We'll be discussing Drawing Heat in class tomorrow, but I wanted to make a specific point about Freedman's earlier essay we read in class last week, after reading an excellent post from Omar about the meaning of "Will the Sheik Throw His Blinding Fireball?" and its use of the small town of Simcoe.
My greatest takeaway from that piece has always been Freedman's examination of why the bad guy wins. We've already seen people explain why the good guy wins. I've mentioned the theory that some have that the joy of wrestling is to see the bad guy cheat and then the good guy eventually cheat, to "fight fire with fire," as explaining the joy of the hero's prevailing, even if using the villain's tactics. But, in wrestling, the bad guy wins half of the time, or even more than half of the time, perhaps. Why do people pay big money to see Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper get beat up, as Tess points out, or to see Rey Misterio get squashed when returning from knee surgery to say hello to the fans, while still on crutches, again by Umaga, as we saw on Smackdown this past week.
On page 76 of his essay, Freedman writes, "There is a moral and political battle going on. Not between two individuals but between two explanations of how individuals fare in their daily affairs; one is the ideology of capitalism--that is, that all men are equal in the market place--the other, the practice of capitalism--that is, that good, honest men are at a distinct disadvantage."
His theory, then, is that fans know that the ideology of capitalism is not actually true, that the hardest workers aren't always the most rewarded, and that many of the people who get to the top do so by cheating. So, when the bad guy wins, the fans inherently understand because, if you go with the perception that many of these fans are working class, then it is the story of their own lives, and they understand the hero's plight...that the hero deserved to win, but that the world doesn't fight fair.
Cynical? You bet. But it equates wrestling with country music, where the real power is to capture that feeling of the world being against you, being down on your luck, etc. Any thoughts?