Episode 33: The Progressive Liberal Is Wrestling's Most Brilliant Villain

June 28th 2017

ATTN: Staff


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A man named Dan Richards is causing quite a stir in a local wrestling circuit—the Kentucky-based Appalachian Mountain Wrestling—and the commotion is not over his moves, but his politics. Richards goes by the moniker "Progressive Liberal." The gimmick serves as the perfect heel (or villain), and crowds in Kentucky love to hate him.

Deadspin reports that Richards claims his politics are left-leaning, but the character of the "Progressive Liberal" takes liberal proselytizing to the next level. Richards told Deadspin's Samar Kalaf that liberals should “be as ballsy and unapologetic about their beliefs as the Republicans are about theirs."

Whether that was told to Deadspin in jest or in truth, the "Progressive Liberal" is the perfect parody of what many find intolerable about Democrats as a whole. He corrects how people say Appalachia. He condescends, telling folks that they voted against their own interests; he says in an interview he'll "reprogram" and "reeducate" the people, all while wearing a shirt covered in Hillary Clinton's face.

As a villain, the character is brilliant. "The Progressive Liberal is a solid character," Kalaf wrote. "He strikes the right level of condescension and punchable smugness."

For actual progressive liberals, the character may serve several purposes: It may be cathartic to watch someone yell what you're thinking, or it may be hard to stomach the outward hatred shown towards this character. However, at his best the "Progressive Liberal's" unbearable self-righteousness might chasten progressives to admit their own condescension towards those on the opposite end of the political spectrum.

For strategists, looking at how crowds respond to the "Progressive Liberal" could be a good lesson on how not to message left-leaning views and policies (at least outside the ring).

The cast of "Got Your Attention" discusses this along with celebrities hiding or sharing photos of their kids (and what all parents should know about putting their kids on social media) and teens using the pull-out method, followed by a quiz on climate change solutions.

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • Ivanka Trump listed the four reasons she thinks her dad deserves an A+ on his report card.
  • Dan Richards is getting national notoriety as a bad guy in Appalachian Mountain Wrestling known as “The Progressive Liberal,” Deadspin explains.
  • The New York Times explains why your credit score might look better in the near future.
  • The new "Transformers" movie claims Harriet Tubman worked with the Autobots to free the slaves; the internet is not amused.
  • Celebrity babies. Should celebrity parents be hiding them like Beyonce and Jay-Z with their very secret twins? Or should we be Snapchatting from the delivery room like DJ Khaled?
  • Here's what the Wall Street Journal has to say about putting your kids on social media.
  • BuzzFeed’s headline: "Teen Girls Tried To Stop Austin Jones In 2015." According to this BuzzFeed report, back in 2015 teen girls tried to sound the alarm on YouTube star Austin Jones, who was recently arrested on two counts of production of child pornography.
  • A lot of teens use the pull-out method, according to a new study from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
  • Anonymous claimed it was about to reveal the existence of aliens, and NASA had to debunk that, according to The Washington Post.
  • ATTN: published a piece this week about why you get out of breath when you take the stairs, no matter how in or out of shape you are.
  • What do you really know about solving global warming? The New York Times has a quiz about solutions to climate change (every day ones that you could do now). The possible solutions are taken from the book “Drawdown,” edited by the green entrepreneur Paul Hawken. Some of the answers will surprise you.
  • You can legally make cosmetics and start selling them the without needing any kind of permission from the FDA. The number of complaints the FDA received doubled from 2015 to 2016, and last year was the first time they released any sort of data since 2004, NPR explains.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members—Staff Writer Mike Rothschild, Senior Editor Sarah Gray, and Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan—pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.