Monday, October 20, 2014

First Fun with Foley

My favorite reading for Monday was definitely the beginning of Mick Foley's second book, Foley is Good, and the Real World is Faker Than Wrestling.  So far, I am liking Mick Foley a whole lot better than Ole Anderson, and I would say that I really like Ole.  I love Mick's humor and outdated pop culture references, even though they worries me a bit; I want people to be able to read his book ten or twenty years from now and not have to look up every reference he makes to get the joke.  Even now, there are many references that I don't understand because I wasn't immersed in pop culture in the 90s (I also love the fact that this hardcore, overweight, middle-aged wrestler could be such an avid Britney fan).  Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mick's first twelve chapters, and I think I am starting to understand how the real world could be faker than wrestling.  The story of how Mick was going to "be an author" just blew me away.  I had no idea that so-called "autobiographies" of celebrities and superstars were not actually written by the superstar (how can they be called autobiographies?).  This revelation is definitely worse than finding out that the tooth fairy isn't real (p 126).  Mick Foley tried to work with Larry, the autobiography-biography-novelist, with disappointing results.  Thankfully, Foley decided to take matters into his own hands and actually write his own autobiography.  Foley also experiences the deceptive ways of journalists and creative editing in his interview with 20/20.  I think Foley has a valid point in accusing the "real world" of often being a little fudged, and I am excited to see what other topics he brings up to make his point clearer.

8 comments:

Sam Ford said...

As a journalism student at WKU when I first read Foley's book...I have to say that I was particularly shocked by the 20/20 revelation. That such deceptive editing tactics was so prevalent in mainstream shows that purported to be news was a shock to me, and it makes me mad again every time I re-read it! I think Foley's book is great fun and makes some important points regarding many of the issues we've been discussing it while having fun and not taking itself too seriously...And, for the record, many of Mick's references were outdated when the book came out! :) But I find it fun to read pieces rooted in the pop culture at the time, as it drives you down the rabbit hole of pop culture from a distant world of yesteryear...

By the way, we even got a re-telling of the Dominic DeNucci story about the chicken-wire cage and an Ole Anderson name-drop!

Tony Smith said...

Good point about excessive pop culture references being a poor way of ensuring the longevity of one’s creation. I have often thought that “Family Guy” will have a short shelf-life for the same reason. By the way, the title of my post is from a Mary Wells song written in the 1960s. How outdated is that! As for Foley, there is a point to be made about what the “real world” considers to be authentic, given that many people often talk, in a way, that Social Judgment Theory identifies as conveying ideas that take place within the “latitude of acceptance”. For example, it is accepted for news articles or reports to ridicule or poke fun at wrestling when reporting on it. Could you imagine the same treatment when reporting on politicians, orchestral works, romantic movies, or the ballet? I know this is an odd succession of examples, but I don’t believe you see the level of joking about a lot of subjects that are prime for being ridiculed.

Timothy S. Rich said...

I agree with Tony's argument of the latitude of acceptance. Wrestling is a relatively easy target for ridicule and later to blame for society's ills during the rise of hardcore wrestling. This isn't just an American phenomenon. If memory serves, the government of Nepal over a decade ago claimed that an increase in crime correlated with the country finally getting cable and in particular Raw. Let that sink in.

Foley's insights in these areas are enlightening and disheartening, but it does hit at a broader issue: that we should question the narrative any media source presents.

Sam Ford said...

On the other hand, I imagine college students of the future reading a pop-culture soaked text with the same number of footnotes as was once reserved for Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot.

Tony Smith said...

Nice point Sam. However, "Foley is Good" and "The Wasteland" are two different beasts. Yet your point is a good one, and I'm sure college students will be reading Marylynne Robinson, who has virtually no pop culture references, but perhaps they will also be reading Nick Hornby 30 years from now.

Sam Ford said...

Yeah, thank God. (I'm staunchly anti-T.S. Eliot. I'd prefer the company of Flannery O'Connor, Mark Twain, and Voltaire. But I'll admit that I'm more of a sucker for James Joyce than I'd like to be...) I'm sure Mick would love for Tietam Brown to be remembered right alongside J. Alfred Prufrock.

Melissa Smith said...

I read a lot of ancient Chinese documents in my major (usually already translated to English), and it seems that nearly every other line needs a lengthy footnote to explain the Chinese idiom or historical reference. Chinese does, in general, like to use idioms that make no sense to me (as an example my cousin once gave me, someone says "the flower blossoms smell so sweet, and the sky is clear and blue..." Meaning: you look nice.), pair that with historical references from a time and place that I am not really familiar with, and the result is footnotes that take up half the page. Granted, these documents are sometimes from over 2000 years ago, and the references go back even further, and I have trouble believing that people will be watching or reading about our wrestling 2000 years from now, but if they are, I expect the footnotes to be just as extensive. Who's going to know who Britney Spears was? Or what Space Mountain was? Who will remember the Wizard of Oz? I love Foley, but his book's chances of survival are about as good as Al Snow's chances at a title shot.

Sam Ford said...

Love it! On the other hand...Foley's book is 13 years old and remains a good seller, according to what I can see from Amazon rankings. So I'm not sure of its chances of ranking with Homer and Chaucer...But it has certainly had more of a shelf life than most books...considering, as your piece pointed out, that its popular culture references are aplenty. :)