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21.12.07 0324
The 7 - Pro Wrestling - D-Von the Evangelist
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BDC
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#21 Posted on 12.4.02 1033.20
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1058.00

    Originally posted by shea

    Oh great, another racist stereotype.

    Just what the wrestling world needs.

    Gee, Vince, why not break out the watermelon while you're at it?

    How can anybody with a brain not be offended by this crap?



Why is it a racist stereotype? There *ARE* black preachers out there who speak with such high degrees of inflection as D-Von does. The Bernie Mac Show last month had an episode where Bernie didn't want to go to church, and the preacher was over-the-top bombastic. What's the difference? That Bernie Mac is black, and can "get away with it"? I don't buy that argument.

That's such a huge problem for me...just because a minority plays a character that has a presence in that society, someone cries about it being a racist stereotype. No. A sambo would be a racist stereotype. Having a mammy valet would be a racist stereotype. I'd say a Kamala-type tribal bushman would be a racist stereotype when portrayed as a "savage."

If anything, its a religious stereotype, and I've already posted my thoughts on that. One point further on that issue, I don't think Scott Keith is right when he says that completely over-the-top would be the way to go with D-Von. I think overdoing it makes him immediately a cartoon character or a caricature, and I think too hard to take seriously as a heel...which was RTC's problem. Steven Richards on his own was an awesome heel. But they pushed it over the top so and created a bunch of cartoon characters. I think that's a mistake.

BDC
shea
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#22 Posted on 12.4.02 1112.43
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1126.16

I'm sure there are Iranians who talk like the Iron Sheik, too.

Doesn't mean it's not a racist stereotype.
LordOfTheSmarks
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#23 Posted on 12.4.02 1118.36
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1126.18

    Originally posted by BDC
    The Bernie Mac Show last month had an episode where Bernie didn't want to go to church, and the preacher was over-the-top bombastic.


You watch the Bernie Mac show? I shudder for you.
Swordsman Yen
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#24 Posted on 12.4.02 1138.07
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1138.19

    Originally posted by CRZ

      Originally posted by Swordsman Yen
      Hmmmm religious gimmicks haven't had a good track record in the WWF. Reverend Slick, Sisters of Mercy, and Dustin Runnels are bombs that come to mind.
    Of course, Brother Love's "success" outweighs all of those combined, but perhaps your memory doesn't go back that far. ;-)


DOH! How did I forget Brother Love? After all, he did manage the Sisters of Mercy before they scrapped the whole idea...you don't think they would...naahh
DMC
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#25 Posted on 12.4.02 1143.36
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1159.01
"Hopefully other Christian WWF fans will not do the classic reactionary "oh my gosh, they are blaspheming God!" ranting and stuff. Take the gimmick for what it is, you don't need a wrestling character to validate your beliefs...I hope."

I agree with BDC, and I don't feel like I am going to do that. I am somewhat concerned though that whenever possible, McMahon seems to like to showcase his personal anti-Christian beliefs and take pot-shots at religion and conservatives. But as everyone has been pointing out, its not like this kind of WWF character is anything new (see Brother Love), and its not like some in the Christian community don't have it coming. It seems D-Von's character is a lot like a T.D. Jakes, a more modern over-emotional "faith" preacher who spends extravagantly and has a heretical theology. But again, I personally don't think it is necessairly McMahon's purpose to send a subtle, nuanced message about the hypocracy of *some* Christians.

DMC
spf
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#26 Posted on 12.4.02 1144.28
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1159.02
Shea, on my cable system, channel 17 is a religious channel, that shows mostly services from inner city Chicago churches. And I will say that every preacher on there goes into the movie version ranting and raving and screaming and yelling and preaching. There is a religious tradition of black preachers like that, and it is a very easy tradition to parody/copy. The fact that such preaching is done mostly/only by black preachers is simply a part of the cultural identity, a culture which D-Von is by his birth a part of, and has full rights to take advantage of just like Eddie Murphy and thousands of other black actors/comedians have done.
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#27 Posted on 12.4.02 1150.26
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1159.03
Truth be told, if I were to be offended about anything regarding this angle, it would be the religious aspect. And even that is more the fact that the WWF has this problem with portraying Christians positively. I mean, every example of a Christian has been either made fun of (Dustin Rhodes, Slick), beaten on a regular basis (Jake Roberts), or portrayed as an "evil" heel (RTC, Brother Love).

