Sunday, June 01, 2003
Tickets to a #$%@& exhibition WWF smacks down Frida
By Dave Jaffe
To instill in children a deep appreciation of the arts, it is imperative that parents expose them from a very early age to such cultural events as poetry readings, gallery openings and, of course, professional wrestling.
“Now boys,” I told my two teenage sons, “your mother has purchased us tickets to the art exhibition of Frida Kahlo, who is arguably Mexico’s greatest Modernist painter ever portrayed by Selma Hayek. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I expect both of you to feign interest.”
“Dad, will there be a gift shop?”
“Brian, gift shops were what the Modernists were all about.”
“Is this art thing going to make us late to tonight’s wrestling show?”
“Russ, your mother has agreed to drive straight from ‘Frida’ to the World Wrestling Event ‘Smackdown!’ show at the sports arena-provided that we first drop her off as far away as humanly possibly.”
“Mom’s never been a big wrestling fan.”
“She just doesn’t understand performance art, son.”
A frequent complaint against televised professional wrestling is that it’s too violent, a complaint to which wrestling’s defenders respond, “Hey, quit your complaining! We’re trying to watch TV here.”
Because modern children grow up surrounded by these violent images, it is important that parents help them separate reality from fiction:
CONCERNED MOM: “Joey, you know that wrestling is just entertainment and that you can’t really solve your problems with your fists?”
HELPFUL DAD: “Or with metal chairs, ladders or those karate sticks connected by a little chain that you swing like a club. ...”
CONCERNED MOM: “THANK you, dear. The point is, son, that if you want to solve a dispute, it’s better to use your words.”
LITTLE JOEY: (Excited) “That’s right, Mommy! Like when Triple H was supposed to fight Rhyno in a chain match, but Triple H didn’t show up because someone locked him in the stadium boiler room and Rhyno used his words to call Triple H a cowardly #$%@*& and a %^$##& and a jerk!”
CONCERNED MOM: “Dear, you want to help me out here?”
HELPFUL DAD: “Who locked Triple H in the boiler room?”
Patrons of the arts unfairly denigrate wrestling fans as uncouth-though not to their face, out of fear of those metal chairs, ladders and karate sticks.
In reality, a live professional wrestling match is as legitimate a cultural event as an art exhibition opening, the major difference being that art show patrons can, as a rule, read. On the other hand, wrestling fans have more tattoos.
Artistic taste is, of course, subjective just as the word ‘subjective’ is itself subjective.
This sort of reasoning can only make us hungry, which leads inevitably to the conclusion that while the concession stand food served at a wrestling arena is vastly inferior to art gallery hors d’oeuvres, the portions are bigger.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, which, by the way, don’t try when you’re standing in that concession line.
Wrestling fans get downright rude when you budge in line and even call you a cowardly #$%@*& and a %^$##& and a jerk!
At this point, let us instead contrast the way tickets to art exhibits and wrestling events are handled by automated ticket brokers:
AUTOMATED TICKET BROKER: (ring, ring) “Hello. You’ve reached Ticket Maven. If you would like to order tickets to the major art exhibition, I’m sorry. Wealthy people have already bought them.”
AUTOMATED TICKET BROKER: (ring, ring) Hello. You’ve reached Ticket Maven. If you would like to order tickets to the major professional wrestling event, I’m sorry. Scalpers have already bought them, you cowardly #$%@*&.”
Fortunately, I was able to acquire Frida Kahlo exhibition tickets through a friend of a Hollywood plastic surgeon and Smackdown! tickets from a guy I met behind a pizzeria who was dressed in a sweat suit and also offered me a truckload of VCRs.
Although I enjoyed both cultural events, it would be unfair to label either “better,” even though one of them, which I won’t identify, featured fireworks displays, Jumbotron TV monitors and a stunningly agile masked luchador named Ray Mysterio performing his famous “619” attack off the ropes. Boy, that Frida was some painter!
Historically speaking, however, the only true measure of a significant artistic event lies in the quality of the T-shirts available from the gift shop.
In this area, Frida missed the boat.
How could the image of her famed Self-Portrait with Monkeys emblazoned on a pastel T-shirt hope to compete with Brock Lesnar’s “Here Comes the Pain” slogan, available in sizes up to XXXXXLLL?
Sadly, that’s so often the way it is with artists, never in touch with the needs of the people.
Why, if Pablo Picasso had only endorsed a line of 50 percent cotton “Guernica Rules” shirts, he might still be alive today.
Dave Jaffe, Chicago Parent’s humor columnist, lives in Deerfield with his wife, two sons and two dogs.