Monday, September 29, 2014

The Person and the Personae

There are plenty of broad topics to discuss from these few chapters of Drawing Heat, but I really enjoy focusing on the individuals.  The disparity between images defined in the ring and the men who actually exist outside of it fascinates me.  I, like Jim Freedman, realize that it is “naïve to wonder at the gap… between the person and the personae,” yet I still find myself caught up in my disbelief.  

I love the image that Freedman is painting of Dave “the Wildman” McKigney.  From crazy, to a softie, to someone you don’t want to make angry…  Compared to Tunney, who remained a brick wall both inside and outside the ring towards Freedman, Dave is an open book.  He doesn’t really fit into the “wrestling” image; he’s big and loud, with “booming presence,” sure, but underneath he is gentle, loving, and maybe even vulnerable.  His heart shines through when you know where to look.  You can see it in the tender way he loved and cared for his bears— animals that others might treat as dumb and vicious beasts.  Even after his girlfriend was mauled and killed tragically by one of his own bears, Dave still loved them and wanted the best for them.

Apart from the Wildman, Freedman also describes a conversation with Chris Tolos, “The Golden Greek” (pg. 82).  In the ring, Tolos is the kind of guy that abuses both his opponent and the audience.  Jim Freedman describes the real-life Chris as a “self-effacing and self-sacrificing” family-centered man: a direct contradiction to his stage persona.

I look forward to discussing and reading more about the Wildman and others that Jim Freedman meets and writes about in his book.


Sam Ford said...

Likewise, Melissa. I look forward to today's discussion in class as we wrap up our conversation of Drawing Heat after class presentations...I think, other than Wildman, perhaps it's his description of The Sheik that sticks out in my mind most vividly of a man who built and lost a fortune but, most of all, clung to the character he created for himself, that he became more desperate to become as the years went by.

Gary said...

The Sheik's portrayal in Jim's book also interested me. The Sheik seemed so distant to other traveling wrestlers and to Dave. The Sheik was still a professional, but he wanted isolation.

After his matches, he just wanted to see Dave, collect his money, and then he left the building. Sheik really had no connection to the others, didn't care, just did his job. I also liked the part where The Sheik was driving some of the others to another town, and the bear came out onto the road. Sheik almost broke character with that incident.

Marshall Metcalf said...

The difference between the wrestler on stage and off stage is definitely interesting. The ones that I think are the most intriguing are the ones that kayfabe so well even off the stage. I don't understand how they can even act that way towards their family. I would feel ridiculous if I were them. I understanding acting different at your job, most of us do that to some degree, but always staying in character is taking it to extreme levels.