Hello, I’m Sue Clerc. We’ll be meeting tomorrow but I thought I’d give you some background now, and then quickly lower the tone of the conversation by responding to some of your posts.
Catherine Salmon, my co-author, asked me to record Raw and Nitro as Hall and Nash were leaving the WWF, as it was then, to go to WCW. Her cable company didn’t carry TNT…I’m not sure why I also needed to tape Raw. I think the Canadian network might’ve been editing broadcasts. Or it was a cunning plan to get me hooked on wrestling. In any case, I moved from really just taping shows for a friend to saying “no, really, I’m just taping them for a friend oh my God did you SEE THAT?”
Next thing I knew I was badgering Catherine with questions, memorizing the Hart family tree, and holding up lewd signs at Wrestlemania 13.
It’s OK. I’m over it now. In fact, after writing the book chapter and presenting 2 other papers based on wrestling, I stopped watching. Not cold turkey, but I didn’t require a patch or anything. Sure, there was a relapse. Possibly two. But I’m OK now. It’s been months since I looked at a wrestling news website, and I’ve watched bits and pieces of Raw the last couple of weeks but haven’t felt an undertow pulling me back in. I do keep a Mankind action figure in my office. During slow moments at work, he and my Librarian action figure occasionally engage in a match, but she’s pretty useless because only her arms have articulated joints so the only moves she’s capable of are a clothesline and maybe flying leg scissors. Also, Amazing Shushing Action is an even lamer finishing move than the People’s Elbow.
But I digress…
Since this is a university class, maybe I should mention our educational backgrounds. Catherine has a PhD in evolutionary psychology and teaches at Redlands in California. She and Don Symonds published a book about slash, Warrior Lovers, and she has written journal articles about slash. I have a PhD in Culture Studies, a JD, and an MLS. I’m a librarian at Southern Connecticut State University. I’ve written other book chapters about media fandom and presented papers on fandom, wrestling, and other subjects. We have both spent years in the media fan community and that was our basis for the chapter you’re reading—comparing and contrasting wrestling fans with the community we already knew.
As fascinating a work of rare genius as the chapter is, I hope we can discuss other things when we meet. I’m going to try to tack comments onto some of your posts now. Much of what I have to say will be tangential to the original post. As I browsed around last week, sometimes a word or phrase would remind me of an idea I’d had, a random observation, a senior moment of “you kids today with your Cenas and Lashleys…” So if I can get this to work, there will be comments scattered around about suffering, camera work and the 4th wall, and why I liked WWF/E better than WCW, Montreal, the deployment of reality in storylines being similar to historical novels and unlike scripted television, and possibly lascivious remarks about performers.