Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tess, you are my hero

This is in response to the "For God's Sake..." post that Tess made and a lot of the responses that come after it.

If I didn't know better, I would have said that post was one of the 2 a.m. drunken rants you made reference to. Either way, it was poetry.

So about 2-3 weeks ago, I figured I'd stop with my diatribes since it was clear that you weren't getting it. Now that you've read what I've been saying for months written by one of your classmates, do you get it?

If you can stop breathing the MIT nitrous for a minute, here are the points I've been trying to get across:

You cannot overly analyze wrestling with any actual accuracy until you understand wrestling, and it's clear most of you don't. I can't sit down and take The History of Nascar and provide any worthwhile analysis, even after a couple of months, because I don't know a thing about it and know that whatever small nuggets of information I pick up, they are just pebbles in the vast quarry that is Nascar. If I were to start spouting off, sharing my pebbles, the people who have mined the quarry for years will laugh at me, the way that I've been laughing at you.

I get the fact you're at MIT, congratulations. But you're media studies students at MIT, which is not exactly the Newhouse School at Syracuse or Tisch at NYU....both places I was admitted by the way. I would be embarrased to be an MIT media studies student and walk around with an MIT T-shirt or backpack on. Unless you're at MIT study astrophysics or string theory or the time-space continuum as a math or science student, you really shouldn't be bragging about going to MIT. Pack up your stuff and go to Emerson if you want a school for media studies. I wouldn't want to wear a jacket from Bob Jones University if I was majoring in Jewish Studies. I wouldn't want to wear a jacket from the Rhode Island School of Design if I was majoring in poetry.

Do you think that the WWE would be sending Ross and Foley to you if it wasn't MIT? It could be the same course at any community college and it would be laughed at. Since it's MIT, it's something special, and that is the kind of elitism that is wrong, especially since the community college kids likely have a much better grasp on the concepts and constructs of wrestling than most of you will ever hope to.

As for this blog, it sounds like a bunch of kids trying to one-up each other and be the most impressive on the playground. I have arrived to tell you that the only people who care about your little circle are you, and if you'd take the sticks out of your asses, you might actually enjoy wrestling for what it is, not what you use big words trying to pretend it is. You really can't grasp that there is a lot of ground between saying "John Cena sucks" and "John Cena's tragic underdog character may never be embraced by an audience, and society, that prefers deception" If you're not writing a thought like the second, everything to you is the first.

And finally, and I guess this just comes from probably being older than 95% of you. You know when someone older gives you a piece of advice like "if you huff too much rubber cement tonight, you'll wake up in the morning vomit"? You don't listen to them, so you huff and in the morning you puke and you realize the guy with one nostril was right. And then you have enough of these incidents where people tell you something, you ignore them, you get burned and decide you'll actually start listening to people. Then, as I have realized, you start to impart your experiences on others, hoping they'll have an easier, or better time than you. You need to belong to AAA, you should put tequila instead of vodka into your Red Bull and there are far more people not on FaceBook or MySpace, and those that aren't, are laughing at the ones who are. Anyway, I've tried to impart the idea that sometimes life is not all that complicated and you're clearly making it out to be. When you leave MIT with your (heh heh) media studies degree, you're going to face a world that will wish you had some actual media training, not just ideas how the media can better run. You'll turn into people who say all jobs suck and understand the medicinal, not just recreational, uses for alcohol. You'll stop asking for examples of why somebody says they feel or think a certain way and you'll just accept. Tess was pissed off in that post, she was eloquently venting, and there are comments about narrow thinking and debate about what she was thinking. Let it go. How fucking bored are you? You're now over analyzing your classmates the way you over analyze the course. That's just pathetic. I don't know what Tess is thinking, and it doesn't really matter to me what's going on under the surface. She expressed completely honest, on the level feelings. Stop wasting your time trying to read into them. Someday you'll recognize to just take things.....LIKE MOTHERFUCKING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING....at face value.

You people give me a headache the way that PR and marketing people give me headaches. You're both completely full of shit, yet I can't tell if it's intentional and you realize it, or if it's just something you're born with and there's nothing that can be done.


Sam Ford said...

Joshua, Carolina already pointed this out, but I think it's really funny that you are in agreement with Tess, considering her post was bemoaning the class for not being analytical enough, while yours have been about people needing to take wrestling at face value. Your embracing of her idea reminds me of seeing Vince and Eric hug...I had to pull my glasses off, clean them, and read again to make sure I saw that right. :)

Carolina said...

