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Feb 13, 2024

Irv Muchnick is one of America’s leading sports writers and investigative journalists.

His essays and other writing have appeared in Sports Illustrated, People, The Washington Monthly, and the Sunday magazines of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of the books Chris & Nancy; Wrestling Babylon; Concussion Inc., Without Helmets or Shoulder Pads: The American Way of Death in Football Conditioning; and Underwater: The Greed-Soaked Tale of Sexual Abuse in USA Swimming and Around the Globe.

Irv Muchnick reflects on why the recent “revelations” about Vince McMahon’s alleged Caligula-like sexual exploitation of an employee, harassment, and of creating a larger environment of sexual predation at the WWE/WWF should in no way be a surprise given what has been publicly known for decades.

Irv also offers some context from his long history of reporting on the subculture(s) of professional wrestling and other sports such as swimming and gymnastics about how and why sexual harassment and abuse are unfortunately all too common both in those spaces and across American society.

And Irv connects the dots between Donald Trump and Vince McMahon and what he describes as the “Trumpification” of American politics and life.

Chauncey reflects on nostalgia, innocence, joy, pleasure, fan culture, and how to reconcile loving professional wrestling (and other things) with knowing about the real-life drama and human cost that it brings to its participants and others in that world. Ultimately, is innocence bliss?

And Chauncey shares a story about being a hero in your own neighborhood (even when sick), thanks everyone for their support during his battle with the cooties, and in that spirit makes a public health announcement about the merits of folk medicine and the all-powerful asafetida bag.

At the end of this episode of the podcast, there is also an “Easter egg” bonus segment from the archives with writer, movie producer, and director Barry Blaustein where he reflects on making the landmark professional wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat.


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