Why I Love Professional Wrestling

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Why I Love Professional Wrestling

by Ray Deonandan

Dec. 17, 2001


This article first appeared on the website of The Pro Wrestling Torch on Dec. 14, 2001. The author retains all copyrights.

Sometimes I think Id be more comfortable admitting to a criminal conviction or a sexual deviancy. Certainly, to some minds, my dirty little secret could be put in the same category. It’s a private shame that I try to avow early in any relationship, bringing it to the forefront to be discussed and laughed about, the theory being that ad hoc truthfulness vitiates the foul deed. Yet despite my outward comfort —nay pride– in this particular deviant taste, I must confess to a daily struggle to explain to the unbelievers why, oh why, I so love the sport of professional wrestling. Continue reading

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Internet Surveying

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Survey This!

by Ray Deonandan

Dec. 1, 2001

 

Back in 1997, Microsoft Canada garnered a lot of media attention for it’s ballyhooed 24-hour on-line Internet poll. Internet users were asked to visit the Microsoft web site and answer the nine questions posted there by that champion of Canadian surveyors, the Decima Corporation. Fifty-five thousand Canadians responded, half of whom were from Ontario. According to the Microsoft press release, it was a “demonstration of the power of Internet technology.”

And how was this power used? It was used to answer such gripping questions as “If the Earth’s axis shifted and lengthened the day by one hour, how would you spend the extra time?” and “Which of the following famous T.V. bosses reminds you most of your own boss?” More precisely, it was a demonstration of the power of Microsoft’s marketing team.

Admittedly, the survey did garner interesting information about Internet usage, such as the insights gleaned from the survey question, “What is the single most important function that the Internet serves for you at work?” But that seems to be the only useful result of such an endeavour, at least for now, because a sample of people who use the Internet is only representative of other people who use the Internet.

In other words, one still cannot use the Internet as a survey tool to make inferences about the great unwashed masses. Despite what marketers tell us, most people, even here in Canada, remain unwired.

Luckily, the majority of on-line pollsters are sophisticated enough to realize this, and have directed all their survey questions toward an electronic end. For example, Dr. Kimberly Young of the University of Pittsburgh maintains a very long on-line questionnaire that attempts to detail a psychological profile of each respondent. Her actual research question, however, has to do with the phenomenon known as “Internet addiction,” so she has probably targeted the right audience. In fact, in order to spend so much on-line time completing her survey, one would have to be addicted to the Internet.

Another truism of surveying is that you usually attract a certain kind of person, whether intentionally or accidentally. For example, Microsoft wanted to sample Canadian Internet users, but the very language of the survey –English– excluded every francophone Canadian.

A company called Easyscopes runs a regular monthly survey from its website and has found a typical proportion of female respondents to be around 80%! This, of course, greatly exceeds what one might expect, especially when the Microsoft data suggested a 1997 female on-line presence of 20%. But then one must realize that the Easyscopes site is where many people go to read their horoscopes, supposedly a predominantly female pastime.

One must therefore consider a respondent’s motivation for being at the website to begin with. In the case of Microsoft, a total prize package of $500,000 was the bait for completing their survey. Other on-line surveyors offer cheaper but more subtle incentives. The inevitable and somewhat ubiquitous sex surveys tempt one to completion by letting each respondent view the cumulative results immediately upon completion of each survey. It’s a temptation that’s hard to resist, especially if –as the polls would suggest– you’re a middle-aged middle-class unmarried heterosexual man who gets most of his social interaction through a computer screen.

The more academic investigators are definitely at a loss in this compensatory sense. And there are quite a few of them out there, including a University of Brighton graduate student who is investigating the effects of the Internet on users’ quality of life. But few graduate students have sufficient funds to offer half a million dollars in prize money, or a research topic sexy enough to lure respondents who are otherwise beckoned by the luridness of explicit sex surveys and the deep pockets of billionaire software magnates.

So if even academics can’t make effective use of the “power of Internet technology,” Microsoft’s claims start to sound a little hollow. However, one final benefit may yet be wrought from the growing trend of Internet surveying. It may, someday soon, noticeably reduce the number of annoying telephone polls.

 

 


Ray Deonandan is an owner of The Podium and has been known to take part in a few online sex surveys. His personal website may be found at www.deonandan.com.

 

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What Are You Prepared To Do About Terrorism?

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by Rodney Porter

Oct. 26, 2001

Editor’s Note: this article was written and submitted on Sep. 15, 2001, just days after the Sep. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. Due to an email foul-up resulting from our relocation to Washington, the article was not received by The Podium until late October.

 

 

Terrorist attacks– killing and maiming were something I grew up with in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I became numb to it after a while, especially as a reporter. The magnitude of the incident in America is incomparable. Yet spare a thought for US action before joing the band of followers.

Firstly, the US has been involved, I claim interfered, in overseas terrorism, in Northern Ireland for years, appointing the American George Mitchell as the independent negotiator. The Clinton, Bush and Reagan administrations were also happy to get involved without invitation. When a Catholic was bombed by a Protestant, or vice versa, he appealed for discussion, encouraging talks rather than retribution or retaliation.

