Note: Greyson Peltier’s columns feature social analysis and discuss the fight to Change The World, through the lens of kayfabe. Strong language may be used and concepts presented may not represent conventional practices.
Recently, major publications like the New York Times and The New Yorker have featured commentaries postulating on the a possibility of a new Civil War in the United States. Experts have theorized that this so-called war would appear as a series of decentralized, isolated insurgencies of individuals from dominant groups who have established power and dominance and feel that such is threatened by appropriate representation of diverse populations. This subset of people is to be distinguished from conservatives who hold their views on strictly economic or religious grounds rather than devolve to intolerance of certain demographic groups. On multiple occasions Dan Lambert has portrayed this archetype in wrestling form, as a conservative, anti-woke, self-appointed guard of tradition and masculinity. Most tellingly, he unleashed his arguments against Page at the nation’s capital during Dynamite on January 19th, the eve of the 1st anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration.
His arguments lead with obviously contradictory ad hominem oozing with strength and traditionalism. Though the logical flaws are apparent to those critically reviewing it, as was learned by media who found supporters unfazed by former President Trump’s gaffes, the target audience of the speech does not care, what they care about is that a real, tough, strong man cares about the things they care about. The alternative facts are accepted without thought because of the attitude and intensity they come with, not to mention that accepting them appears mentally as a contingency to being viewed as part of an in-group of strong fighters. Knowing the growing movement Adam Page has built around him, Lambert sees the threat to his side’s dominance as a result of Page’s re-conceptualization of the cowboy attitude, progressive ideas portrayed as strength and not weakness, and perhaps most importantly, the validation Hangman’s World Championship gives to his philosophy. As such, Lambert first throws all he has at delegitimizing Page’s cowboy credentials, then imputes cultural grievances of older generations against younger generations on Page, and forms an unlikely coalition with Lance Archer. This has led to the upcoming “Texas Death Match” title match between Page and Archer.
As I have outlined in my past articles, if this new form of Cowboy Shit continues to prevail, the future generation of strong warriors, alongside the general trends of Millennials and Gen Z, will be headed firmly toward Hangman’s corner. Following the playbook of conservative youth leaders, Lambert has recruited strong “men of the year” subject to his demands and also now gains the coalition of another strong man in Archer.
If you can’t beat him, get him to agree with you
Lambert’s first encounter with Page appeared to be an olive branch, complimenting Page’s accomplishments as World Champion and even his attitude of saying back to the fans that he didn’t “deserve” but rather “earned” the championship. In my experience as a board member of Tea Party Youth, I used to often use this pattern wherein conservative ideologies will pick out a few aspects of a culture they are doing outreach to and praise them, then they seek to find an incongruent aspect of the subject culture’s ideas, which is then used to argue that they should replace those ideas with conservative ones. Attempting to use ideas of independence, free expeession, and toughness to manipulate skateboarding and punk rock, then seeing they are really a prime example of how the fusion of individualistic and communitarian ideas can work well is how I ultimately left conservatism. (Now I am dreaming of a CM Punk and Hangman tag team called CM Folk Punk, somewhat similar to RK-Bro between Randy Orton and Matt Riddle)
My prior articles have argued that Page represents both a re-definition of the country lifestyle into a more progressive form in the image of the younger generations and of the idea of masculine strength. The new version of masculinity is a theme that now permeates the AEW movement. To surreptitiously poke a hole in Page’s allegiance to progressive ideas and the fan community, Lambert utilizes Page’s assertion that his championship was not “deserved” but rather “earned,” his correction of the fans as such, and praises his athleticism and skill, hoping to create rapport between the two. This mirrors the pattern of creating communities around honor and strength I have seen in the “Manosphere” pipeline. Then through this alleged self-development they can cause participants to believe that everything in life is earned and hence poor outcomes in populations can solely be attributed to personal character flaws rather than systemic issues. It also somewhat mirrors a pattern of diluting solidarity when someone gains success by having them identify more with other successful people than the common man. Lambert seeks to trick Page into a submission hold against his acknowledgment of the role external factors play in success.
