We’ve all heard the phrase sports entertainment, as well as wrestlers being referred to as entertainers. They’ve referred to themselves in interviews, biographies, or other means while discussing their careers or what they want to do/hope to accomplish. Entertainment is something we all love in one form or another. They make us laugh, cry, curse, or leave us speechless with something they said or did. That is the power of entertainment.
But there’s more.
Professional wrestling is entertainment
This is something we always heard but never really think about.
As we all know, the matches, interviews, and commentators are all part of a larger picture. They’re weaving a storyline specifically to entertain us. All we have to do is follow along.
Sometimes it’s easy and we hang on every word and action, other times we wouldn’t care if the arc ended and was never spoken of again. Each of us have our own idea to what is funny, happy, sad, irritating, and so on. The creative talent of each promotion hedge their bets to what the audience will feel.
For instance, a cheating spouse. We’re supposed to be angry with them and sympathize with the other spouse.
Striking a woman. This is a 100% guaranteed way to lock in someone being a heel.
Insulting the city they’re in. This is a guaranteed way to turn someone heel, along with having them attack the fans’ favorite face.
Each of these are things most of us would never dream of doing because they’re taboos within our society. These are often modified in some way to get a better reaction out of us, and they rarely fail.
The truth is, if it wasn’t for society norms, these wouldn’t work.
Entertainment reflects all sides of society
Whether we agree with what’s happening or not, or if we find something in poor taste or hilarious often comes down to our own personal viewpoint.
Some people may find a wrestler sitting in a wheelchair to be offensive, especially when they leap up and ambush our hero. Others accept it for what it is: a gimmick to put over the heel and face to build their rivalry.
We may find it reprehensible for a female wrestler to face a male in the ring because we expect it to be a slaughter for one promotion, but switch the channel to another promotion and we’re excited to see the same thing because the woman is holding her own. There are people that find one or the other offensive for their own reasons, while most of us enjoy both because we understand the storyline and that it’s entertainment.
When a heel says something we consider horrible, we accept it because it’s expected and it’ll add to the hero’s eventual victory because the evil doer will be vanquished. Sure, some will be outraged enough to voice their concerns and thoughts, but a majority tend to accept things for what they are.
Sometimes, people simply misspeak. We get tongue-tied and things come out wrong either in a jumble or around our foot that fits nicely in there. We happily go to the movies or watch television shows where that happens. We also laugh at comics or outtakes when they something stupid because we know it happens.
Entertainment can be taken too seriously
It’s easy to let the power of entertainment control us and take over lives. Entertainment is an escape for many, but if we allow ourselves to be pulled in to where the lines between entertainment and reality blur, it can get ugly.
Over the last few years, our society has undergone a change where instead of accepting a slip of the tongue as just that, accepting a bad joke for what it is, or acknowledge that something was/is done for entertainment, we stick everything under a microscope and scrutinize it until we see often what we want to.
Fear of saying or doing something that’ll be taken wrong can handcuff many from sharing their opinions on anything from their favorite wrestler, sports team, entertainer, or even food. It’s reached into the professional wrestling and other entertainment and sports venues. A great example is Jerry Lawler when he was brought back.
The good part is he’s found his stride in recent weeks, though the occasional chastisement from another announcer often feels like a warning and he then goes silent for a while. Most likely, he’s talking with someone in the back like McMahon.
The thing here is most of the comments are benign and are probably flagged because they might upset someone that’s looking for a reason to complain. If you doubt that, look around on social media. It’s a plethora of off-color and insulting comments to those that don’t agree with another’s someone.
The funny thing is that many that are upset over a mistake or bad scripted moment tend to watch other entertainment that is vulgar and offensive and laugh at it without second thought.
Do we want to accept atrocious behavior in our daily lives? Of course not. We want people to treat us like we treat them, which means hopefully we treat them respectfully and understand they see things differently as in the previous examples.
We won’t always agree, and that’s awesome! Different opinions are what help us grow. Ignoring that stymies the soul and robs entertainment of its creativity. In the end, the power of entertainment shines a light on us all, both good and bad.