobody is more driven to rage, to literally froth at the mouth, than I am when confronted with the reality of Injustice in the world. (An almost universal situation.) At this point in my life, happy for the most part yet dragging around a soul tinged with bitterness ajar with whatever redeeming serenity I have acquired, I have daydreams where I sit perched onto a firing range stool and spend my hours with a machine gun full of limitless ammo liquidating all of the world’s true and bona fide assholes, starting with the dictators and moving on down the line to pedaphiles, rapists, etc.. I could kill them all in the blink of an eye and then go enjoy a sandwich. .

But I can't. My hands are tied and, besides, I am not, at the end of the day, such a person. It is all fantasy. I have never come near killing anyone and at this point, I surely hope I never will. But that's what I would like to do with the Really bad guys.


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Because in my heart of hearts I want to BELIEVE in goodness. But the seemingly endless hypocrisy of human existence devours my best instincts. Finally, I know the soaps and the wrestling matches are all fake. I vent in the way I know how. It's not real.

Really Evil people -- and there are some -- are terrifying.

But maybe what is worse is my disillusioning experience in life of finding out that so many of the Good Guys were not “good” after all -- but rather wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is what I hate the most. Not Evil showing itself to be Evil, but "Goodness" as a mask to cover Evil. It’s probably why William Blake (famous English poet and artist) said, “It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend.” You expect evil from your sworn enemies, and you deal with it -- all in a day’s work. But when your “friend” betrays you, he rapes your faith and something innocent in you dies. And so, in such a burlesque as "professional" wrestling, or the soaps, etc., I can get a real belly laugh out of watching "pure" evil dismantle pseudo-goodness.

I remember a day long ago when I saw a billboard along some town's street inviting tourists to visit the area. It showed a sunny haven and a strikingly beautiful but also fresh and wholesome young woman smiling vivaciously out to the world and inviting everyone to come and enjoy her city. Very nice. The problem was that numerous obscenities and other morbid disclosures had been spray-painted onto the sign. A grotesque mustache had been drawn over her upper lip and a funky-looking beard placed under the lower lip. One of her eyes had been put out. And a large, snake-like penis with lascivious drops spurting out of the knob towered above a tumbling sack of swaying bollocks, and adorned one of her cheeks.

I laughed like hell. She was much too good for this world. Come to think of it, the Jesus of Christian mythology got pretty much the same treatment, only slightly more severe.


===Eric Richard Leroy===


https://eric-artem.com/soap-operas-and-redneck-morality-plays
Tags: christian mythology, eric, family, mass production, morality play, popular culture, professional wrestling, redneck, remember a day, william blake
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