Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29 2014

I was reading "Steel Chair to the Head" by Nicholas Sammond, and during the article by Sharon Mazor she kept using the quote "real"...quotation marks in all. That's really interesting to me. I feel like saying "real" wrestling compared to real wrestling automatically gives your opinion on wrestling. For example, I'm going to compare myself to a real wrestling fan. One of my childhood friends is actually a huge pro wrestling fan. I talked to him about me being in this class after I posted the picture of our class field trip. During our discussion, I would use quotation marks around the word "real" quite often actually. However, he never did. I think this is because he is willing and able to suspend the disbelief of wrestling being real. He can watch wrestling and truly get into it and participate in it as an active fan who "believes." However, I do not have this life skill. I, instead, watch wrestling thinking the whole time about how it's fake. I think this is where the difference between us comes in and why I say "real" wrestling and he says real wrestling. I also think this is to do with him growing up watching wrestling. He informed me that when he was younger, he did believe that wrestling was real. Maybe he holds onto this memory and continues to "believe" in it.


Sam Ford said...

This goes back to Mazer's point, I think, of wrestling fans relishing the moments where the line between real and fake are blurred. Those become sacred moments. The skeptic wants to be fooled. They want to come across someone so good, or a moment so unexpected, that it even makes it hard for them to tell what's real or what's not. Unfortunately, at times, this has led promoters to focus on trying to fool an extreme minority of fans to the point that it doesn't make sense to everyone else. But, when done well and in a way that's aimed at the mass audience, it can generate particular excitement. I'll share, hopefully in class today, one such moment in the past few years, known as the "C.M. Punk pipe bomb."

But I think Sharon's use of quotes in this particular article is much like Mick Foley's question, "What is 'real,' anyway?" She picks on another 20/20 moment to show how TV news is just as constructed as wrestling in many ways and how everything in life has a heavy dose of artifice. Although she doesn't mention him, this is based in part on arguments from sociologist Erving Goffman who, many decades ago, argued that we should apply ideas from theatrical studies for all of life, because everyone wears different masks to different audiences and all of life is a performance: to others, to ourselves...He also writes a lot about the way we use "framing" to make sense and create narratives of life. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Goffman, on a couple of occasions, used pro wrestling to illustrate his point, because it's blending of the "real" and the "fake" is especially poignant for the point he was trying to make.

Gary said...

To me, one quote from Mazer sticks out,"This phantom of the real is at the heart of professional wrestling's appeal. It keeps fans coming back for another look..." I find this to be an interesting dynamic as to the why.

Melissa Smith said...

A person's choice on quotes vs. no quotes when it comes to the "real"-ness of professionally wrestling paints a pretty clear picture of his or her feelings on the subject. From watching you watch wrestling, Marshall, I can definitely see that you would be a quotes user.

As for your friend, his current suspension of disbelief might be influenced by his childhood, but it might not be. I didn't watch wrestling as a kid, but I can suspend my disbelief to watch wrestling now-- and I enjoy it!

On a side note, for some reason, the sentence in your original post, "I do not have this life skill," cracks me up every time.