I'm either not getting your post or not getting what Tess meant in hers, but I do believe you're both shooting for two completely different things. But in any case, I agree with you Joshua. To say I don't would make me a hypocrite, because I used to say the exact same thing you're saying here to my friends in high school. Yes, I know what you're saying... high school?!?! Get a life!! Well, I'm 19 and trying to finish up my first year in college, so high school just happens to be fresh on the brain.

But I digress... and now I'll get into a tangent. In my high school, they'd offer these classes not for credit, you either passed or you failed them. They had one in particular that analyzed the relationships in Star Wars and how it was a reflection of society. Being a Star Wars nerd who loves the series, I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen. Why would you want to analyze Star Wars?! Just enjoy it for what it is and stop trying to dig into things that aren't there. Yes, those were my words, so yes, I do understand where you're coming from, especially since I'm a wrestling fan. I understand what you're saying because, well, I almost didn't take this class because I feared that overanalyzing something I loved would kill that love and I'd never see wrestling the same way again. Maybe that was an irrational fear from a freshman paranoid of skipping out on a core class that I need to graduate, in order to take a class that has zero to do with my major (which I haven't even decided yet). But the good outweighed the bad for me. You said that JR and Mick Foley might only be coming because this is MIT, and you know what? You're probably right. Is that fair? Absolutely not. But it's reality and I took advantage of it, saying screw the core classes, I'm taking this class and hopefully learn a thing or two along the way.

You've generally seemed to say good things about my posts, and for that, I say thanks. I've enjoyed your contributions as well, but I do feel like I walk a fine line with your argument and Tess's. On the one hand, I'm a wrestling fan and have always been a fan. When I bring this up on the blog, or bring up a personal experiences I've had as a fan, I don't mean that to slam the other posters who aren't fans or to say their opinion isn't as important as mine. Likewise, the fact that we're MIT students doesn't necessarily mean all of us have this holier-than-thou attitude that you seem to be implying we post here with. Speaking for myself and my friends who are also fans... we don't have that attitude that you keep insisting that we have. We're just as likely to watch the NFC and AFC football championship games and root like mad for our teams than we are to know off the top of our heads some useless math equation. You seem to have this impression of us firmly in your mind, but we're a lot more diverse than you're giving us credit for. By us, I'm referring to MIT as a whole, not the very small sample of students in our class which are mostly CMS students. Not that there's anything wrong with CMS, but it's too small and too specified a sample to judge our entire school from.

The overanalyzing thing, well, it happens sometimes. I understand your point, but we're trying to engage the material Sam has us look at. It's kind of like the fact that JR and Mick Foley are coming to visit. No, it's not fair to other colleges who probably wouldn't get the time of day, and yes, maybe MIT isn't the best college to have those two come in and be appreciated the way they should. But it's part of the package, and there's not much we (in the class) can do to change that, even if we wanted to.

Brian "Louxchador" Loux said...

Wait, what?

I get the feeling that this thread of dialogue continues to just go around in circles. We're hitting the elistist/MIT angle all over again, along with the nothing to analyze here angle. Only once have I seen individuals say "we are MIT" or "we are CMS" by name, and that was Peter trying to explain the background of the CMS project. I've probably missed a few counts, I could imagine. However, it's not an emphasis. This is the first time I've seen you not mention your wrestling background.

Your frustration and Tess's frustration seem diametrically opposed, especially with your last line in all caps there. I do not get it, just as I did not get your post mentioning that you wanted to seek a teaching position at MIT a month ago. You've come at it from all angles. The only common thread I see is "GTFO, u MIT lam3rz." I can, sure, but I imagine those taking it for credit want their grade.

Lastly, to add even more oddities about me than anyone would care to know, I am a Mormonesque-teetotaler (with the exception of people's birthday parties), so while my miserable engineering job fuels my naturally bitter and crotchety persona, I have yet to succumb to the vices of yon Demon Rum (maybe i should start?). And if you've got yourself a good field revolving around the environment or international development and can sustain a Boston yuppie lifestyle, then my good sir, I have a resume for you.

Michael Wehrman said...

Brian, for the inside scoop on Josh's behind the scenes feud with MIT CMS students, be sure to subscribe to www.popupinsiderxtra.com.

In all seriousness, just let Joshua be. I can't quite figure out, after reading his posts, how he feels that he has any right to accuse other people of elitism. Like Tess, Joshua is more than happy to piss and moan, but is notably absent of trying to start or maintain reasonable discussion.

