Taking Out the Trash, 7.7.07: Of gladiators and porn stars…

Welcome to the first installment of Taking Out the Trash, a new feature where I pander to the lowest common denominator and wallow shamelessly in the seething much that is our popular culture. If we offend, give us your hands. If we fail, let me know and I’ll try harder next time. And now, on to the show.

Item: Michael Vick is either a pit bull fighter or the dumbest man who ever lived. Possibly both. Vick’s property, which was apparently being occupied by relatives,

was used as the “main staging area for housing and training the pit bulls involved” in a dogfighting operation, according to the court papers.The documents contend prize money from the dogfighting climbed into the thousands of dollars, people came from as far away as Texas and sheepish pit bulls were killed.

Fights would end when one dog died or with the surrender of the losing dog, which was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method, according to the documents. (Story.)

However,

Vick, who’s easily the most overrated player in the NFL, is unlikely to be indicted in the federal investigation, according to information gathered by the NFL and Atlanta Falcons, sources told ESPN. The authorities have told the Falcons and the league that there has not been any evidence that can be tied to Vick with the alleged dogfighting ring.

There’s more good news for Vick, too – Nike is standing by their man.

There’s a suspiciously high smoke:fire ratio here. A lot of us probably have relatives who are so fucking sub-human that they’re capable of something like dogfighting, but we stay way the hell away from them. If these relatives are in one of your houses, either you know what they’re up to or you’re too stupid to live.

There may not be enough evidence for the law to charge and convict Vick, but the Constitution makes no real claims on the operations of professional sports leagues. Here’s hoping NFL Commish Roger Goodell has the balls to step up and exert at least a measure of the justice that the law can’t. I want a lifetime ban. I don’t see a need for him to prove, in legal terms, that Vick was guilty of conducting dog fights. According to Goodell’s new criteria, which seem to be about as simple as Thou Shalt Not Embarrass The League, being dumbass enough to let your thug relatives run dog fights at your house ought to be plenty.

Meanwhile, the one thing that our current administration has actually been effective at is tearing down the Bill of Rights. Let’s get Karl Rove to work on the 8th Amendment (that’s “cruel and unusual punishment” one) and see if we can get the men who fight dogs rounded up, thrown into a ring, and forced to fight until only one is left alive. Then let’s electrocute him. Put Alberto Gonzales in charge, convert Gitmo to a high-tech gladiatorial arena, put it up on pay-per-view. Hell, let’s at least get some entertainment out of these wastes of skin before they die…

Item: Yes, Vince, it is your fault. We don’t know yet if occupationally related steroids contributed to the recent tragedy surrounding Chris Benoit and his family, but we can certainly be excused for asking the question. WWE head Vince McMahon is probably wearing Depends around the office these days just so he’s prepared for the next blindside. He and the company have been doing one hell of a cat/hot tin roof act lately – on the one hand, they need to defend themselves. On the other, they can’t afford to cop even the slightest attitude. Which in Vince’s case is like asking a fish to avoid water for a few weeks.

There are some realities to consider:

1: Vince likes big men and always has. It’s extremely difficult for shorter and less ripped performers to get a top-of-the-card push in the WWE, so unless you like mid-card money there’s a clear message: get big. Now, you can look like Batista without the juice, but it means you have to live in the gym. And when you’re on the road well over 200 days a year that’s simply not possible.

2: Vince likes a high-impact working style. High-flying, bodies hitting the mat in ways that have to take a toll (you can script the finish all you like, but there’s not really a way to “fake” jumping off a 20-foot cage through a table at ringside). I once saw Benoit at a house show do a flying head butt off the top of a cage. Do that every night for a week and see if you don’t develop some aches and pains. Yeah, the WWE has worked to ease back on this a bit in recent years, but the beating these guys have to endure is still insane.

3: There are very few alternatives. Vince has pretty much bought about 90% of the industry. Yes, NWA TNA has grown and a number of former WWE stars work there now, but this isn’t like being an accountant where if you don’t like one place you can go work at several hundred others. To a large degree, you play by Vince’s rules or you go work the VFW Hall in Peoria.

Let’s review. You have to be as big as possible. You travel constantly. Your body absorbs a massive beating. It’s just about the only game in town. And by the way, you’re on your own – unless something has changed (and let me know if it has) all WWE wrestlers are independent contractors. No benefits, no safety net.

All of which naturally points to steroids and pain killers. The results? Well, have a look at this for cause of death and this for age of death and draw your own conclusions. Especially note how often really young guys have heart attacks.

Yeah, Vince, you have a no-doping policy and you test your superstars. How many months in advance do they know when that test will be, by the way? And do they have any way of finding people who can help them mask the results?

If the Benoit scandal hurts business too much and all goes the way I want it to on the first item, maybe you can boost ratings by bringing in Michael “Pit Bull” Vick as your newest superstar….

Item: Paris Hilton found God in jail. Hello?! What was God in for and why is the media ignoring the story? Enquiring minds want to know!

*ahem*

The good news is that this could be, like, totally for real. According to Rev. Stephen Baldwin (the uncle of the rude little pig),

“Absolutely, it’s possible. You know, I mean, listen, I can have a lot of fun with you right now, but I will say this, God does work in mysterious ways. The apostle Paul murdered Christians before he became the great apostle that he became.”

So she’s got that going for her.

Hilton’s transformation from porn star to Mother Paris could be quicker and easier than you think because her ditzy image is all an act.

I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me. I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that. I have been thinking that I want to do different things when I am out of here. I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance.

In the end, she says, “God has released me.” The prosecutor apparently isn’t appealing. I love this idea, though:

She thought she might get toy companies to build a kind of Paris Hilton playhouse, where sick children might come, and the toy companies could donate toys.

Paris Hilton Playhouse. That works if she stays the Mother Teresa route, and it works even better if she decides to get back into the sex tape business.

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5 thoughts on “Taking Out the Trash, 7.7.07: Of gladiators and porn stars…”

  1. I really felt the depth of Paris’s religious experience when she was unable to answer Larry King’s question about her favorite Biblical passage. Anyone who has simply lived in this society with a working mind should be able to pull out SOME Biblical quote, even if it isn’t a favorite.

    A working mind…

    Oh, yeah

  2. You beat me to it, Robert. Or she could have held up a placard that said, “John 3:16.” And I might have watched the interview if she’d worn one of those rainbow wigs the entire time, like the John 3:16 guy used to…

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