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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Not the American Way

On July 4, 2015, I posted about Hulk Hogan being listed as one of the most patriotic professional wrestlers of all time. If you had told me on that day that by August 1, Hulk Hogan would be 100% removed from the WWE website and have his contract terminated because of a report in the National Enquirer that he used the racist N-word in a private conversation, I doubt I would have believed you. Yet, here I am, on August 1, 2015, posting about how Hulk Hogan has been removed from all things WWE.

Using what certainly must be my "super power" of "seeing and being able to understand multiple perspectives of the same idea / issue, " I know with 100% certainty that if I call an African-American the N-word, it is an insult. Not only is it not okay for a white person to use that word, it is an insult that drudges up years of heartache, grief, and anger. Of course, if I were African-American, I would be able to call fellow African-Americans the n-word. White man can't; black man can't. In the era of wanting to be treated equally and such, there appears to be a double standard. While I'm certain I could write about it, I haven't done sufficient research so it will not be composed today.

So, back to Hulk Hogan using the n-word, I see three reasons why I'm willing to give the Hulkster a tiny bit of slack. To summarize, he said this 1) in a private conversation, 2) recorded 8 years ago, and 3) it was the National Enquirer who broke the news makes me really sad. In reverse order, when I was growing up, the National Enquirer was a tabloid garbage publication. I believe the only reason for its existence today is that - to this day - it is placed near the checkout line of grocery stores with bloviated headlines about Elvis Presley being seen alive or UFO sightings. I hardly call those two examples headlines that belong in a "real" news publication. Second, the conversation was 8 years ago. I know that on Wednesday, August 01, 2007, I was a different person than I am now. I suspect that Hulk Hogan was a different person back then as well. How many people have been known as racists, only to at some point in their life see the error and evil in their thinking? Hulk Hogan's apology and public statements cannot change the past. So, yes, he said those things 8 years ago and I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't believe those words now. Third, this was a private conversation he was having about his daughter. That's a breach of trust and its sickening to me that a private conversation made public has caused the downfall of an icon.

In a similar vein, one of my all-time favorite comedians has been dragged through the mud after 43 women have now come forward with stories about how he first drugged and second sexually assaulted each woman. That's not the way I really want Bill Cosby to be remembered. I'd rather see him as Heathcliff Huxtable - America's favorite dad on "The Cosby Show" on Thursday nights at 7 PM. When I think about Bill Cosby now, though, I feel sickened. I, once again, "see all views of an issue" like this. Sexual assaulting a woman is never - EVER - okay. NEVER. In no way do I believe Bill Cosby acted like the icon husband and family man he portrayed on television. I'm sure I'm not the only person to see the irony. Over the years, Bill Cosby has been an outspoken critic of how African-American males have not treated women properly. He has been an outspoken critic of how rap music has made disrespecting women part of its appeal. He was an outspoken critic of Eddie Murphy - per one of his comedy concerts - for using the f-word and cursing as part of his routine. Going back even further, during his own standup act, he described not using curse words and "sounding like an idiot" because of self-censoring. Just with those examples alone, Bill Cosby could easily be seen as a hypocrite. All of that, plus the way his wife and his friends must feel now. In public and, certainly, in private, they have supported him, not believing the reports. Now, they've found out that he lied.

There was a time when I longed to be as well-known as Hulk Hogan and Bill Cosby. I fantasized about playing in a band that would tour the world. This fictional band would play a concert in Cedar Rapids and the crowd would chant my name "Han - Son! Han - Son!" and I would bask in the spotlight and smile. After reading about the downfall of Hogan and Cosby, I'm quite certain I am satisfied to work where I work, to be married to whom I am married, and to be the father to whom I am the father as opposed to the opposite, which would be to have your past mistakes in the spotlight.

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