Come on Vince, you can make the satanist "Lord of Evil" Undertaker a strong face, but not show us Christians any love?

Shea, good point. They could have just as easily made D-von a Colin Powell type character who acts as a lieutenant to Vince and runs the company in his absence and substitutes for him in different circumstances (therefore taking away the need to have Vince in ANY matches from now on!).

And YOU, CRZ! You just HAD to find a way to insert "666" into this discussion, didn't you?! ;-)
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#28 Posted on 12.4.02 1206.35
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1208.22
I don't think D-Von's preacher gimmick is necessarily racist, but there is certainly an underlying theme of racism in who the WWF chooses to make a heel or a face. Something just told me that Bubba would be the face and D-Von would be the heel, the same way that the DOA white bikers were the faces against the black militants and the Puerto Rican heels.

And the WWF HAS pulled out every black stereotype in the book - from black pimp to savage African tribal warrior to Booker T doing the 2002 version of a friggin' minstrel show. And now we've got the equivalent of the sweating, screaming black preacher that's always on the religious channels.

The sad fact is, many of the marks still cling to prejudices (anyone remember the "Eddie Guererro mows my lawn" sign from 'Mania X7?) and Vince plays into that.

That said, I think there are a few notable exceptions, like Rock, but they are not the rule.

(edited by asteroidboy on 12.4.02 1008)
BDC
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#29 Posted on 12.4.02 1219.38
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1224.13
    Originally posted by shea

    I'm sure there are Iranians who talk like the Iron Sheik, too.

    Doesn't mean it's not a racist stereotype.



That doesn't mean it is either, shea. You cannot say that someone perpetuates a racist stereotype just by talking like a certain type of people. You have to look at what is being portrayed, and in my opinion, for a stereotype to be racist it would have to bring people to think of or identify that character with negative ideas of those people.

With the Iron Sheik, being anti-American isn't a racist stereotype in the early-mid 80s, but the get-up with the pointy boots *might* be.

A black racist stereotype would be a sambo character, or a character that says "yes massa" or something like that, or a guy who makes a point of eating primarily watermelon, fried chicken, and drinking kool-aid.

D-Von as a black preacher is a stereotype of the many black preachers we can see on TV every week. No doubt about it. Is it a racist one? I say no.

asteroidboy: I don't think D-Von's preacher gimmick is necessarily racist, but there is certainly an underlying theme of racism in who the WWF chooses to make a heel or a face. Something just told me that Bubba would be the face and D-Von would be the heel, the same way that the DOA white bikers were the faces against the black militants and the Puerto Rican heels.

And the WWF HAS pulled out every black stereotype in the book - from black pimp to savage African tribal warrior to Booker T doing the 2002 version of a friggin' minstrel show. And now we've got the equivalent of the sweating, screaming black preacher that's always on the religious channels.

The sad fact is, many of the marks still cling to prejudices (anyone remember the "Eddie Guererro mows my lawn" sign from 'Mania X7?) and Vince plays into that.

That said, I think there are a few notable exceptions, like Rock, but they are not the rule.


Good points all. You can't argue that the WWF doesn't capitalize on stereotypes and that a good number of the ones relating to minorities have racist undertones or are flat-out racist. I just don't think specifically as it relates to D-Von Dudley that it is. I just think its a good business decision. I don't know if baby-face Christian character, or any religious character perhaps, could exist. I just don't think the WWF audience would be receptive to it in a positive manner, just like the Kurt Angle character never held on as a babyface.

I mean, think about it...how can you have a good-guy preacher WRESTLER? Just by virtue of the business, unless D-Von would never step into the ring again, he'd be a complete hypocrite by resolving problems by "fighting." If its going to be done at all, I think its got to be as a heel. And if you're gonna do it right, its got to be with a guy who even looks like he can pull it off--D-Von has just about the best shot of anyone to make this gimmick work.