I'd love to see some of those Scherer site chumps working for the WWE. They'd stutter themselves out of a job the moment they realized they'd have to stop bitching about the current product and offer something constructive.

Luis Tenorio said...

I would like to think that I am learning something from this class, and analysis would certainly contribute to that. I didn't come into this class as a media studies student and so I hope this might make the understanding of wrestling a little better.
I don't get what analysis you are speaking of. What is inaccurate about the analysis? And how can you tell that we don't understand wrestling? I am a fan. My understanding only reaches as far as what I go ahead and read on my own time, my experiences watching wrestling for the past 9 years and this class. So am I not allowed to the analyze how well a match went? How well a character gets over with the crowd? How the business spreads out to different forms of media and how this expands the audience? Or how about the way that wrestling has progressed and evolved with time? How am I over analyzing this for of entertainment?
And why is the respect paid to MIT students not deserved? The WWE recognizes that we are pretty special students and it doesn't matter if it is in media studies or nuclear physics, the fact that we don't go to a community college lets the WWE know that they will encounter students who will take the class seriously. I can appreciate that there is some value to find in John Cena not being universally loved and the way it can shape story lines while also be ingable to hold the opinion that John Cena sucks.
So I suppose that I have been trying to defend myself, but I come to the realization that i don't have to. I analyze wrestling and interpret it the way I see fit. I am a fan and student. So I put it to you that I don't over analyze, you under analyze and hope that wrestling really doesn't say anything about you or society because it can show some scary things.

Anonymous said...

In the words of The Louxchador, all I'm getting from your posts are "GTFO, u MIT lam3rz." Your open-minded opinions are so refreshing!

First off, how is it clear that we don't understand wrestling? And what exactly do you mean by understanding? Because if we've been over-analyzing the subject for several months like you propose, I would think we have a grasp on it by now. The point of this class is to study and think about pro wrestling in terms beyond 'omg that bump was so sick' and the like. This is a class blog, and you're asking why we're thinking so much about it? I can guarantee you, any writing I do about wrestling elsewhere in the Blagosphere is far from this analytical.

Second, why the harsh bias against MIT? You sound practically green, green with envy. I'll admit, CMS is not what gives the school it's prestige, but it's not a joke either. No one at this school takes their work lightly, whether they are professors or students. We may come to this school for one reason, say engineering, and then find our way somewhere else, hence CMS. We aren't famous for that program, but we still have a high standard for all our studies, science/math-oriented or not.

Now, you say that if we took the sticks out of our asses we might enjoy wrestling for what it is instead of analyzing it to death. Did you not consider that it's possible to do both? At once? It's called multi-tasking! For every single piece of wrestling footage screened in this class, I've watched and enjoyed both as a wrestling fan and as a student, because that's what I am. Not exclusively one or the other, not purely watching for entertainment and not purely watching for research purposes. I can watch Lita knock Edge off a ladder with a crazy hurricarana, cheer and scream, while at the same time wonder what that interaction and those characters say about wrestling's reflection of societal gender norms.

I am a MIT student and fan of wrestling. I can enjoy the show 'for what it is' and still think analytically about the material. And I'm getting really pissed off at your closed-minded rants on our class page when we never asked whether you, oh mighty, Wiser-Than-Thou Old Guy, liked what we were thinking or how we thought it. So either give it a rest or go home.

narwood said...

Joshua - Firstly, many of us are NOT CMS majors, which is at the heart of my objections. By contrast, you keep trashing my small and elite major. WTF is your rationale, given you considered yourself a media major?

I suppose it has to do with CMS not existing at MIT when you were looking for a college. This is a young department, but face it: humanities at MIT are strong. And the CMS department has some amazing staff, fantastic grad students, and maybe not on part with your alma mater - because we're better. Of course, having awesome classes doesn't mean the students will rock, especially when non CMS majors are involved. But labeling us all CMS majors is terribly offensive. While you may not be here to make friends, a little bit of precision will go a long way to not lightly pissing off people who might otherwise take you more seriously. Unless your goal is to be an empty attention whore. Have fun with that.

To address a point you made before, random blathering, done well, WILL, in fact, help me get a job after college. It seems like it didn't help you, so well, sorry, maybe you got the wrong degree, college, or decade. The jobs I am qualified for? I can work for anyone who wants to know "what are my fans thinking?" "how can we better utilize technology?" or "how can we foster a community around our product?" It comes down to if I can back my answers up (I can) and if I can

katejames said...

