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Return to Modest Proposal #3

In which we address:

The numbers are in and the ratings are tallied,and the result is painfully obvious: somehow,in the world of "Dawson’s Creek," "Temptation Island," and "Wrestlemania," the XFL has managed to be both a horrible television show and a horrible ratings failure. We were all rooting for that lovable Vince McMahon to get to live out his dreams,but unfortunately the XFL has a lot in common with compassionate conservatism: despite the incredible amount of hype promising us something we’d never seen before, it turned out to be the same old thing, with more talking and less competence. And the ramifications of this are the same drastic consequences that occur every time a ridiculous fad fails to make people spend insane amounts of money: the economy suffers. We must defend truth and justice, the American way. We must salvage the XFL.

But as important as it is to keep free people spending, it’s even more important to keep imprisoned people paying. And here is where another of today’s greatest problems lies. In the past, through the miracle of torture, society got to hit back hard when people damaged it or smoked marijuana. But thanks to the rhetoric of "reform," "rehabilitation," and "refusing to hurt people for no concrete reason," prisons are now ineffective revolving door hotels that barely leave a scratch. Our newfound abhorrence of brutality, it seems, is crippling us.

To be honest, though, we really don’t abhor "brutality" per se -- just brutality that isn’t sponsored by Doritos. After all, in their proper context, pain and suffering still have the appeal they’ve always had for us, which is why Vince McMahon was successful in the first place. As the Romans knew, violence can serve simultaneously as entertainment and as punishment, and this is precisely what we propose: to repopulate the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, the Las Vegas Outlaws, the Los Angeles Riots, and the Salt Lake City Nazis with prisoners.

As far as systems of punishment go, the XFL would be far superior to a cage. Prisoners could riot all they want -- the ratings would only go up. If we needed to execute someone, we could forget about all those costly appeals and just make them play quarterback. Victims’ rights would be easier to uphold than ever before. No more lobbying for closed-circuit TV; no more sitting around hoping their violators have dropped the soap; a quick call to Ticketmaster and an afternoon of hot dogs and beer would be all it takes to heal.

And more importantly, if we replace those aging football pros playing for the love of the game with hardened cons playing for the fear of the death, we’ll have some REAL football. After all,violent homicidal convicts can play the vicious no-holds-barred game that makes perfect television programming,as anyone from Dallas knows (go Cowboys!) The really bad ones might even bring weapons on the field and perform the kind of tackles we’ve seen only in our dreams. In fact, why not distribute weapons as part of the game? Shields, lances, and hand grenades could finally give the American people what they want: blood, guts, glory, and proper retribution for every poor call by the refs. Entertainment, previously held back by human rights concerns, will reach new heights as it involves people who are completely expendable! After all, they’re criminals, aren’t they?