Introduction to Popular Culture Studies


Posted by alissakendrick on February 9, 2016

I will admit that I have actually never watched a minute of any wrestling event. I assume that will be changing in the morning during class and I’m not mad at it! I enjoy looking at our culture and different ways in which we can compare it to pop culture. I learned everything I’ve ever known about wrestling in this one article and I’m cringing a bit at the fact that I want to look more into it. What’s going on with me?! I get excited over celebrity talk and award shows, not wrestling! I have heard before that “it’s all fake” and what not, but the article did a great job looking at it beyond the surface level of just physical acts. Mike Foley really does sound like a hero. I know they play these different characters but it seems like some of their real life personalities have a special place in their identity too. I guess that’s why Foley was such a big hit with fans despite his “grotesque” appearance and need for acceptance, etc. His character was just like us in certain ways. WWE sounds like it has the method to maintaining viewership figured out. With these fictional characters continuously changing from hero to villian, winning and losing matches, growing and losing fanbases… It’s like the never ending episode of your favorite (ear losing, concussion causing) cat fight! I think pro wrestling also relates well with the idea of how fan communities can influence and change what becomes popular. All you need is one strong opinion to change the minds of others. Each voice matters and it seems like in pro wrestling, they rely on the audience to tell them what they want to see. I can see this trend in our discussion last week of memes and what goes viral. Is it by WWE’s grand design that Mike Foley, the unattractive, needy wrestler became a hero? Or is it simply because the world just liked him and simultaneously convinced others to feel the same way?  Xo- Alissa

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Pro Wrestling

Posted by Hannah Seaver on February 9, 2016

I have to say that I am surprised at how much research one can do on pro wrestling and the media. I think that viewing American culture through the lens of pro wrestling is a different, but effective way of looking at how our country has changed over the years. Mick Foley himself was not your typical masculine hero that the nation was accustomed to seeing. This depiction of a wrestler depicts how the media and WWE has a target audience that they must cater to. But besides this manufacturing of pictures, the viewers themselves play a major role in controlling pro wrestling. As Ford mentions on page 92, “Wrestling fans directly influence the product through an open feedback process by performing their own acting roles at live events,” he then compares the wrestling fans to sports fans (something I didn’t ever consider). Another point I thought was interesting was how he talks about pro wrestling as a “spectacle of excess,” and the symbolic meaning of the original villain vs. hero struggle. Since the beginning of humanity, society has always been enamored with fighting; picking a side and routing for it. The same principle applies to the fascination with wrestling.

The relationship between pro wrestling producers, viewers, and the wrestlers themselves is a complex one to study. Each piece contributes to a larger puzzle that makes up the entire show. Without one piece, the show would not be complete or successful. Despite my initial doubts, I can see how there are various ways to study these complexities within WWE culture.

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Emotional Appeal

Posted by nattmelch on February 8, 2016

To begin, this is the most interesting comparison to pop culture I’ve ever read about. I never in a million years would of thought of wrestling as a metaphor. The story on Foley to me is another example of (like the reading mentioned) an underdog story about someone who rose to fame and (in a sense) fortune. This wouldn’t have been possible without an audience.

It’s crazy to me to think about how much audiences play a role American culture. In Foley’s case it’s what got him to the championship. I think with any genre of television, any story with any kind of emotional appeal will always take off with the audience. With wrestling and I’m sure many other things it’s interesting to see how much the develope around their audiences which is something I never knew.

In the last paragraph of the reading it says “Although these text may not be unique in this capacity, they do open themselves up to a particular polysemic reading because of the spectacular nature of wrestling’s visual performances that invite readers to bring their own experiences into their interpretations of what is happening to the mythic characters in the ring.” This sentence is super long, but I think it is the best conclusion to the topic. Wrestling is based solely upon what the audience wants to see. I think that’s what makes it so appealing because it gives the audience a sense of control. Throw in a emotionally appealing story and you got a full package. It gives the audience what they want to see along with the ability to watch something develope and in my opinion that’s exactly what Foley’s story did.

