Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hulk Hogan: Public Intellectual?

One of the greatest lessons I think I've learned is to listen to everyone and try to find a lesson or a value to everything. I was watching a CNBC show with Donny Deutsch about pro wrestling. Obviously, one of the people being interviewed was Hulk Hogan. Finding this interesting, I listened for a second. Hulk isn't a perfect public speaker (though, compared to Bush, he is a Mark Antony). He was asked about wrestling's social impact, and he pointed out that wrestling has a script wherein good eventually wins, but more importantly, he pointed out how he and other pro wrestlers try to get involved with charities. He then went onto say that someone in the public eye, an actor or athlete, has an obligation to use the fact that s/he is in the public eye 24 hours a day to try to do charitable work and behave as befits a role model. I found that was very interesting, and could be listened to by a lot of actors and athletes.

Hulk did unequiovocally discuss how wrestling is a scripted event and discussed himself as an actor as much as a wrestler. I don't like to insult pro wrestling: those guys are good actors and know how to make a spectacle that appeals to their fans. And yes, people do get hurt in it. Brandon Lee died while shooting a movie, but no one argues that those aren't blanks in the guns. Mick Foley (Mankind, Dude Love, etc.) pointed out in his book that wrestling is fake, but so is life.

One could argue, of course, that wrestling's good/evil script is banal and silly, but that's one's own opinion. What is entertaining to someone is entertaining. Someone can be snobbish and turn their nose up, discussing "high" culture, but everyone seems to have a different idea about what that means. Aesthetic judgments are subjective: "high culture" is in the eye of the beholder. I think that someone can be reasonable describing failure to meet the vision of the project: in German terms, the teknkik. But to attack the geist using some kind of intellectual framework is laughable.


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