On Lana and #Detente

Lana is a character who can fill a stadium with ironies that refuse to resolve themselves. She lectures us, America, about our tendency to always solve our problems with violence, that we are saviors who cannot save ourselves. She likes to tell us that our country is crumbling, warns that pride always comes before the fall. Mean girl as she is, she’s not wrong about these things. Then, inverting her lecture into a ruthless satire, she offers up her own cutthroat president as the answer to our problems. We boo. Then we’re shown a picture of our own, which in theory should make us cheer. These days most of us don’t really want to cheer our president, though. So we’re forced to contemplate – sure Putin is a jerk, but is he really worse than President Drone Strike? Or President Punish the Evildoers before him? If we follow this line of thought, we are suddenly awash with a sinking feeling. All this while America thought she was the world’s baby face, but at best we have been a tween, as has Russia, who we’ve been conditioned by our mindless media to scorn reflexively, for reasons we don’t entirely understand. The sinking feeling deepens if we’re honest with ourselves and realize that America has had more than her fair share of heel runs throughout our history, and that we would be wise not to let ourselves be pitted against Russia but instead to learn from her past mistakes. We are much more Bo-lieve than John Cena.

Ой, Лана, будет американский народ когда-либо слушать?

To pit Rusev and Lana against Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter only exacerbates the unresolvable irony. Here is a patriot heel and his Tea Party villain manager, whose nationalistic rants have grated on us since their debut. These two have never been heroes, saviors, or martyrs, no matter what you think about their politics. Despite last night’s tepid face turn, they are flag-waving, platitude-spouting buffoons, going all in on their motto, “We! The! People!” We the people… what exactly? Are we supposed to be thinking about the Declaration of Independence here? And if so, why Zeb Coulter’s half-hearted defense of President Drone Strike? Our president is anything but a constitutional patriot and certainly doesn’t want to see we the people go all “We! The! People!” It wasn’t an easy pop, offering a picture of Obama for our approval – the people I could see cheering were drowned out by a loud roar of heat.

If Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter are the best we can do for nationalist heroes, the whole thing should make us, as a nation, take a long hard look in the mirror. I’m of the opinion that this is exactly what WWE wants to do, not only with Swagger and Coulter, but with Lana herself when she tries to lures our boos for Putin, and then aligns him with Edward Snowden, who many of us see as the genuine patriot Swagger is not. WWE wants us to think more deeply about our alliances, and to take a closer look at the grey nuances of the tween realm.

The hashtag of this segment was the ultimate irony, this one resolving brutally: #detente. Détente is what we thought we had with Russia. Détente is a principle in wrestling that never takes for very long. Perhaps we would be wise to notice the way the world resembles wrestling, and ask ourselves why détente never takes for very long.

There was, however, one thing that was a straightforward black and white in the #Detente segment: as soon as I saw podiums in the ring, I knew they’d be getting knocked over. Podiums, a gazebo, a great big trophy, executive chairs, a table with a contract on it, that stuff is all going down. It is a universal law of wrestling that whenever you see stuff like that in the ring, it’s getting knocked over and possibly broken into pieces by the end of the match.

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