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#1 fan

Posted by kayla shults on February 8, 2016

I do not know much about pro wrestling or why anyone would want to do something just for the entertainment. How people find that so entertaining could not really tell you. Sadly, I had to google Mick Foley just so I could place a face to his name and he did not even look how I imagined him. Mick Foley just seems like the kid in class that wants to be accepted by the cool kids so he starts dressing just like them for example how Mick was looking up to the big wrestlers in the business. Then Mike turns out to be like an hero, and has so many fans. No one could not make it in any public business no one would actually be in the entertainment business unless they had fans. I always knew famous people loved their fans, but I never really considered what sports people thought of their fans and how much they valued their fans. I guess, athletes and even pro wrestlers are famous people but just view them in different spotlights. Mike was thrown off Hell in a Cell cage and was viewed as a villain and lost fans. It was interesting to see how it impacted him and his career. He ended up being the fan favorite by the end of the year, he ended up doing great things and the fan support just continued to raise. So, being fans of someone even if they do not personally know who we are and we as fans feel like we personally know them. We as fans impact them more then what we probably ever thought we did.

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Posted by lanaewashington on February 8, 2016

From reading the backgrounds of where wrestling came from I got a bit excited for the article. It began after the Civil War when soldiers that were not longer fighting in the war reenacted it. Wresting is a commonly watched sport among the young male population. To me, when thinking of sports, wresting is the last thing on my mind. Never a day in my life have I even been excited to watch a match or even care for it when I was watching it. Further into the reading, you get to see how a wrestler becomes a hero. The personal life of a wrestler and their professional career differ tremendously. When you have younger children looking up to you, you sort of have to know how to play multiple roles in your life. Many athletes don’t get credit for the work they do in the classroom. Although, I must say, in high school the athletes did get a little “special treatment” when it came down to academics. But, beside the point. Foley wanted all of the roles he played to have a significant place in his life. Where no one just thought he was a wrestler, or just a hero. He wanted people to understand that yes he is all of those things, but behind all of it, there is a intellectual guy too. By wanting people to see him in an intellectual viewpoint as well by itself to me is intellectual. Not many of us see a wrestler and automatically think that they can be a great writer. I think he worked hard to make people try to see that he was a writer, but at the end of the day is was a wrestler. Sometimes you make it too big in one thing, that your other talents get put to the shadows because everyone is focusing on the main, popular thing that you are good at.

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Posted by uptodatewithdest on February 8, 2016

For me, this reading was very different saying that I have never been one to love wrestling. I have always thought that it was fake and I just didn’t have an understanding of wrestling. After this week’s reading, I can understand how people look up to Mick Foley and how he was a hero in his fans eyes. It is not often that you see someone become such a role model but I did and I see how many would relate this to today’s world and how it relates to pop culture. John Cena is the Mick Foley of this generation. Although Foley wasn’t what John Cena is today and wasn’t even as tone or big and buff like wrestlers are nowadays.  I just thought it was a good reference. Seeing it as wrestlers are the hero because they go out there and defend themselves and basically save the day in many eyes. Mick Foley was the example of defeating the odds. I never understood like I said and the beginning and I wasn’t much of a fan and  I never took the time out to understand the meaning or even the point of wrestling but for people that love wrestling, I could see how their love could happen due to being interested and seeing how the story line protrays the wrestler as a “hero”.

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Pro Wrestling- Shane Freeman

Posted by Shane on February 8, 2016

As many have said, I am also not a huge fan of pro wrestling, mostly because I just don’t see the point in it other than the entertainment. I don’t knock anyone who isn’t a fan, but I also won’t be the one to support your likeness. What I can take away from pro wrestling and Mick Foley specifically is something that transcends pro wrestling, a hero.

A hero can be anyone from a famous football player to your next door neighbor and even to your siblings. The stereotypical hero may come off as a dashing warrior of sorts, but what Ford explains when talking about Foley, it’s that he wasn’t that stereotype of a hero and yet he possessed the qualities of what a hero represents. When looking at that, I see someone who is a symbol for the sport just as Peyton Manning could be a symbol for football, or Martin Luther King Jr. is a symbol for equality. While they’re all so different, they still possess the same goal and that is to become something for people to look up to and stand behind.