BDC

(edited by BDC on 12.4.02 1040)
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#30 Posted on 12.4.02 1227.36
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1229.05
Yo Shea, guess what keeps racial stereotypes around? People like you pointing at every little thing that could possibly be construed as stereotypical and screaming "RACISM!" at the top of your lungs. Case in point: The Oscars. Doesn't matter that Halle Berry and Denzel won their respective awards, because those tooting about it being a "victory for black rights" are the SAME DAMN PEOPLE keeping those ideas alive. I'm losing my meaning here, but I'm sure that, as someone who professes to have a brain, you can work out what I'm saying: continually screeching about black rights being violated just keeps those stereotypes alive.

And hey, guess what? There's another incredibly racist character on the WWF roster, going by YOUR theorem. His name's William Regal, and he's your stereotypical Brit asshole with snooty mannerisms. SHOCKINGLY, no-one ever complains about this. Hmm. I guess it's only racism if their skin colour is different, right? Oh, but then surely that's a form of racism itself.

You figure it out.
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#31 Posted on 12.4.02 1259.46
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1321.02



Actually that's a good point about Regal..you could point at Bradshaw that same way: a big brawling beer drinking Texan who talks "ya'll" and whatnot...


Of course, there's the interesting side note that a lot of these guys' act in a way that perpetuates the stereotype of pro wrestlers of big dumb guys and bimbo women who "couldn't get a real job" (which I've actually heard said) and who grab and hug each other while wearing tights...
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#32 Posted on 12.4.02 1300.57
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1321.05
It seems to me promoters usually skirt the direct religion comparison by using the "revival tent" preacher a la Steve Martin in Leap of Faith.

Of course, if I was modeling a character on a "preacher," I'd choose Robert Mitchum from "night of the hunter."

"...a struggle between L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E."

(or if you prefer, Sideshow Bob's L-U-V and H-A-T.)


BTW, Wrestling is built on stereotypes. Take them away and you probably have UFC. Or maybe something like UWF/Rings/Pancrase.





(edited by odessasteps on 12.4.02 1403)
shea
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#33 Posted on 12.4.02 1305.29
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1323.01
    Originally posted by oldschoolhero
    Yo Shea, guess what keeps racial stereotypes around? People like you pointing at every little thing that could possibly be construed as stereotypical and screaming "RACISM!" at the top of your lungs.


well, first of all, I wasn't screaming

Second, while I certainly see your point (and others in this thread), I don't see D-Von's segment as "every little thing." It was a big thing. It was a sizeable chunk of time on a popular network television show, a show that an awful lot of kids watch.

And I'm really, really tired of the wrestling world always holding racial and ethnic stereotypes up to ridicule. NEVER liked it. Never will. It's one old-school trait that I wouldn't miss in the least if it went away forever. Everything else about the sport has evolved; why does Vince insist on keeping that aspect around?

And while I do possess a brain, I can tell you that I also possess a gut, and when I saw D-Von shuckin' and jivin' and grinnin' and "testify"-in' to beat the band, all in the name of shaking down Vince for money, MY gut told me that though racism is no doubt a gray area, there was something about this little skit that felt above-and-beyond slimy.

Now if you think there's nothing wrong with it, if you think it's funny or whatever, then good luck and godspeed. As long as you know just what it is you're laughing at.

(edited by shea on 12.4.02 1106)
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#34 Posted on 12.4.02 1319.51
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1323.01
Shea: I am laughing at somebody parodying an action that other people do with complete seriousness and total dedication. The fact that the people involved are A) often minorities, and B) doing it in relation to God ostensibly are irrelevant to me. Personally I'm more offended watching these hucksters IRL doing their shtick performing miracles and talking to God and getting poor people in depressed communities to give them a chunk of what little cash they have. That to me is far more destructive than D-Von doing a fourth rate Eddie Murphy impression.
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#35 Posted on 12.4.02 1322.02
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1323.01
Thanks for dodging my point about Regal, Shea! Come back anytime!
shea
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#36 Posted on 12.4.02 1348.41
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1359.01
okay, oldschoolhero, if you insist:

maybe the fact that we don't have a problem in this country with anti-Brit racism makes your point about Regal irrelevant to me.

Or maybe I find the idea of Regal sitting behind a desk in a 3-piece suit sipping tea with a picture of the queen on the wall slightly less offensive than D-Von's little caricature.