Yet now Bush declares retaliation will be taken on the perpetrators. How many people need to be killed in a terrorist attack for action to be taken? Two or two thousand?

Secondly, when Bush declared that terrorism would not be tolerated, did he really mean countries where votes would not be affected or the US Senate would not be irritated? How many Arab-Americans sit there compared to Irish-Americans? What about the Republican and Loyalist terrorist groups who are responsible for the deaths of men, women and children?

Will Bush help annihilate all terrorists or just those that bomb America? What about other democratic, peace loving countries? Also, remember yesterdays terrorist, todays president just look to South Africa.

State funded terrorism? How many fund raising trips in America does Sinn Fein go on before people wake up? Americans are not used to terrorism on their own doorstep. America is a modern Roman Empire.

My heart is heavy, my mind is numb. For others who also lost a friend or family member in the attack, my heart goes out to you. Terrorism is not new. Many people have felt the toll of the terrorist bullet and bomb before. I have heard empty rhetoric many times and seen votes; money and power get in the way.

What are you prepared to do?

 

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T.R. Rigby – Eminem’s Brilliance

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Eminem’s Brilliance:

How Eminem brilliantly proves the illegitimacy of Hate Crimes Legislation.

 

by Thayne Ross Rigby

April 18, 2001

The supporters of white rapper Eminem have now gone so far as to suggest that he is brilliant. I suppose that they are referring to his brilliant “talent” for rhyme and rhythm. He is especially skilled in the lyrically demanding genre of poetic misogynistic homophobia. I’ll give him that. But that’s not all. The controversy surrounding Eminem has brilliantly proven the illegitimacy of hate crimes legislation, as well. (And you thought he was just some punk rapper with a bad attitude and a habit of flipping the bird.)

Hate crimes legislation is quite simply an attempt to base the sentencing of lawbreakers on evidence that can never be fully obtained. Or, in other words, to punish criminals based not just upon the severity of one’s crime, but on the supposition of one’s motive. Even after gathering as much anecdotal and circumstantial evidence as is available, even if we are told by the perpetrator himself what the motive was, we are still left with a decision: to either believe what he says or reject it; to believe what the evidence points to or not. We can never definitively “know” what the true motive was at that time the crime was committed.

Enter the beautiful and talented Eminem. No one questions whether his message is filled with hate and anger. There is no ambiguity in his lyrics. He raps of rape. He raps of murder. He raps of all manner of violence and assault and death and destruction. And his favorite targets are women (including his own mother and wife) and, lest we forget, gays. So why is Eminem not the poster boy for federal hate crimes legislation? If ever there was proof that hate exists, and that it is marketable to the masses if packaged correctly, it is the startling success of Eminem’s album, The Mis-Education of Marshall Mathers, which has sold more than a million copies so far. But instead of furthering the cause of hate crimes legislation, the controversy wrought by Eminem’s album has instead shown the impotence of such legislation.

At the recent Grammy award show, Elton John, long-time openly gay musician and activist, first performed with and then held up the hand of Eminem on stage in a twisted, confusing and (for the gay rights activists picketing outside) infuriating show of solidarity. Ironically, many were wondering just what Elton John’s “motivation” was for interjecting himself into the Eminem saga at all. Was he attempting to protect the artist’s first amendment right to think up, write down, and then perform lyrics depicting the beating of innocent people based upon their gender or sexual orientation? If so, I don’t remember him raising the hand of Dr. Laura. Her bible-based orthodoxy was universally denounced as evil by the whole of the homosexual community, though she simply articulated age-old biblical teachings and never even hinted at violence or intolerance at all.

Or was Elton John, along with many other Hollywood leftists, showing support for Eminem simply because they think that he doesn’t mean it. They believe Eminem when he says that his motivation is not hate. Fame, maybe. Money, certainly. But hate, no. But what of the gay rights picketers outside the show? They don’t seem to believe him. Or are they simply against his right to free speech at all, if it means the professing of an uncomplimentary opinion of the homosexual lifestyle?

In the end, though Elton John and his ilk and the gay rights picketers are in total disagreement where Eminem is concerned, both groups can claim intellectual consistency within the bounds of their respective lunacy. For both groups base their support –or lack thereof– on the supposition of Eminem’s “motive”. But, through their disagreement, they unwittingly prove the illegitimacy and utter unfeasibility of creating a criminal hierarchy of motivation. If gay rights activists themselves cannot agree whether Eminem is motivated by hate –when he explicitly promotes such in his lyrics, when he involves himself in violent behavior in real life, when all evidence points in that direction– how can they suggest, with any credibility at all, that such subjectivity and conjecture should be taken into serious consideration during the sentencing of actual crimes? They can’t. Thanks to the brilliance of white rapper and moral philosopher, Eminem.


Thayne Rigby is finishing a degree in Political Science & Philosophy at Boise State University, and is considering a career in broadcast journalism.

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