Excuse me for not responding for so long. I heard there was an interpretive dance exhibition in Montreal and I just had to go. Sipping on fine wine and analyzing the movement in French with people I know from McGill is such a cultural experience.
I guess I struck somewhat of a chord with people on this blog and that was entirely my point. It was not a heel turn, there will be no redeeming face turn, nor will I cut a promo. I was simply telling you what I was seeing as an outside observer.
I'm not going to go through each of the responses to my initial post line by line. This is the not the Zapruder film.
I will quickly say to the two people who thought I was delivering a heel promo...no, just telling it like I see it. To the person who picked on my spelling...whenever anybody doesn't have a logical response to an argument, they usually go right for spelling and grammar. It's very 1995 Prodigy chatroom and it's weak. I enjoyed the last poster's comments and will comment further on those in a moment. I think there was another post in there, but you just weren't memorable enough since I don't recall what you said. Take cues from your classmates and blog with personality.
I don't want you to get the wrong idea about me. I love pro wrestling. I love the history. If you saw my bookshelf at home, it looks like the Sports/Wrestling shelf at Barnes and Noble. I love watching it on television and live. And yes, I like discussing all aspects of it.
Here's the thing: there's a big difference between discussing it and overanalyzing the hell out of it. You can still have a very worthwhile, effective class discussing wrestling without overanalyzing it. It's the difference between holding a "dinner party" and simply having friends over for supper. There's a level of academic discourse going on here that is so far off the deep end it starts to lose its meaning. Some of your readings are like this, but if you look at authors, it's almost always professors who need to show the school something to keep their jobs.
There is nothing wrong with discussing what you think will happen at Wrestlemania. There is nothing wrong with discussing why you don't like being around the low-art loving wrestling fans. There is nothing wrong with looking at how a story line is written and how it is supposed to get the audience involved. There is nothing wrong with discussing why the merchandising drives the product these days. There is nothing wrong with looking at the inviduals in front of and behind the camera.
These are all tangible options (and only a few, there are dozens) that will both teach you about wrestling and give you a stronger appreciation for it. Doesn't it make more sense to create an environment now that will allow you to flip on Monday Night Raw in two years and understand why one wrestler has a certain kind of pyro and another wrestler a different kind. Or, do you want to turn to the person you're with and explain how the subtext of the pyro is just an analogy for the audience's thirst for danger. Would you like to smartly point out that the match/storyline you are watching is similar to one they did in the Mid-South in the 1970s, or would you like to point out how that angle shows how both race and sexual orientation standards have changed for wrestling fans and then compare and contrast differences between the 1970s Mid-South audience and today's WWE?
I know many of you think you're looking at pro wrestling as an art, but you're not. You're looking at it like a science project, full of wild theories that can never be proven...and since this is wrestling and not quantum physics, who cares if they're ever proven? Most of you will just chalk this class up to experience, go on your comperative media studies ways, graduate, take a crappy PA job at the Fox TV affiliate in your hometown and wonder what happened.
Professional wrestling, he says for the 100th time, is a business. Comparing it to music or theater is a bit off because you can do Shakespeare in the Park or play your flute in your local park, today, right now. If two people go to have a wrestling match, they'll be booked for assault, disorderly conduct, or disturbing the peace. Professional wrestling must exist in a controlled environment more than any of those other things on many levels. For instance, how much security do you see at the opera? With wrestling, many buildings will only let you do your show if you've got a certain number of security guards per person and/or a certain number of police officers per person.
As a promoter I first had to book a building, then I had to get insurance, then I had to book talent, then I had to write the show, then I have to go advertise and market it. Then I have to arrange for souvenirs, concessions and proper audio equipment. The day of the show, I need to get a crew of 20 or so to get the ring up, set the chairs up, put the entranceway together, get the souvenirs, concessions and audio set up, go over with the talent what I'm expecting, get the ticket taker/money guy situated and wait for little things to go wrong. Before I've collected one dollar, I've spent $2,500 to $3,000 on the show, and that's without a big name on the card. It's another $500-$1,500 depending on who you bring in. Let's say the show costs $4,000. If my average ticket price is $10, I need 400 people to come through the door just to break even. If 300 people come through, and I average $2 per head on concessions and $1 per head on souvenirs, I still end up losing $100 for what amounts to probably 70-80 hours of effort to put the show on.
And you're going to tell me this isn't first and foremost a business?
And that's not to say I don't get other things out of it. I loved when I would sometimes play a manager. I loved seeing the same families come again and again. I loved the fact the building we did most of our shows in was where my dad and I went to see wrestling. I loved watching the performance and seeing something I wrote work, and see wrestlers improve and build confidence. There were more rewards than money (which often wasn't there to be a reward) but an opportunity to figure out why fans accept a babyface counted out vs. disqualified, and vice versa for the heel and what that said about them as people was not on the agenda.
When I'm doing everything listed above preparing, I don't have time to wonder if societal mores have changed and my homosexual babyface character will be accepted and help to change the faulty thinking of certain audience members. When Jim Ross comes in, ask him if he sees the fundamental aspects of Greek tragedy overplaying those of Greek comedy. Or, better yet, actually ask him questions about wrestling. The sooner you start talking more about wrestling, the more you're going to get out of this class.