by Justin Rosario
White Republican voters are in the middle of a slow motion Civil War redux and instead of simply lopping off part of the country and declaring themselves free from the United States and its annoying ban on slavery, the are walling themselves off in an alternate reality. There, they hope they can be safe from a world they hate and despise while indulging their worst instincts without being punished for being a atavistic misanthrope.
They have gated communities to keep things nice and white. They have de facto segregated schools to protect their children from being exposed to Those People. They have their own version of Facebook. They have their own dating sites. They have their own version of Wikipedia. Their own email (seriously). They have an entire universe of “news” outlets dedicated to telling them exactly what they want to hear. Fox News alone is like the dark matter of the right wing universe; it makes up (in both senses) 90% of everything conservatives believe and they don’t even realize it.
And now they’ll have their own liberal-free football:
WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced Thursday he is giving a professional football league another go./It will be called the XFL, the same name of the league McMahon and NBC tried for one season in 2001, but it won’t rely on flashy cheerleaders and antics as its predecessor did, he said./McMahon said he is the sole funding source for the league, which is slated to begin in January 2020.
As the sole funder and owner of all the teams, McMahon will be able to make them do anything he wants. He was quick to announce that the XFL wouldn’t be politically driven but he was even quicker to announce:
“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon said. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”
Translation: We don’t want certain social and political issues coming into play. To hold true to the “no issues” rule, the XFL would have to eschew the cartoonish patriotism that is a hallmark of everything McMahon touches. I remember “The Iron Sheik” and Nikolia Volkoff from the 1980s fighting the “Real American” Hulk Hogan and his team every Saturday morning and McMahon’s politics haven’t become anymore nuanced since then:
The last of the really overtly political storylines came just after Bush was re-elected in 2004, when Muhammad Hassan (deeply tanned Italian-American Marc Copani) and manager Khosrow Daivari (actual Iranian-American Dara Shawn Daivari) debuted on television. The idea was that the two were Arab-Americans born in the States who pled with the fans to judge them for who they were and not by their appearance or religion. Sounds good, right?
It was not good. Each of the pair’s vignettes and eventual in-arena promos featured Daivari yelling Farsi translations and the two kept getting angrier with each appearance. Once Hassan started wrestling, he was a full-blown villain. The experiment went on for several months only to fly off the rails when Hassan avenged Daivari’s “martyrdom” at the hands of The Undertaker—that is, Daivari lost a match to him—by having a squad of masked goons reenact beheading videos by strangling The Undertaker with piano wire.
The only reason this was the “last” overtly political story line was because that last segment ran on the night of the 7/7 London attack and people were furious with WWE for not cutting it. If it hadn’t become bad for business, we’d probably be seeing an ISIS tag team by now.
On the same faux patriotism note, what are the chances the XFL won’t honor the police and military every chance they get? White Republicans voters eat that up like candy because they like to believe it makes them better Americans than those of us that demand accountability from the men and women we empower to take lives in our name. After all, when the military and the police spin out of control, the people they kill are exactly the kind of people white Republicans voters hate the most so why would they ever want them to stop?
We can also expect to see ostentatious display of Christianity work their way into the spectacle over time (if not from the outset). This will be a sport geared towards white Republican voters and that means Jesus fever will be mandatory lest accusations of godlessness be levied against the XFL. After all, America is a Christian nation and not openly praising Jesus is practically unconstitutional in the alternate reality devout white Republican voters live in.
And while Vince McMahon is all about making a profit, we can expect to see a heavy dose of censorship when it comes to advertisement. The NRA, the Koch brothers, and other Republican donors will be more than welcome to put up billboards in XFL stadiums but don’t expect Planned Parenthood’s money to be any good. After all, guns are all-American and not at all political but birth control and cancer screenings? That’s just too controversial! Can’t have that sort of thing upsetting fragile white Republican voters.
The dress code will be interesting to watch as well. Confederate flags welcome! Baggy pants and black lives matter shirts? Probably not so much. The XFL will be a family friendly establishment and they don’t want any trouble. I wonder if that will apply to white power outfits? Somehow, I think they’ll be more than welcome. They may draw the line at actual Nazi regalia. Maybe.
McMahon stated that he doesn’t know whether or not Trump will support his new project but that hardly matters. The XFL won’t need Trump’s approval because, frankly, by the time it gets started, Trump will be well on his way to being defeated in 2020 if he hasn’t been removed from office by then. McMahon sees, accurately, that there is a desperate hunger among white Republican voters to remove themselves from a society and culture that no longer caters exclusively to their needs. By offering them a football league that will be geared towards their vision of “What America Is Supposed To Be”, he’s almost guaranteed to have a steady viewership in the tens of millions as long as he can feed them the red meat they crave more than anything else.
The title for ESPN’s article is Vince McMahon: XFL to return in 2020 without gimmicks but it’s going to be based on the most obvious yet invisible gimmick of all: Catering to white identity in a country that insists there is no such thing.
As long as McMahon puts together a halfway decent league this time, he’s going to make billions from angry white Republican voters. They won’t even care that it’s not as good as the NFL because it will be just for them and that’s all that matters.