Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time is a Flat Circle

The decline of the Wildman's promotion ended Drawing Heat on a very pensive note, and really made me reflect on the failures of capitalism in our technological society, and the conspicuously permissive attitude of the government towards companies that are quickly growing to be trusts. There are a myriad of examples in modern industry of trusts that probably have Teddy Roosevelt rolling in his grave, not just in wrestling. Today corporations have enough of a strangle-hold on the government for little to nothing to be done about their treachery, a heel-referee collusion that leaves the population almost powerless in our current system.
Continuing with my post from the other day about the apparent difference in emotional depth between larger and smaller promotions, it is interesting to consider the differences Freedman discusses at the end of his book. The hometown wrestlers spectators knew and identified with changed into blonde-haired, America-loving faces fighting foreigners and sexual deviants. As the scope grows larger to resonate with more and more people, wrestlers have to become less diverse, more emblematic of the country as a whole. While the formulae for wrestling remain the same at their core, detail that would really engender an audience to a wrestler or a promotion have to be sacrificed. This is symptomatic of American culture at large, with Los Angeles and New York setting the pace for the rest of the country.
Theoretically this homogenization of culture will continue, especially with our methods of instantaneous communication, but I believe that eventually the cycle of wrestling will come back around, same with the rest of culture. Wrestling has more than demonstrated it's cyclical nature and ability to endure over thousands of years. And as the hipsters of the world move towards their Goodwills to try and scrounge some sort of identity from the leftovers of the previous generations, I think the country at large will look less towards consumables marketed en masse and more towards things local. In the same vein as farmer's markets, record stores, and obnoxiously-pretentious coffee houses, the smaller wrestling promotion might again be able to build a following of those who are interested in a deeper connection with wrestlers, who would prefer to see wrestling live weekly for a fraction of the cost of the spectacle of a larger show. The Wildman will again have his day in the sun, eventually.

4 comments:

Sam Ford said...

I like the sentiment and the point here, Mikey. The authenticity of the local is a theme that can bring together liberal and conservative alike. Here, at the Farmer's Market (not as much at the pretentious coffee shop) or in the line for a food truck or at a good local restaurant do you have that passion that crosses political, religious, and social boundaries--glee at something real that YOU CAN ONLY FIND HERE, that demonstrates itself as cognizant of the local culture. Those WWE performers, they may get in the ring and even accidentally forget which town they are in. After all, it's like Paul Simon said, "And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories, and each stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be homeward bound." Hotel rooms don't look all that different from city to city. Neither do airports. Will that lead to more enthusiasm for the local "rasslin"? Will WWE figure out a way to bring more locality to its shows--to make the flavor of where they are in a particular show more a part of the flavor of each week's program? When they have in the past, it's paid dividends.

But I really like you're idea of the collusion of capitalism and how it plays a part in the end of this book. I can't help but think about Jim Freedman's point about how vile the heel tag team is because now you have not just one man's evil character but rather the collusion of evil forces--a conspiracy. When villains start finding a way to team up, it confirms not just that some people are evil but that the system itself is corrupt--collusion...

Katie Clark said...

I definitely agree with you here, Mikey. The local will definitely make a huge comeback, eventually. It's destined to. There has been a steady shift in our society from global to local. Supporting the "local business" has become more important to us because it's change and effect we can see. It's a community we can actually see and experience and be a part of. With capitalism, we are throwing our money into a giant machine and it goes away forever. You don't feel an emotional connection to the system because it's too large and impersonal. Same goes for the local wrestling world vs. WWE. Yes, the WWE is fun, but when will that stop being enough for the fan? When will they start to crave a more deeper connection to what they're experiencing. In local indie wrestling, you can know the characters better, you make friends with other locals who come to the shows, it's a more intimate space than a giant arena. Indie wrestling will always have a quirk that can bring local culture into the story. The story lines don't have to be as generalized.

Marshall Metcalf said...

This post was amazing. I think the idea of local wrestling coming back around is completely incredible, but not at all impossible. As you said, the trends are slowly began to lean toward local things. For example, I am what many people would consider "basic." I like mainstream music, I shop at the stores with the biggest names, I read Cosmo, I love the movie Mean Girls, and most importantly I have an obsession with Starbuck's Coffee. I have found myself to be going to more local places. Just the other day, I went to an off the wall restaurant instead of a chain one. And I have been going to more local coffee shops, too. Therefore, I definitely think that Pro Wrestling could become local again.

Melissa Smith said...

I would be really interested to see a local wrestling promotion pop up around Bowling Green or Nashville, and I would definitely spend a few bucks to go to a nearby show every few weeks. Local wrestling promotions would provide more wrestling positions for amateurs: a sort of proving-grounds for beginners on their way to the top. It would also provide the opportunity to create deeper bonds with specific fan groups, and keep the local economy flourishing. I like the thought that the Wildman's story could have a happier ending in the long run: that local promotions could one day be prominent again. In short, I am all for local promotions coming back strong!