In 1982, actor/comedian Andy Kaufman and a professional wrestler named Jerry “The King” Lawler appeared as guests on Late Night with David Letterman together, and an altercation ensued.
Kaufman had been involved in the pro wrestling circuit for some time at that point and had made a show of playing the universally despised misogynistic heel as the defender of the so-called Inter-Gender Championship, where he wrestled women and taunted the crowd while spouting sexist insults. At some point, he ran afoul of Lawler, who injured the offensive Hollywood star’s neck with a piledriver slam before a crowd of cheering fans. The two were then brought onto Letterman’s show for some jolly entertainment, but Lawler grew angry and slapped the neck brace-wearing Kaufman in the face, who let loose a string of words that you cannot say on television and stormed off the set, making headlines the next day.
It was not until 10 years after Kaufman’s death that it was revealed that the entire thing had been staged and that he and Lawler were good friends.
Did you know that Donald Trump is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame? Check their website if you don’t believe me. The man was literally a pro wrestling heel for a time. There are videos of him clotheslining WWE’s CEO Vince McMahon at Ford Field in 2007.
Trump is a known fan of the theater of pro wrestling. He appreciates it. He studies it. He’s participated in it.
Just like Andy Kaufman.
I’m bringing this up now because my Facebook news feed is currently filled with the righteous indignation of my liberal and feminist friends voicing their outrage over how Donald Trump treated Hillary Clinton during last night’s debate performance. He was so sexist and rude! He talked over her, he disrespected her, he gaslighted and mansplained, he’s an oaf and a liar.
I’d like to offer a soothing voice of reassurance to people stressing themselves out about that stuff at this time: Donald and Hillary were just playing. It was all a performance. They’re just a pair of extremely wealthy pals playfully collaborating to kill the progressive awakening in America.
Oh. I guess that’s kinda worse, huh? Ahh well. At least now you can stress about real stuff instead.
It’s true, though. Donald and the Clintons have a longstanding and well-documented friendship that goes back decades. They play golf together. They go to each other’s weddings. Politico reports that their kids play together. According to a report from The Washington Post, Mr. Trump and Mr. Clinton even shared a long phone call prior to Trump’s announcement that he’d run for president, wherein associates of both men confirm that Bill encouraged Donald to run. They’re tighter than Kaufman and Lawler.
In pro wrestling, the terms “face” and “heel” are very important. The face is the good guy, the hero, the one people cheer for. The heel takes a little more skill as a performer, because as the villain, he has to make the audience hate him. Together the face and the heel work to suck the audience into the act, where they can forget about the reality of their cold, hard lives and get lost for a time in the fake punches and pins and piledrivers. They help the audience escape into the comforting fantasy that we live in a world where heroes are rewarded and celebrated, and villains don’t hide what they are.
Donald Trump is a brilliant heel. Hillary struggles as a face, but Donald’s high-level pro wrestling chops are more than enough to make up for the talent discrepancy and let the audience get lost in the show, and hopefully lull the progressive awakening back to sleep.
And that’s all this has ever been about. The Republican party is on the verge of collapse, and the only thing stopping the Democrats from seizing total control are these pesky Berniecrats who won’t stop making noise and waking people up to what’s happening. Bernie Sanders revealed that there are a whole lot more true progressives in America than anybody had realized, and the DNC had to work real hard to stack the deck against them.
The Democrats don’t fear the right, they fear the left. They fear progressives’ ability to stagnate and reverse their agenda of using America’s overinflated military might, trade deals, rigged primaries and state-reinforced corporate power to leverage the world into endless war, wage slavery, economic disparity, exploitation, and ecocide.
Trump and the Clintons are collaborating to do exactly that. Trump works up the crowd of poor people on the right who’ve been exploited by corporatism and Wal-Mart economics, Hillary rallies the victims of wage slavery and racism on the left, and they play out this act of face and heel in a way that surely delights Vince McMahon. And Andy Kaufman, wherever he is.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]