-Naturally, why else would his family have left Germany in 1933.
-I just figured that his father didnít want to live in a country run by a raving mad man.
-Well, exactly, only in this case he was also worried that he was anti-semetic raving paranoid who blamed Jews for Germany losing the First World War. He was smart too, got out of Germany when it was still relatively easy for a Jew to emigrate. From what I understand it still took effort, some bribes and they had to leave a lot of property and money behind, and start from scratch here in the United States, but obviously it was better than the alternative.
-Huh. Hereís the thing that I donít understand - How in the bluest of blue hells could Von Hess play a Nazi? How could he spout the views of a group that hated everything that he was and condemned six million Jews to death.
-I thought you watched wrestling?
-I did as a kid. I still do from time to time.
-Donít you understand what wrestling is? Weíre playing with elemental forces here. Good and Evil locked in a struggle. I have played a bad guy most of my life. Does that make me a bad person? I mean I might be a bad person anyway, but the two things arenít related. If I am a bad person, itís not because I play a bad guy.
-Iím not saying that Von Hess is a bad guy or that he was a bad guy, what I ma asking is how as a Jew he could stoumach playing a Nazi.
-Because the other thing that wrestling offers is that the bad guy, not right away mind you, but the bad guy always loses. Wrestling is a fantasy, one in which Justice always prevails. Good takes its lumps, Justice is delayed, Evil gets to gloat, but not forever, eventually there is always a reckoning. Always a reckoning. Look at my C and F record. In fourteen matches, I won three. The C and F show was always the show where the Rattler finally got taken down, finally got brought to Justice. The three wins that I got, two were in Canada, where I always got my share of cheers, because Canadians like rooting for the bad guys especially when they are also from Canada. And the third win was here in St-Louis against Max Powers in a match where I started as a face and he started as a heel and by the end of the match he was a face and I was heel. So, the good guy won, but only by turning evil, becoming that which he hated. Thatís a pretty primal story too. And I got my just desserts out of that match too. Within a week my wife leaves me on the show and within a month, Max is beating the crap out of me in the cage, I get a chance to escape and Katy slams the cage door in my face and cuts me the fuck open the hard way and I lose with blood pouring out of my face and until this year that was the last time that I was in that very ring.
-I understand good guys and bad guys, but how can a Jew play a Nazi? Isnít he disrespecting his heritage?
-What only Non-Jews can play Nazis? There are more movies about the Second World War and the Nazis than damn near any category of films. Youíre telling me that none of those actors were Jewish? Pull my other leg, that oneís got bells on it.
-Well, isnít he trivializing the Holocaust?
-What the fuck are you talking about? Thatís the whole fucking point. Look, itís like Hoganís Heroes.
-Now that piece of crap totally trivialized the Holocaust. Fucking disgrace man. Possibly the worst sitcom of all time.
-You just open your mouth and flap your gums, but do you even hear yourself? Hoganís Heroes was funny.
-But it shouldnít have been. The Holocaust shouldnít be a joke.
-Why the hell not? Do you know what scares evil the most, what makes it shrivel and die? Laughter. By ridiculing the Nazis, you reduce them to the pompous jackasses that they were. Look, Mel Brooks has made two films and a musical which mock the Nazis to great effect. No one objects to him doing it.
-What Mel Brooks films are we talking about?
-The Producers mocks the Nazis?
-You obviously have never seen it. The big musical number in the film is Springtime for Hitler.
-OK. And the other film?
-I canít remember the title. Itís Brooks and Anne Bancroft who are running a theatre company in Poland during the Second World War. Itís a remake of a Jack Benny film. Supposedly, when Jack Bennyís Dad saw the original film during the war he stormed out of the theatre because he thought the same as you. Look, no one has ever said that the Holocaust is not a tragedy, but if you canít laugh in the face of horror, if you canít tell a joke when you are staring into the abyss, than Nietzsche is right, the horror wins, the abyss does consume you. Itís like this comic book that I read once about the Holocaust. All the Jews are mice and the Poles are pigs and the Germans are dogs and some of the Jews disguise themselves as Poles by wearing face masks of pigs. Well, is that trivializing the Holocaust? Or is it finding a way to tell a story in a new way so that it reaches people in all its horror and comedy and tragedy and everything that goes into a story?
Thatís wrestling. Every fucking time Von Hess goose-stepped to the ring, he was giving it to the fucking Nazis who chased his family from their home and killed his uncles and aunts and cousins in the fucking gas ovens. He got the fans to hate him, to hate his uniform, to hate what he was portraying, to hate the Nazis. And every time he lost, which didnít happen too often, just enough to build it up so that the crowd went nuts, it was another dagger to the heart of all that hatred and racism and evil that was the Nazis.
Why can you tell that story in a film and not in a comic book? Why is it wrong to tell that story in a sitcom with a soundtrack? Why is it wrong to tell that story in a wrestling ring? And if youíre the best guy in the fucking world to tell that story and make people hate the Nazis, if youíre Jewish why shouldnít you do that, hell especially if youíre Jewish why shouldnít you do that?
And, hereís the other thing, when Darryl walked up to Von Hess and asked him to teach him to wrestle, he didnít know it but he picked exactly the right person to do it, because Darryl didnít realize it, but wrestling was then, is now, a racist fucking business. And nobody was better placed to teach Darryl how to get around that than this Jew disguised as a racist Nazi.
Welcome to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED and SOMEWHAT HAIRY edition of Inside The Ropes, the only wrestling column that also advertises a "Best Shirt Ever! EVER!!!". I'm Canadian Bulldog, jobber to the stars. Welcome.