Having been a graduate student at MIT for four years, I've taken a whole lot of electives in my days. Being in design programs (MArch, then Visual Studies- though I shouldn't admit that to Josh, who only respects MIT students if they're astrophysicists), I am used to a certain stucture of critique. It does involve the flowing feedback stylings of the blog, in that work that is being posited for analysis is often in-process/ informal, much like our blog entries and responses. There is incredibly harsh critique in the design field. But also a strong sense of collective good will, the sense that everyone is ultimately trying to up the ante on the design criteria, and the critques are truly meant to be constructive in every sense.

I can say that I've never had to expose myself to such psychodrama and flippant, mean-spirited critique, just to get my weekly assignments in. This blog situation is a very strange one to me, having never blogged before in any context. I'm left wondering whether it's useful at all, other than to leave a pit in my stomach. Honestly, I'd rather not have my 'informal' thoughts launched into the world for the battering they get from a pompous stranger who I have to sit in classroom with later this semester (!!?). I wonder whether CMS is going to pay my extra shrink bills. Now that there is, 'I think', inappropriately mean-spirited critique coming from a classmate (though I agree with a lot of her points and have always looked to her blog entries to read really intelligent CMS ways of analyzing this material), I'm kind of over it. I wonder how much the public nature of the blog has helped push the thought process in a productive way, or how much it's just made it more difficult and intimidating to get work done.

So whether I'm not analytical enough, or too analytical, or whatever, all I can do is write as much as I can each week to flush out ideas about the materials in the context of my interests and an effort to find some inspiration for art production. But I think a little respect is in order.

katejames said...

I also think that if you can't tolerate the stupidity of those of us who don't have a CMS background, the class should have been closed to anyone but the students in the department. Because academic segregation is good, right?
How many passwords do I need here?

narwood said...

Kate - I took an architecture class. I'm taking a couple design classes. I've taken a million courses in various artistic disciplines. And I've taken, and left my stamp on, so many freaking classes and hobbies and extracurriculars that I don't even feel the need to list them. All in all, I know how various disciplines work, I can navigate all of them, and btw, critiques in the visual arts aren't the same as CMS. Mainly because that is technical and subjective, and this is academic.

I've also never said that anyone lacking a CMS background is stupid. There are some CMS students who are very dissapointing, and some of my favourite classmates have come from other disciplines. On the whole, it's a problem - the same problem exists in linguistics, and I presume, any other field in which people can skip by without prerequisites. (Think I can jump in and take 8.05? No way they'd let me. But anyone can take any CMS class, even any linguistics class, and THAT requires specific knowledge on par with physics or any other science.)

Otherwise, your suggestion is ludicrous. I have no control over class restrictions, and you know they'd never allow that anyway. You're merely trying to be sympathetic and gain favour. Do I come into your major and thrash about saying "I can do whatever I want, look at me!" ? No. But ironically, you have come into mine, are bitching at ME, while treating me like a caged animal, performing tricks of "intelligent CMS analysis" for your pleasure. Eek.

Sam Ford said...

Kate, I think you are right that there is a difference between constructive criticism and argument for argument's sake, and a lot of it has to do with tone and intent. In posts like most of the ones you've made, or 95 percent of the posts on the class blog, I feel like an instructor, reading some ideas from students. They may not be fully baked yet, but this is just the realm for that, to share ideas with colleagues. Then there are strains like this one, luckily separated from the rest, but that take on a much different tone.

I don't have a problem with questioning the use of the blog. In fact, I don't have a problem with questioning the worth of this class. I wish more classes would have these types of discussions around them, and I am glad that we have fostered an environment of openness. Nevertheless, posts like this make me feel more like a referee than an instructor. I guess that makes sense in a wrestling context, but it also shouldn't interfere with students' abilities to express themselves in an environment that is public but not also expected to be fully thought out.

So, while I don't encourage sloppy writing, feel free to "think" and conjecture at will and remember that I'm the one grading you and that. I'm glad that anyone feels that this is a free enough space to voice their true feelings about the class, the material, or even the instructor, I don't want that free expression to hinder the ability of others to share their work. Overall, as I said before, I think most of the posts here have been about the free expression of ideas and exactly the kind of intellectual community a class should have, even if it isn't always perfect.

I hope that we are able to decide both the positives and the negatives of a class blog project by the end of the term, and I think Kate has highlighted both sides of this argument. On the one hand, there is the ability to take what is usually contained in a classroom and not shared with the world and make that open, which has brought about some positives for this class...for instance, people like Mike and Bryce and Brian and Jackie have been able to join the conversation from afar and really contribute to it. On the other hand, that also means that ideas not fully formed make their way into the public. A blog, like a discussion board, has a strange tension between public and private.

