Sunday, February 11, 2007

Well, Here We Go...


So, who am I?

My name's Rob. I'm a "21E" (joint major) in Comparative Media Studies (CMS) and Computer Science (Course VI). I'm in my 8th semester and my 5th year here at MIT (does that make me a "super senior" yet?).

So, what am I doing in this class?

Well, I really have no personal interest in professional wrestling myself, but it sure is an interesting phenomenon I'm curious to learn a little bit more about. You don't seem to hear about it that often, yet from seemingly nowhere, there are a whole lot of people watching this stuff everyday. $40 for a single viewing of a pay-per-view wrestling event? That right there is amazing to me!

My main interests hover in the area of mass media and mass entertainment (videogames, television, etc.), so I think the unique success (why, who, where, how, etc.) of professional wrestling as a form of mass entertainment is probably what interests me the most about this subject.

In doing the readings and watching the documentary on Wednesday and Thursday I was already surprised to see just how far back wrestling goes as a fairly succcesful form of mass entertainment, so I'm curious to see how much the audience and what they get out of it has changed.

I also find it interesting how some things seemed to have changed dramatically over the years, yet the basic experience doesn't seem to be very different, so I'm interested in looking at how these changes have added or detracted from the enjoyment of wrestling, and whether they've really changed things at all or maybe just refined and distilled the experience that people have always enjoyed.

So, I guess that is about all I have to say!

I don't know much about professional wrestling, but I'm curious to learn more about it -- especially its success or lack thereof in the context of mass media and entertainment -- and see where this goes.


Alex Maki said...

If you really want to dive into all of these topics pertaining to professional wrestling, you should really look into when the WWE changed from having cartoonish characters designed to attract a younger audience into when it became WWE (then-WWF) "Attitude".

Sam Ford said...


Thanks for the introduction, super senior, and we are glad to have you in the class. I want to have that nice balance of lifelong fans learning more about the history and the "why" of the genre, and people like you who have an intellectual interest in the appeal of pro wrestling and who have studied relevant fields surrounding it.

Wrestling plays out on television and video games, so it certainly has a direct impact on the fields you are interested in, especially on cable television, where wrestling has long been a staple and a top-rated show. In fact, it has helped tip the scales for USA by bringing WWE back, and the main two WWE brands, Raw and Smackdown, are currently at their most popular in several years, according to the story ratings are showing.

Hope this blog provides a place for us to teach each other and learn from each other, as we start delving into the reading materials and analyzing the viewings in greater detail.