An interesting point made was that WWE is a million dollar industry, I knew that it was popular but maybe not that popular. Unless you really think about it, some of the biggest names in entertainment come from pro wrestling, but it isn’t necessarily your first thought when thinking about them. The obvious one being John Cena is well known for what he does, but mostly known by name not for what he does in my opinion. Even more popular than him is none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who has swiftly paved path into the film industry. I would say by the mainstream public, he is no longer known for wrestling, but rather his acting career in roles of major films like the Fast & Furious series, San Andreas , and many other bif films. He has become what he is because of popularity from wrestling, but has since transcended that. It would be fair to say that pro wrestling isn’t just a joke, but something that is seen occasionally asa stepping stone for many careers.

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WWE in Pop Culture

Posted by hlybkr on February 8, 2016

When I first sat down to read this article, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled. I have never watched pro wrestling in my life. At first I didn’t think I would be able to see how the WWE would be able to correlate with the world of pop culture today. I thought that the fan demographic would be mainly made up of teen to middle aged men, but obviously this is not the case. This article made me really think about how much the fans play in someone, in this case a pro wrestler’s career. Pro wrestling to some is more than just a sport, it’s a life style. It is easy to see how Mick Foley became such a hero to his viewers, just as one of my favorite artists or actors is to me. Alas, I had no idea that some wrestling is scripted, and very catered to viewers. This is how many pop culture figures work these days, they depend on the fans and supporters to dictate what media is produced and to what degree. These days I have seen John Cena absolutely blowing up on the internet, and not for beating up (fake or not) other grown men, but for being used in a uber funny meme. It has been everywhere from vine to Facebook, with no plans of stopping. It was extremely interesting seeing a side of pop culture that I had never dove into much, and if it weren’t for this class I would have never looked into it much.

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Smooth Jazz Plus Wrestling Part 2

Posted by gabriellashartzer435com on February 8, 2016

Okay so I’m not the biggest fan AT ALL of wrestling usually. I have always thought it was dumb and pointless and it didn’t make sense for people to want to get up in front of a bunch of people to get beat the…. crap… out of. When I first heard/watched wrestling, I was with my Dad Kevin and little brother Nolan, who is 13. They were getting SOOOOO hype about something and I could not figure out what it was about, so when I went downstairs to pay them a visit, I saw this HORRENDOUS thing on the television and I immediately started judging them. Like, why. Why. I can’t.

Anyways, after judging them very hard core, they were like “Hey, don’t knock it til you try it” kind-of thing. So of course, I sat down beside my dad on the couch and watched it and OH MY GOSH I got sucked into the tv so quickly!!! The action, who the hero and villain is as stated as a concept in the text, the random picking of who you want to win (possibly due to their looks…. Roman Reigns… though he might be WWE I don’t know), and all that other SMOOTH JAZZ by @#KeanuReeves#Jon Hamm. My point is, the media knows so well how to manipulate our thinking about things because of the way they display it. It is intriguing, fun to watch, and some of the men on there!!! Woo!!! I am always game to watch that now.

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Are you man enough?

Posted by yasminesadrinia on February 8, 2016

The topic discussed in our reading for this post that stood out to me was the section about professional wrestling and its effects on stereotypes of men. Critics have claimed that WWE promote a certain code of masculine behavior: violence. I personally feel like the kind of sports or physical activities you enjoy have anything to do with your mentality or personality. But I will admit that most people I know that participate in wrestling are more concerned with body image, workouts, etc. than their education, jobs, and families. I think this is because of the whole “hero” ideology that wrestling creates.

A lot of men (and women) grow up watching these muscular personas on their television, and perhaps they feel a need to mirror those attributes somehow. But what I don’t think a lot of viewers realize is that all the hype they see on TV does not reflect the reality of these people’s lives. While it is entertaining to watch and the wrestlers may not make it seem so, the pain you see them experiencing is still being felt. It is still a harsh and violent activity. The whole idea of watching people hurt each other for fun is something that I personally don’t think I’ll ever fully understand, but I definitely think the assigned reading helped me learn a lot about a subject I don’t consider myself knowledgeable on.

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