But Kate is quite right that Joshua and Tess aren't grading you, I am, and I do hope that both, even if they want to voice their objections, do so in a way that is respectful to their classmates' ideas. Calling someone out on their idea or faulty logic is one thing, but we do want to foster a community of discussion here as well, and that can be hampered by too much cynicism.

As an aside, I find it quite humorous to talk about CMS as being anti-interdisciplinary, considering it's probably the most interdisciplinary department at MIT. (Well, women's studies have no affiliated faculty apparently, but Henry and William are both the directors and only faculty at MIT who are specifically CMS).

As for caged animals, as an instructor, you are all my little circus animals, I guess. :) Makes me feel so full of EVIL power!

Anonymous said...

I cannot comment on the various majors and their problems, but from an outsider I can critique the "slag MIT" thing.

Just to let Josh know, during my visit, I found the students to be quite humble and, dare I say, "regular." This MIT elitism that you seem to be so furious about was not just difficult to find, it was in fact completely absent.

Of course, the privilege of the institution has a lot to do with the course happening. When I told friends I was going to MIT to sit in on a wrestling class, the moment the words came out of my mouth, it was this "oooooooo" reaction that I probably wouldn't have received had I said "Valdosta State."

So what? Does that reflect on the attitude of the students in THIS course in any way, shape or form?

Not that you necessarily intend it that way, but your post comes across as a petulant "there was no wrestling course in my university but there is at this institution, I'm jealous and those MIT folks are arrogant bastards!" It's a lot like a poor person instantly assuming everyone who is rich is obnoxious; the wealth is taken as the prima facie evidence rather than judging the persona.

My advice (that is, if you want your argument to be clearer)?: Deliver a critique of the blog or course without once using the words "Massachusetts Institute of Technology" or the acronym "MIT." If you cannot do so, maybe you don't have an argument against this course. Maybe your beef is with MIT offering the course: talk to the administrators. Maybe your beef is with all of the other universities that don't offer it: take it up with them.

Anonymous said...

Just as an addendum to that: if you want to act out the absurd fantasy of telling people to get the stick out of their ass and realize that no one cares about something that they're posting on the internet except their little circle, I suggest you get cracking. There's likely only around 10 billion websites that fit the same description.

Joshua Shea said...

A few responses while I have a few minutes:

Carolina, don't worry about being a hypocrite. It's your classmates who are too worried and at some point will be eating a lot of crow. And I have no problem with you taking advantage of the opportunities of the course. I would have loved to toss a few questions JR's way and would have loved to hear Mick Foley explain the last 7 years of his life. I'm sure there are plenty of MIT students I would enjoy spending time with, like yourself, who don't wear that fact on your shoulder as some have done.

Brian: The reason I mention my wrestling background ad naseum is in hopes you'll listen and take in what I have to say. It doesn't matter to you though. I have a feeling if I told you where I went to school, it would make a difference, and that's wrong.

Michael: And if we all hold hands, nobody can be holding a gun. I don't know what you have against Scherer, but it sure came out of left field.

Luis: I can absolutely tell that you and Carolina and a few others are big wrestling fans. My point is that you have a distinct advantage over them because of your base of knowledge. Those who came in knowing nothing, though, seem to feel they are in as much a position to analyze wrestling as you or I. When you call them on it, they flip and begin posturing. I'm sure there are plenty of topics they know much more about than you or I, but the difference is I'm willing to admit it and won't try to out over-analyze them on it.

Now, you illustrated exactly the problem with MIT elitism when you wrote:

And why is the respect paid to MIT students not deserved? The WWE recognizes that we are pretty special students and it doesn't matter if it is in media studies or nuclear physics, the fact that we don't go to a community college lets the WWE know that they will encounter students who will take the class seriously

1)I pay plenty of respect to MIT students. It's a tough school to get into if you're interested in math and science. But there's also 10,000 people there. It's not exactly Swarthmore or Bowdoin.

2)The WWE recogizes you are pretty special? No, they recognize that the school's image (built by the math and science departments)is special and it's good PR to team with the school.

3)Are you saying community college students don't take their education as seriously as you? Sounds...elitist to me.

And you shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself. The two most powerful words you can learn in life are "fuck off". It takes the wind right out of people's sails.

