Monday, January 3, 2011

Mexican Wrestling Just Says No to Drugs

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2011, and we'll start by blogging about this fun (and funny) piece from The Washington Post about "lucha libre," the Mexican professional wrestling satirized (immortalized?) in the 2006 Jack Black film Nacho Libre.

David McNew / Getty Images
(Yes, that "luchador" is dressed as a chicken.)
While "narcocultura" - the trappings and legends of dope-smuggling, gun-toting millionaire hillbillies such as Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman - has penetrated every other element of Mexican pop culture, from movies and music to TV and religion, the masked lucha libre characters and their corny good-vs.-evil story lines have remained untouched.
"Perhaps the reason is that lucha is more innocent," said Sandra Granados, press deputy for the World Council of Lucha Libre, one of the main promoters.
But [Jorge] Chabat said: "It is probably because the government has told them they cannot. And I can understand why. I can't imagine a wrestling character called 'El Traficante' in the ring, or 'El Super Narco,' or 'the Assassin.' I can't imagine they would allow it." ...
"I really don't know how the public would react to a character representing the narcos. I don't know if they would cheer for them or boo them. They don't want to turn these guys into superheroes. What if the audiences really applaud?" 
That's the question, isn't it?  Read the whole thing -- it's a good read about how drug abuse and trafficking becomes (or doesn't become) part of a culture.  I've blogged before about how drug trafficking arguably has its own language and its own religion.  In Mexico, it appears that -- for now, at least -- the drug culture cannot claim pro wrestling as its own sport.