He asserts that the only thing Page has not earned is his gimmick as a cowboy, and that he can keep the fruits of his in-ring success even if he makes this compromise. Lambert then seeks to compare and contrast Page with cowboy wrestlers from years past, falling deep into the No True Scotsman fallacy. In North Carolina, Lambert attempted to frame the working-class hero Page as a coastal elite, east coast cowboy, as he is from Virginia, a location that Lambert may hope will be mentally associated in viewers’ minds with DC establishment leaders living in Fairfax County and hence the proverbial “swamp.”
However, Adam Page shows excellent rhetorical technique in countering Lambert, using strong message discipline by focusing on his agenda, his desire for a challenger and a title match, rather than Lambert’s narrative. He briefly answers them by motivating his base, calling him a “walking Facebook profile,” and sticking to the facts of his personal background as a real-life cowboy who lived in a sparsely populated small town on a family farm in Virginia with 100 heads of cattle. This is done without falling into any of Lambert’s ensnaring lines of argument. He highlights how his home was just a few hours out from the arena location in North Carolina, connecting him further with the fan base in the stands and placing a far different mental image in viewers’ minds.
The Whimpering Desperation of Prejudice
When intolerant thinkers are not able to rely on strength or reason, when overcome by power combined with love and intellect, all that is left is to turn to prejudice. After realizing Page’s cowboy credentials were as solid as his “full gear ready” body, Lambert effectively reversed my positive take on Page reflecting an alternative country lifestyle in speaking to his base. Lambert’s intellectually unintelligible argument was fiery and contradictory, like the “alternative facts” used by far-right commentators like Tucker Carlson, but perhaps effective in emotionally short-circuiting the higher-level thinking that would validate the facts of Page’s cowboy legitimacy. He manages to sneak misogyny into an agricultural discussion with by adding demeaning words about women to the obvious fact that milking cows are females. He deviates then into the realm of “soy-boy” rhetoric by making the utterly (or “udderly,” get it) ridiculous assertion that cows can make soy milk for lattes that Anxious Millennial Cowboys allegedly drink. This also leverages the expensive coffee trope that permeates financial security discussions about Millennials. All of this is to get a rise from Lambert’s base, to draw a line in the sand, to have them now fully oppose Page in the coming Texas Death Match culture war. Page does not answer these words but instead sticks to his readiness for his match against Archer.
In Chicago, Adam Page likewise counters Lambert‘s anti-indigenous and anti-woke rhetoric regarding the name change of the Cleveland Indians by stopping his argument promptly and expressing that he simply does not care about anything Lambert says. This is a negative form of message discipline by simply refusing to engage, which sometimes works. Lambert anchors his argument with the classic idea of Cowboys and Indians facing off, calling Page a “soft-ass cowboy” who would “feel more comfortable in a city that cancelled their Indians,” than to appear in Chicago, where the Blackhawks still have a name based on indigenous populations. Then, Jake “The Snake” Roberts attempted to play into Page’s known insecurities and anxiety, by saying (likely as a projection) that he was “acting different, “jumping around,” “having bad dreams,” and that he Lambert using Roberts follows a pattern of corralling well-known legacy leaders to the side of the more extremist ideology to give it legitimacy, as has happened with legislators in the Republican Party during the Trump administration.
Ideas like Lambert’s can be defeated through a mobilized and excited base like Page has built in his fans, disciplined messaging, and cold, hard, undeniable proof of the strength that comes through solidarity. They fight by proxy by developing future and current strong men that can be taken in as they are recovering from various challenges in their lives, as was shown recently by the leaked fitness and lifestyle programs of extremist group Patriot Front, but this pipeline too can be disrupted. Positive alternative groups working to create change in many communities across the country and the world are open, embodying the Dark Order’s spirit of mutual aid through peaceful cooperation, by helping people help each other, not thrusting them into needless confrontations. They do not back down from a fight, and neither does Adam Page.
Greyson Peltier is the host of The Fixerpunk Podcast, a communications consultant specializing in social impact, and founder of Laguna Beach, CA-based consulting firm Off Speed Solutions. He has been on both sides of the political aisle and has worked for multiple organizations. Peltier holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Southern California and has been featured by media outlets like Vice, ESPN Radio KLAA, USA Radio Network, and Street Fight Radio.
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