Deirdre: If I had you read two books about Star Trek, let you watch five episodes of the various incarnatitons and let you meet Leonard Nemoy, would it be safe to say you can start analyzing the show since you've been introduced to about 0.001% of the material surrounding it? Same thing here. And if you offered me the chance to get my masters at any school of my choosing, I'd say no right now, so I'm not envious at all. My point was what makes MIT a big deal is not what you're studying, but what makes NYU or Syracuse a big deal is what you're studying. Its too bad you couldn't understand my getting/giving advice point. Luis probably thinks you belong in community college.

Tess: I don't consider myself a media major. I have documentation that I was. I consider myself a damn good media consultant, and make my living doing that, but don't have accredation for that. However, I think you should write for the View Book about the program. You're going to have a real fun time once you realize how the job market and working world really works. I know you're too full of yourself to admit you don't now, so I'll just wish you good luck on finding someone to tell what their fans think about them.

Kate: The point is why is it impressive you go to MIT? The answer is because of what the math and science people have done before you. Perhaps that will change in future years. And I think Tess is going to beat you up. Then this blog will rank second as the worst academic experience of your life.

BMN: See the response to Luis about the elitism. And again, I'm really not jealous I couldn't take a wrestling course 14 years ago. Had I been, that ship would have sailed a long time ago. If you'd been following along from the beginning, you'd know my initial beef was about the level of analysis going on about a subject many knew little about. It seems that it has snowballed as you and your friends feel the need to always reply.

narwood said...

Responding to your points on MIT, because I don't trust others:

1. There are roughly 4000 undergraduates. 10k includes grad students. (Harvard has like 10k or something like that, by comparison). Also, admittance isn't by department, and the school's reputation is based more on the character of the undergraduate population. Wacky, crazy and motivated, even OUTSIDE of academic programs.

2. Far as I know, most of our visitors, including Foley, are here not because MIT is all that, but because Sam is. JR came through WWE, but I doubt he was forced into it. And if Carolina can take this course for the opportunity to meet JR and Foley, there's no difference if JR and Foley come by the course to speak at MIT.

On JOBS: Well, to start with I'll point you to the C3, which Sam is currently working with. Basically they do academic and consulting work with corporations like MTV, who are very interested in finding out what their fans think of them.

I don't quite understand why you wouldn't know that however. On the whole, I sincerely doubt you know what CMS studies, how it does it, or why it is practical. Yes, I am full of myself. I am also self confident and capable, and willing to learn, making me a prime candidate for success, according to JR at least.

And there ARE basic truths to life. I can say many things about languages I have never studied, given a small amount of data. Because I KNOW that verbs have certain relations to objects and modifiers, and we have good general models which, given some input, I can modify to accurately represent any language. Presuming this doesn't apply to media and entertainment IS elitist. (((You can spend a lifetime watching TV, but do you know how a TV works?)))

Anonymous said...

Josh: "If you'd been following along from the beginning, you'd know my initial beef was about the level of analysis going on about a subject many knew little about. It seems that it has snowballed as you and your friends feel the need to always reply."

This then goes back to my ORIGINAL reply way back when, which was that your contention seems to be that only people who have booked wrestling should be allowed to analyze it/teach it.

To which I say (in a blunt fashion lest I be lumped in with these dreaded "elitists" you've conjured up): Fucking weak, man. Seriously, fucking weak.

That would be similar to me saying "This hamburger sucks" and the chef saying "you're not allowed to say this burger sucks, you've never made one before!!" To which I retort, "I may not have made one before but I know a shitty burger when I taste it and this is a shitty burger!"

People in EVERY profession get defensive like this. When my students criticize me for bad teaching, it's valid. It doesn't matter whether or not they've never taught before, I have to take into consideration what they say and realize that it's part of how they experienced my course. Just the same, the students in this class are observing a number of ethnographic studies, analyses and matches and saying "here's what I see and here are the tensions I see playing out."

God, if it was up to you, no one would be allowed to say "Peyton Manning just had a bad game at quarterback" except for people who played quarterback.

I think it's great that some of the people came into the class knowing little about wrestling. If it was entirely comprised of fans, you'd have nothing but groupthink. You need someone to provide the perspective of how wrestling appears to those outside of it.

Indeed it has "snowballed" which I actually think is great. I think your posts, for whatever logical deficiencies I find in them, are the best part of this blog because they've provided the anti-groupthink atmosphere that will cause analysis that goes beyond "Ricky Steamboat is a good worker because he knows how to transition out of a headlock."