The other day, someone was whining at me for not going back and responding to people’s questions. I assumed that nobody wanted answers, preferring just to pound out a response because it’s part of the class requirements and that these people didn’t really like me. But, I guess I was wrong. I’ve gone through every post where I thought a question was being asked of me and also on several where there are simply comments about me, or what I had written. Answers will be kept short since there’s really a lot of these suckers.
Do you have the slightest clue what Comparative Media Studies is or what the goals are?
As a media studies major in the mid-90s, yes, I understand the department and I understand what the goals are. I just didn’t go to….I can’t seem to remember the name of your school. You really need to post it more to remind me.
Do you understand what the point of this class is, what is being taught and how the students are being asked to think about it?
Sam was kind enough to give me a syllabus, so yes.
You think people shouldn't bother thinking about the audience?
I think in the limited time you have in this class, the business, in-ring performance and characters should come first. I also think since you’re likely not able to perform focus groups or surveys with fans, anything you come up with is speculative at best. Might as well go bet on the horses if you’re just pulling conclusions out of thin air.
Mike W asks:
Wrestling has no basis in greco-roman style?
For many years I believed it did, having a Nordic vs. Alpine skiing relationship, but the more I read the less I could draw parallels except in the word “wrestling”.
Did fighting just occur naturally in the carnival, with no influence from a millenia-old sport?
Fighting occurs naturally at the carnival, haven’t you ever been? It's usually between two 20-year-old guys just out of prison over some disgusting 16-year-old named Dawn or crystal meth, or both. I could say pro wrestling has an influence from Adam and Eve, but I’m not going to reach that far. Does roller derby have its roots in demolition derby?
Women's wrestling is dead?
Technically no, but let’s be honest. Its health is somewhere between tag-team and midget wrestling. The only way you’ll really make it as a female wrestler vs. Diva is in Japan. The greatest match I’ve ever seen live was a one-hour hardcore brawl tag team championship match in Tokyo. It went to a draw. Japanese women wrestle at full speed. Even going back to the days of Moolah, then Wendi Richter and yes today, most womens’ wrestling is done at about 70% of the speed of men’s making it much faker looking. The proof it’s going nowhere is that it’s not marketable. WWE can make more money on girls with big fake boobs than real skills. Either way though, I don’t think it draws a dollar. And the reason that "Lipstick and Dynamite" blew was because they hardly broke kayfabe. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know.
How can you tell us it's not comparable to theater when it so clearly is?
As I said earlier, you can compare any two things if you try hard enough. Both have an audience sitting in chairs. Both sell concessions. Both have souvenir programs. Both are performed on a raised platform. Both take intermissions. Both have expensive tickets.
Where, then, do you feel wrestling comes from?
Like groove, in the heart.
Brian "Louxchador" Loux asks:
Are we wine-sipping elitists or low-income TV pageboys who can only afford Olde English?
Currently you’re the first, but upon graduation you’ll become the latter. And you won’t see it coming, that’s why it sounds weird when I say it to you now.
Mike W asks:
After all, what is the dark side of the social sciences if not marketing?
This I agree with. I work with marketing people all day and think 99% of them are completely full of BS, so I guess it’s a good analogy.
Really, what's with the petty "PA" comment?
I thought it was funny. Just looking into the crystal ball.
Sam Ford asks:
How many guys have been called "Judas” so far, for instance?
Nobody said wrestling was very creative. I think it’s just an easy point of reference for the Christian crowd. Even Benedict Arnold would fly over most of their heads.
Help, what's a pyro?
Drew Barrymore in “Firestarter”
Do people actually feel threatened? (Or just enjoying the fight?)
Nobody should feel threatened. I don’t even know where (most of) you live. My guess is that it’s 50/50 but nobody would say I’m getting to them publicly. Getting to you forces you to admit I might be right and you might be wrong.
Peter "The Malcontent" Rauch asks:
But you seem to draw the line between analysis and overanalysis in a very different place than we do. What criteria do you use to make that judgment?
