Go ahead and judge me. I can take it. Right now, I doubt I could defend myself, anyway. I have been reading about Super Handicapped Pro-Wrestling ("Doglegs") in Japan, entertainment-centered wrestling for the differently abled (dudes with cerebral palsy, hearing and sight impairments, etc.), and my first impression is that it's hot. Okay? Hate me if you must. I'm just reporting my feelings and impressions here. I'm not saying they are necessarily right or high-minded feelings--and I'd be the first to admit that they probably warrant some serious soul-searching. I'm probably the only guy in the world who thought Daniel Day-Lewis was at perhaps his all-time hottest in My Left Foot, or who felt a little wood over South Park's fifth-season "cripple fight" episode. But there you are: I am a perv.
The Doglegs wrestlers give themselves colorful nicknames, like "No Sympathy" and "Welfare Power." They're fiercely independent guys, who like fighting, feel exhilarated and empowered by it (some of them have been housebound for years), and get off on the attention it brings them. They also battle able-bodied foes, so long as their opponents will handicap themselves by binding one or more limbs to make the fight fairer ... or at least more interesting. One cross-dressing wheelchair-bound contestant ("The Lover") wrestled his own non-handicapped eight-year-old son ("The Little Lover"), whose hands and feet were bound. (You have got to hand it to the Japanese. They have always felt at home with their kinks. I lived in Japan from ages ten to thirteen, so perhaps that fact explains a lot about me. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I grew up with a mother whose right arm was paralyzed, so the lives of handicapped people have been normalized for me since birth.) Doglegs cofounder Yukinori Kitajima claims the idea for the shows came to him over twenty years ago when he saw a couple of crippled guys fighting over a girl.
To the extent such exhibitions are geared to ridicule or pity these men, I would think that they are terrible things. But I honestly think the crowds are drawn to them by the novelty. Who doesn't feel some connection to people who, through no fault of their own, have lived their lives at a distance from their fellow man? And how much more like living is it for them to climb into a ring, crowds of people cheering them on, to kick shit out of some dude whose powerlessness and isolation match their own?