AS I SEE IT
Assorted thoughts on two subjects...
First, the Bob Ryder controversy with SCOOPThis.com.
Most of you have heard by now of the controversy caused when parody site SCOOPThis.com opinion writer Trey Conway printed a legitimate "Notes To Bob" series of point-counterpoint articles on the Notes From Bob columns sent out by Bob Ryder. Ryder threatened legal action unless the series was removed, claiming copyright infringement. Many on the Internet responded by challenging Ryder through posting the "Notes To Bob" series on The Other Arena, rec.sports.pro-wrestling, and other message boards. Two sites, including PWBTS, offered Trey Conway a place to post his articles.
Bob Ryder has since withdrawn that request, still claiming he had a legal right to have challenged the articles, but also claiming that his reaction was "stupid"; and was largely due to pressure from "hate e-mail" he'd received, and abusive treatment in the #WCW chat room he helps moderate.
Fair enough. We all make mistakes.
But consider the reason Ryder got the heat in the first place. Bob Ryder has been working for WCW for some time now, without having acknowledged that fact until very recently, when he began contributing to the WCW website and to WCW/NWO Magazine, as well as helping moderate the #WCW chat room, primarily doing pre-/post-Nitro and PPV chats.
While doing this, Ryder has owned and operated the 1wrestling.com website, providing news and rumors to people all over the Internet. He therefore sets himself up as an independent source of information. At the same time, Ryder and his RDR Online Services also own and operate the ECW website, ecwwrestling.com, a fact that certain people didn't seem happy to have revealed back last spring.
No one would begrudge Ryder his right to work for a major wrestling company. It's a free country and it's his right to do so.
No one would begrudge Ryder his right to operate a major website. It's a free country and it's his right to do so.
No one even begrudges Ryder his right to strong opinions...Lord knows, I'd be the last person to do that given what I write in this column.
But you can't have it both ways.
Even the favorite whipping boy of the Internet, Mark Madden gave up his column in the Pro Wrestling Torch when he went to work for World Championship Wrestling. Whatever you think of Mark Madden, he's still collecting a paycheck from WCW, and therefore should be viewed through a different set of glasses. He doesn't pretend to be other than what he is, even though it does seem he spends too much trying to put himself over rather than the company.
But when you try and have it both ways, expect to have people scrutinize what you write. Expect critical comments, and be able to deal with them; and don't use the device of legal intimidation to attempt to silence others.
Finally, in a related vein, are the comments that WCW staff including Bob Ryder, and even Eric Bischoff himself have made regarding the over-the-top angles in WWF programming style lately; claiming that WCW's product is more "family-friendly" programming...
Perhaps they could explain how the following recent WCW angles are "family friendly":
* The proposed "rape angle" at the 1/4/99 Georgia Dome show, where the storyline would have Goldberg accused of "raping" Elizabeth. This didn't come off only because Bill Goldberg had the good sense to refuse to do the angle. It instead became a storyline accusation of "aggravated stalking".
* The upcoming "kidnapping" angle with Scott Steiner and Kimberly Falkenberg.
* Greater use of profanity by Scott Steiner, Ric Flair and others (profanity by WCW standards, anyhow).
* Numerous references to a particular sex act by Konnan that is more than likely considered sodomy in the state of Georgia....the "salad tossing" line.
* Anti-gay comments that have had to be bleeped.
* The Scott Steiner "andro" rip on Mark McGwire at the December TWA Dome show in St.Louis. I've three words on that one, Scott: pot, kettle, black.
Those angle all sound like wholesome family stuff to me....Um, yeah.
If the above was a matter of WCW feeling that they had to compete with the WWF and ECW for the adult market, that would be one thing. WCW would be making their choice, and would then hope for the best. But for Eric Bischoff and his employees to talk one game to mainstream media like USA Today, yet play another on TV is blatant hypocrisy that the company needs to get called on.
Or is it not just hypocrisy, but desperation after getting whipped in the Monday night ratings week after week, and being willing to try anything, no matter what?
Guess Tuesday afternoons aren't as much fun any more, huh, Eric?
Until next time....
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org