“Cheap Heat” is a professional wrestling term used to describe a throwaway remark or action by a performer that requires little effort and is guaranteed to elicit a negative crowd reaction. Examples of this would be wiping one’s ass with a Josh Allen jersey in Buffalo or reminding the fine people of Jacksonville their football team’s never going to win a Super Bowl.
The use of cheap heat by conservative commentator Matt Walsh on his Daily Wire Plus show is especially galling, considering Matt’s schtick would fit right in if he were a heel wrestling manager back in the territories. I’m talking specifically today about a clip my mean-ass editor assaulted me with Wednesday night where Walsh took issue with Disney casting a young black girl in the lead of the live-action “Little Mermaid” remake.
It wasn’t “wokeism” or “over-representation” that bothered Walsh. No, Matt took issue with the fact casting a dark-skinned mermaid wouldn’t be “scientific.” According to Walsh, real mermaids would “scientifically” be more likely to have translucent skin.
Now before the Sweet Baby Gang comes in hot to the comments and tells me Matt was being sarcastic, I get it. He’s got a deadpan delivery that tends to make people question when he’s being serious and when he’s joking. Still, going to the “unscientific” route is pretty low hanging fruit if you’re going to make jokes about a female lead’s skin color.
I say it’s low hanging fruit when I should say it’s imaginary fruit. Because mermaids, like that imaginary fruit I just mentioned, aren’t real. Therefore making any sort of argument about how science would dictate a mermaid’s skin color makes you look like an idiot.
Mermaids are creatures of fiction. They are basically subject to the whims of whoever cooks them up in their imaginations. In the animated film, someone dreamed Ariel was a ginger. This will be a different take. Both can have equal merit without a grown man with children bitching about either one.
Speaking of the fantasy genre, it requires a certain suspension of disbelief if it’s going to make any sense at all. Which if you stop and think about it, “The Little Mermaid” is devoid of any sense entirely. It’s a story of a half human, half fish hybrid who’s so dense she can’t recognize a fork when her father wields one for a weapon. The hybrid creature falls in love with a human prince, so she makes a deal with a morbidly obese sea witch who has tentacles for legs to give her human legs in exchange for the fish-human’s voice so she can attempt to woo her prince by…sign language and batting eyes? I think that’s the plot.
I also probably ruined “The Little Mermaid” for many of you by referring to Ariel as a half-human, half fish hybrid seeking sexual relations with human beings. If that is the case, I only slightly apologize. You should’ve known my mind was in the gutter when I started this post.
But back to Walsh. This sort of cheap heat is meant to garner a reaction from conservatives, who will snarl and go “Goddamn right that Little Mermaid is too woke! I’ll never let my kids watch that crap!” as well as leftists who will scream about how Walsh is an intolerant bigot who can’t see how representation is important to people of color.
Either way, Matt sells more books and DW+ subscriptions, and keeps his name in the press. And you fall for it if you allow yourself to get taken in by his remarks.
It’s also either intellectually dishonest to pull a stunt like this or Matt can’t remember what he said a couple of years ago about Charlize Theron not being allowed to play a transgender man in a movie I think never got made once the Twitter mobs pointed out she wasn’t an actual transgender male. At the time, Matt said the point of acting was to pretend on stage or screen to be something one was not. Not allowing Theron to play a transgender male defeated the point of acting altogether, according to Walsh. So this latest off the cuff remark is either laziness or intellectual dishonesty. Either way, I’ve got to ding him for it here.
Plus, if Matt’s actually upset about the live action “Little Mermaid” having dark skin, I have news for him: it’s two button pushes away on Disney Plus to get to the original. Or he can have his kids watch that DW+Kids content his bosses have spent over a million bucks on creating. Options are a thing, Matt, and they’re great to have!
Matt, on the off chance you Google your name and read this, I want you to know that I’m just disappointed. You’ve got an amazing gift to poke at cultural beehives to the point where people start copying your act in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. You can do so much with your platform in Nashville to hammer away at the sacred cows the left holds so dearly, and when you do use that platform you manage to get some really effective results.
It’s just beneath you to make side jokes about an actress’s skin color not being “scientific” enough to play the part of an imaginary sea creature.
And to steal a line from Walsh himself, for the crime of using “cheap heat” in a manner pro wrestling fans can see a mile away, Matt Walsh is officially canceled.
Happy Friday, everyone! No matter how your week’s been, at least you’re not a self-professed middle aged crazy man on the Internet trying to allegedly pick a fight with a media personality!
We’ll see you next week!
And Matt: If you’re ever in my Scruffy City (we’re about 3.5 hours away from your Nashville offices), the BBQ is on me, and I’ll even be a good host and take you to the good local spot, not some garbage chain joint.