mock sport until he finally took her to one of the “athletic exhihihons.”rnWithin minutes, she was at ringside begging her newrnchampion to murder the bum.rnThe fans do know these matches are not only rigged butrnstaged—on ‘IV it is clear that few, if any, of the punches comernclose to hitting meat—and none of them is dumb enough to betrnon a VWP’ “championship” match, yet they conhnue to act outrnthe fantasy, hlere is the “willing suspension of disbelief” with arnvengeance, and Vince McMahon is more poet than promoter.rnBut what kind of poetr}-? Imagine the philosophy of the Marcjuisrnde Sade set to a grcchng card rhyme. Like so many modernrnAmerican males, Sade was incapable of taking pleasure inrnthe ordinary things of life. Morally and intellectually feeble, hernwallowed in unnatural fantasies of sex and violence.rnThose who have never read Konrad Lorenz imagine that hernbelieved that man was a naturally vicious predator who coiddrnnot escape the competitive violence of his bestial ancestors. Onrnthe eontrar)’, Lorenz proved that real predators like wolves andrnlions were naturally programmed with social mechanisms thatrncould bring a fight to a bloodless end. Kvery dog owner hasrnseen a beaten or dominated dog roll over, exposing its genitals,rnas an act of submission. It is non-predatorv’ creatures, such asrnLorenz’s jackdaws, who will peck one another to death becausernthey lack the necessary social inhibitions.rnMan is not wolf to man, as the Latin proverb has it, but birdrnto man. Once the appetite for violence is created, only the artificialrnconstraints of society and civilization can restrain it. Thernpopularity of rassling shows us that those restraints are gone.rnIf American males are now sissies addicted to violent fantasies,rntiie question is: After rassling, what? The really creativerncultural entrepreneius in our society — people like VincernMcMahon, Jerry Springer, and (on a lower level) Ted Turnerrn—understand that, as our own personal lives thin out like wateryrnbatter on a hot grill, Americans arc demanding real-lifernsoap opera. The obvioirs next step is rassling-to-the-death as arnlive-audience game show.rnThe brightest new TV show. Survivor (CBS), will strand malcrnand female contestants on a desert island off the Borneo coast,rnand every dircc days the survivors will vote to expel one of tiieirrnnumber, witii the last man (or woman) standing to receive onernmillion dollars. This is a recipe for sexual intrigue and intimidation,rnand viewers can hope that some lucky contestant will berntrampled to deatii by a wild boar or murdered by a rival. Survivorrnis a rip-ofif of a Swedish show. Expedition Robinson, whosernfirst loser killed himself a montii after returning from the island.rnThis movement toward real-time soap opera was anticipatedrnbv Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 45J, but it took pop writerrnStephen King to put the elements of the game show, rassling,rnand the soap opera togetiicr into the greatest show not yet onrntelevision: The Running Man. In the Arnold Schwarzeneggerrnvehicle, innocent and heroic men, vilified by their brutal government,rnare forced to run for their lives and face a series of professionalrnslayers, including a very campv all-American “CaptainrnPVeedom”-played by Jesse Ventura, gussied up in a red-whiteand-rnblue rassling costume.rnThe Running Man is only 12 years old, but it has die feel ofrnreality 2000, when a very campy Captain Freedom witii a mindrnto match his foul mouth is the political hero to millions of unmannedrnAmerican males. That excessive use of steroids mayrnlead to sterility and impotence is only one more reason forrnAmerica’s resentfid capons to identify with Jesse Ventura.rnDICTATIONSrnContemptible Familiaritiesrn”W roiild you guyn like somethin’ to drink?” Irncould not help smiling at the lady andrnhvo men sitting across the table from mernin this California restaurant injected into the middle ofrnNorth (.Carolina. We had just been deploring the use ofrnthis slang expression to mean “ladies and gentlemen”rnand debating the possibility of asking waitresses tornavoid it. The waitress cocked her liead and asked ifrnsomething was wrong. After a few moments of embarrassedrnhesitation, 1 told her: “This is a lady silting next tornme, not a guy, and the rest of us are men or even gentlemen,rnnot guys or kids or fellows.”rn”Then what ain I supposed to say?”rnWhen one Southern literal^ gent at the table suggestedrn”You all,” .she protested, “But then I’d sound likerna cracker.” We assured her that Hie best people saidrn’Yall” and added that if she wanted to talk Yankee, shernshould talk old Philadelphia and not suburban PesrnMoines.rnGuy, whether it is derived from the effigies of ChiyrnFawkes burnt on the filth of November or, as Menckenrnbelieved, from tlie gny-rf)]je of a circus tent, has nothingrnto recommend itself as a term of address. Chestertonrnobjected to being called a “regular guv” when he visitedrnAmerica—perhaps lie thought he was being accusedrnof being a C^atholic terrorist. The real point to usingrnguys is that it is a wea])on in the war to eliminate distinctionsrnand to level sexes, ranks, and ages into onernneutral category that ])robably includes domestic animals.rnLike “citizen” or “comrade,” guys is a politicalrnterm that does nothing to elevate the waitress but onlyrndenies the .social reality constructed by men and women,rnyoung and old. If pressed, the sweet young thingrnfrom Concord might have said she was doing this 50-rnsomething old man a favor bv treating him as “one ofrnthe guys,” but some oi us old bucks are proud to haverngot to where we are and can barelv tolerate the .societyrnof the un(ler-35 guvs, clucks, dudes, and hey-mansrnwhose ]5hilosophy of life is “I deserve a break today.”rnDid somebody sa)’ “stiipid”?rn—Humpty Dumptyrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn