You must show no mercy…for your greatness will silence them all”
— Ultimate Warrior
In late July, Washington’s sidewalks sizzle in 95 degree sun, and the Potomac ensures that DC’s isn’t a dry heat. That said, DC will have an influx of tourists during the dog days this year. But perhaps tourists isn’t the right word; this year, a certain class of young folks will come to DC for the Young America Foundation’s 25th Annual National Conservative Student Conference, hoping to learn about “American history”, “free-market economics”, and the “conservative side of today’s pressing issues.”
Sounds like a hell of a time. And YAF, in certain circles, has a hell of a pedigree. Ronald Reagan, according to YAF’s site, would address the students and host them every year at the White House. I’m sure such is impossible with the current President, but one supposes that doesn’t matter so much; YAF’s roster is stacked with conservative stars from top to bottom.
The names read like a murderers’ row. Ann Coulter. Don Feder. Gordon Liddy. Men of ideas and substance, polemical women with surprisingly big hands and otherwise handsome features. Economist Milton Friedman will be in the house, lending his imprimatur to the proceedings. Terry Jeffrey of HUMAN EVENTS, a magazine I’ve never seen a physical copy of but have been assured exists. And, last but not least, “Warrior.”
Warrior will be speaking. You don’t know Warrior? He used to wrestle; first as the Dingo Warrior in Texas in the Mid-80s. Then in what was once called the WWF, during that simpler time when Ronald Reagan used to host the boys and girls from YAF, he worked as Ultimate Warrior. Roided to the gills, his face painted, he was just the kind of “sports entertainer” favored by Vince McMahon. The Ultimate Warrior, like all the other WWF Superstars of the day, had a look that turned heads in airports. That was part of the design.
Warrior, sadly, was a horrible professional wrestler. Uninterested in the craft of wrestling, Warrior came to be seen as a designated “draw”. The kind of worker who could be brought in for a short run, but who had to be jettisoned before the fans began to tire of his shtick. Due to his early marketability, it was perhaps inevitable that Warrior himself would see the business as a source of easy money to be seen with nothing but contempt.
Warrior hasn’t wrestled for a number of years, and most wrestling fans saw that as for the best. None of them, however, could have imagined him as a featured speaker [a “draw”] at a Political Action Conference that has featured luminaries like John Ashcroft, Edwin Meese, and Trent Lott. And after you read some of Warrior’s writing, published at http://www.ultimatewarrior.com, you as well will wonder what the hell YAF was thinking when they booked him for one of their premier events.
The best insight available into the mind of this very idiosyncratic speaker might be found in the “Generation Warrior” section of his site. Generation Warrior, as one would expect, is “is the identity of the omnipresent body of peerless individuals existent in every voguish X,Y,Z Generation. Unlike their faddish 20-30 year span — its start generally set off by a collison between disparate bodies of thinking and acting — warrior individuals are thread continuately throughout the whole of mankind’s existence.”
Naturally. Those tuned into the mindset of “Generation Warrior” will be interested in reading Warrior’s musings on “destrucity”, a concept coined by the YAF speaker himself. In case you’re having a problem defining the word via context clues, destrucity is a “way of balancing day-to-day existence (Reality) with what one can wonder or believe about existence beyond this world (Destiny) or, more specifically, how or whether that existence beyond, if it were to exist, plays any role in our lives here on Earth, as so many people, consciously or subconsciously, do believe. That was great I thought because I wanted to… carry creative yet serious ideas … to entertain and stimulate serious thinking — Edutainment.”
Edutainment. Now that’s an achievable goal. For Warrior, for Coulter, for all the others at that conference who seek to deliver on the promise of their speaking fees. One can only hope Warrior leads someone like Lisa Stewart of Bentley College to describe the 2003 YAF powwow as the “best experience… ever.” The future of America, according to YAF, almost certainly depends on it.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI’s work for CounterPunch has been recognized by Utne Reader as “Best of the Web.” He welcomes emails at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com