THE MAT POTATO
(This is an open letter to all columnists. To those to whom this applies, take it for what it's worth. )
"I hate you/You hate me/We're a dysfunctional family" - (Parody of the Barney song)
Welcome to the flame wars, boys and girls.
Bet you thought it was all about wrestling, or "Sports Entertainment", didn't you?
Well, you're wrong! It's not about that at all! You see, all of us columnists have dirty little secrets. We all have neuroses that swirl just beneath the thin veneer of civility that we try to maintain.
Every now and then we need to vent, and start slinging at somebody. Pick a target. What the hell, it doesn't matter.
If you manage to get a good flame war going, then so much the better.
When I was in high school there was a book that was making the rounds. It was called "The Games People Play" by Eric Berne, M.D. As I recall, there were such creative games as "Rapo" where a woman would give a man the come on, and then, just as things get interesting, scream "Rape". (Sound familiar, Mr. Tyson?).
Another was "Let's you and him fight" where I tell A something uncomplimentary about B, then tell B something uncomplimentary about A (generally A's response to the original remark), then stand back and watch the sparks fly.
I'm sure Dr. Berne would love to do an analysis of some of the writers I encounter on the net.
Is this a recent happening? Not by a long shot. I once wrote for a sheet where the editor had a running feud with the editor of another sheet. My editor wanted me to subscribe to the other sheet so I could spy on them.
This backfired when I ended up writing for the second sheet as well. Hell, my loyalty was to wrestling and I absolutely refused to allow myself to be dragged into this. Besides, the second sheet allowed me to open up my darker side and really cut loose.
Feuds are a part of human nature, and will continue to be.
I have nothing against feuds. My only problem with them is when they creep out into the open and become the centerpiece of the column.
Everybody wants to be the heel. I have read interviews with various actors who say that playing the villain is much more fun than playing the hero because you have more leeway in your actions.
That's true up to a point. There comes a point where reading the column becomes pure tedium, and the readers wander off to find something else to read. The whole "heel columnist" has become a cliché.
What's next? Am I going to read in the paper where columnist A found columnist B's home address and mailed him a letter bomb?
So here's the deal, folks. I read the columns to find out what's going on in the wild, wacky world of wrestling. I don't give two hoots in hell about your troubled childhood, how so and so is a talentless hack, or how this columnist is a flaming homo.
If you have a problem with somebody, then mail them directly. Fight your own fights, and let's not get into a giant game of "Let's you and them flame each other".
The only feuds I want to read about in your columns are the feuds in wrestling.