In my previous post, I conceded you had a point. Let's not get pissy about the whole thing.
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#37 Posted on 12.4.02 1406.24
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1417.03
    Originally posted by shea
    Second, while I certainly see your point (and others in this thread), I don't see D-Von's segment as "every little thing." It was a big thing. It was a sizeable chunk of time on a popular network television show, a show that an awful lot of kids watch.

    And I'm really, really tired of the wrestling world always holding racial and ethnic stereotypes up to ridicule. NEVER liked it. Never will. It's one old-school trait that I wouldn't miss in the least if it went away forever. Everything else about the sport has evolved; why does Vince insist on keeping that aspect around?

    And while I do possess a brain, I can tell you that I also possess a gut, and when I saw D-Von shuckin' and jivin' and grinnin' and "testify"-in' to beat the band, all in the name of shaking down Vince for money, MY gut told me that though racism is no doubt a gray area, there was something about this little skit that felt above-and-beyond slimy.

    Now if you think there's nothing wrong with it, if you think it's funny or whatever, then good luck and godspeed. As long as you know just what it is you're laughing at.

    (edited by shea on 12.4.02 1106)



1)The segment was less than 3 minutes long, sandwiched in between a commercial break and the Mark Henry "strength of feet" thing...I don't know how significant that is.

2)Shuckin' and jivin' and grinnin' and "testify"in'? What the hell were you watching, shea? He stood friggin' still except for one time he leaned back to put his arms up in the air referring to "The Man Above," and moving his hands when he was talking. He grinned while Vince told him he would be his benefactor--and why the hell would he NOT grin? He just got the money he was looking for!!! And he's been saying "testify" forever!!

shea, I'm sorry, pal. I think you might need to watch that segment again. I think you were looking for something that wasn't there, and saw it because you wanted to.

BDC

(edited by BDC on 12.4.02 1207)
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#38 Posted on 12.4.02 1416.51
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1417.08
I'll just end all this debate by saying that at least they didn't give Buh Buh the old drinkin' monk gimmick.
DMC
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#39 Posted on 12.4.02 1423.33
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1429.01
While we're at it, how about the old child-abusin' priest? Father O'Mally, with his sidekick, Alter Boy. Come on Vince, be fair!

DMC (tongue majorly in cheek, obviously)

(edited by DMC on 12.4.02 1224)
asteroidboy
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#40 Posted on 12.4.02 1423.55
Reposted on: 12.4.09 1429.02
I'll address the Regal/Bradshaw stereotypes.

No doubt, both of those depictions are stereotypical, not to mention Stone Cold's beer-swilling, woman-hitting, Texas redneck (with a bald head, too. At least we can be thankful that the WWF didn't put Dr Martens and suspenders on him, right?).

The reason that I don't think it constitutes racism is those wrestles are white, which puts them in the tradition position of power in most of the world. Guys like Booker, Rev. Slick and even Eddie's "Latino Heat" character are playing into stereotypes that white people have constructed for blacks and Hispanics, two groups that have been historically marginalized on a number of occaisions (slavery and immigrant labor, to name a few). It's about power and keeping minorities pigeonholed into certain roles, like athletes, entertainers, emotional preachers, pickaninnies, fruit pickers, etc.)

Snooty Brits and redneck Texans are certainly stereotypical, but they don't carry the negative associations that the minority ones do. In fact, some people tend to embrace the redneck association, not run away from it. So you're not really talking about the same thing.

The best example I've seen of a black babyface champ was Ron Simmons' run as WCW champ (in 92?). He wasn't playing any gimmick or role, as I recall, he was just the champ who happened to be black. That's what it should be all about.

Like you guys said, wrestling is a big collection of stereotypes. But be aware of what you're watching and know that some are more harmful and have much more painful histories than others.


And BDC, aside from your argument about a wrestling preacher (which brings up another interesting point), as far as D-Von the evagelist having to be a heel, I would agree. Fans seem to gravitate (especially nowadays) to the anti-authority figures, and a Bible-toting preaching doesn't fill that role. Better for him to be the finger-wagging "moral" authority who's obviously a hypocrite.

(edited by asteroidboy on 12.4.02 1230)
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