Wednesday, September 24, 2014

wrestling and anthropology pt 2

John Molinaro article over Jerry Lawler in the "Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time," was one that I actually found a relation to. Molinaro talks about Jerry Lawler's climb to fame. Most the his success came from arguments and fights (the vocal kind, not the physical) with other people. This is seen in many other people's rise to being social icons. One example that first comes to my mind, which I compare to far too many things in life, is Kim Kardashian. Before her sex tape with Ray J, which was a catalyst to her megastar-status, Kim was already well known. Kim K's best friend was Paris Hilton. Paris, of course, was an A-list celebrity. Kim and Paris got into an agreement and the media posted it and made it an ordeal. This caused a lot of talk about the both of them. In Keeping Up With the Kardashians, anytime that the show is getting dull a feud always occurs. We all love to watch an argument unfold and so it's an easy and fast way to get your name talked about.

5 comments:

Sam Ford said...

You're absolutely right that there a wide range of parallels between celebrity gossip culture and pro wrestling--the unclear line between the real and the fake, the importance of rivalries to drive the narrative, larger-than-life characters who are performing that character 24/7 and whose story world embodies our world. And interesting that you bring this up in relation to Jerry Lawler, who has been--throughout his career--no stranger to controversy...whose life has intersected into the "real world" in various ways, including a failed bid to be the mayor of Memphis. Not to mention his feud with Andy Kauffman, which we'll be looking at tonight at some length...

Tony Smith said...

Marshall,
The reason I am a big, big, big wrestling fan is because of the Lawler-Kaufman feud Sam alludes to. This feud was almost completely verbal for what seemed like months, with Andy Kaufman sending videos of himself acting like a Hollywood jerk. As a child, I loved Andy Kaufman. I had older brothers and sisters who exposed me to his brand of sweet, na├»ve humor through his “foreign man” character. So, when he started to insult the people of Memphis for being “hicks” who like to “plow the fields” and watch “rasslin’”, I was heart-broken. How could this sweet guy be so mean to these wrestling fans? My 7-year-old brain could not take this amount of cognitive dissonance. I was so upset, in fact, that my older brother had to tell me this was all fake (truth be told that messed me up even more). During this time, all Lawler did was tell Kaufman how out-of-line he truly was. I think Lawler was one of the great “talkers” because while he was in Memphis, he typically just told the story in his “promos” and those stories always seemed logical. There was no mystery to why he hated this guy, or didn’t want to fight that guy. To your point, I think Lawler is a great example of how a celebrity can peak people’s interest by just talking. In fact, wrestling “promos” are one of the great examples of the use of the Greek monologue in today’s popular culture.

Sam Ford said...

Well put, Tony, and Jerry Lawler is a great example of it. I look forward to the class' thoughts on Memphis wrestling as compared to what we've watched thus far with New York, Dallas, and Detroit...and what we've read about the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Toronto.

Melissa Smith said...

Watching "documentaries" on the Lawler-Kaufman feud last week was really interesting to me. The fact that "I'm from Hollywood" seemed so like a documentary was laughable. With reputable actors and comedians so somberly explaining Kaufman's wrestling problem and how he threw his life away... it all just felt like a big episode of Intervention, without the actual intervention ever happening. The actual feud is intriguing in itself. I find myself wanting to learn more about Andy Kaufman and the relationship he had with Lawler on and off screen/stage. I wish I was around when this story was unfolding live, but maybe with a little more insight than if I was a 7-year-old.

michael richardson said...

To continue to fanboy on Kaufman, from the little that we watched on Wednesday, I am fairly certain that Andy is one of the greatest performance artists that ever lived and his work seems like the precursor of what people on the internet call trolling. The more we discuss the drama of wrestling, the more I am enamored with the wrestling acting style, and how well Andy was able to pick it up and run with it, confounding wrestling fans and SNL watchers alike. He was truly a unique talent and demonstrates the nuances of the unique form of acting that is kayfabe.