Analysis is a real-world process based in facts, statistics, experiences, etc. Overanalysis is philosophy in that it cannot be proven nor disproven because there is no way to measure results.
Sam Ford asks:
What place does emotion have in academia?
Depends if you’re a boy or a girl. Girls cry and whine a lot easier than men.
Do we clearly favor logic and distance and introspection?
For the price you’re paying, I hope so. Spending all that time simply to be better at talking crap seems like a waste of money.
How does that balance with rhetoric and passion?
There should be none of this, except in the science lab and most math classes.
And what does all this mean within the context of a discussion about pro wrestling?
What is the difference between text, context and subtext? I don’t know what it all means, but like a song by Tori Amos, I think it means whatever you want it to.
Just because a guitar soloist or two gets out of hand, do we completely dismiss the entire Rush catalog? Or better yet, just do away with rock music completely?
In the case of Rush, yes. Bob Seger too. You like what you like, and if you want compare Rush’s guitar playing to the calls of migrating birds, which I’m sure will be an available class to you next year, go for it.
Brian "Louxchador" Loux comments:
Josh haunts my dreams. Dr. Nausbaum says it's becoming unhealthy.
You’re a dude. Stop it.
Into this ongoing discussion came Joshua Shea, who will be a guest speaker later in the term. He has an extraordinary history with wrestling, both as a fan, and as someone involved in the business of pro-wrestling. This is not under debate.
You are brilliant.
His central message, however, is that we are primarily wankers, in over our heads and trying to impose theoretical discourses onto what is, first and foremost, an entertainment and a business.
Can you be a female and be a wanker? I don’t think that about ALL of you, by the way. Just those, who in their hearts, think this kind of analysis will be important to them when they try to draw a check after graduation. Especially those that don’t actually know anything about wrestling.
And don’t just take my word for it. Here are two excerpts of a review posted on PWInsider.com about Jim Ross’ recent visit:
“No one directly asked Jim Ross about steroids and as the crowd of mostly MIT students were not savvy to the business, they didn't seem aware of the current issues of the business, including the current steroid controversy.”
“Even in a two hour lecture, I wished we could have heard more stories. It was also a bit too bad that the lecture was aimed towards the MIT students with little awareness of the business. What fun it would have been if J.R. knew he was in a classroom of 65-70 real wrestling fans and could speak in fewer generalities and more in depth about the business.”
Mike W. asks:
Is it important to be a wrestling fan to analyze it?
I don’t think it’s important to most, but I enjoy analyzing it. I guess it depends what kind of person you are. Some of the biggest wrestling fans I’ve ever known are special needs kids who would come to my indy shows in a group for free and they loved it, and I don’t think it was anything other than what was on the surface.
If it is so simple and does not need deep analysis, why can't the average non-fan watch it and grasp it?
In one viewing, because it’s new. This is true of most stuff on TV. If they’re not grasping it after 3 episodes of RAW, then you have to ask are they not grasping it or not liking it? I've seen squash on the BBC channel many times and I still don't get it. Yet it seems like the British fans do, and they don't strike me as deep analysis types.
I also think that one cannot simply say that "wrestling fan" is a simple and unanimous concept. Nobody dares think of fans of "music" as being a inseparable and cohesive unit, right?
Depends what you think. Are all figure skating fans the same? Yes? No? I think anytime you have two or more people doing anything you can’t be unanimous.
Benoit v MVP? Really?
It’s a 4+ hour show. Multiply that times 3 beers an hour and you see the need for that bathroom break. Who’s coming over to my place for it anyway, I need to plan for food.
Wrestling is a business first and foremost, as Mr. Shea won't let us forget, but right on the heel of that, it's performance.
Absolutely. All for-profit business is performance.
Sam Ford comments:
At the risk of angering Mr. Shea, I'm going to write a response to Gerald Craven and Richard Moseley's piece on the dramatic conventions of professional wrestling.
It’s okay. I didn’t read it.