…Which we can infer a mode of privilege that is White and male and cleverly linked to his original WWE persona as one of aristocratic sensibility loosely coded in the visual language of colonialism.
HHH gets a lot of smark love lately, but not long ago, it was LOLHHHWins instead of CENAWINSLOL. I think he’s legitimately better at booking than McMahon, but he’s still very interested to a fault in self promotion.
I wondered myself how Guerrero might have been perceived in a contemporary WWE era. I would project that the depiction of Guerrero as an over-vamped Mexican superstar would have persisted. His willingness to submit to these cholo-esque performances could be symbolic of his charismatic resilience as a wrestler making the most of his opportunity, seemingly parallel to the pulse of a transnational Latino narrative. Interestingly enough, it is amusing to see this narrative juxtaposed to your observation of Guerrero’s journey as a multi-generational wrestler traveling across multiple circuits and companies. I am slightly skeptical that the WWE would necessarily would steer away from continuing to exploit this narrative by the sheer characteristics the demographic represents: a silent and invisible minority that is regularly exploited in other forms of media without retaliation because for fear of punishment or familial shame.
Kristine, great post that draws out a series of continuous (and perhaps unending) tensions that exist between wrestlers and audiences, booking and crowd support, traditional status quo versus corporate (e.g. public) incentive. To quote a phrase often expressed by Doug and Dave, co-hosts of Sirius XM’s Busted Open Radio, “WWE is all over the map” here. They want to be PC, but they have a trickle down system with an old-school owner. They want to promote diversity, but they struggle to back unproven non-White characters as an economic gamble. They can’t progress forward in time without constantly looking backward upon their own storied history. They seek a homogenized product so as to not excite advertisers and audiences negatively, yet the ratings have flatlined and are now showing signs of corrosion (Raw & Smackdown). This is the ultimate problem with people pleasers, or the Jack of all trades, master of none archetype. You try to please everybody and you ultimately please no one.
As much LOVE as Triple H gets for NXT, could we legitimately identify this commoditized conundrum the “Triple H syndrome”? Because the issue is a reflector of his own part-give, part-taker, but always self-aware and self-present career. Or is this simply the tension between old guard/new guard as McMahon finally outstays his welcome as supreme chancellor of final-say booking?
J.J., terrific post that continues to expand our discourse concerning racism and wrestling this week. Deconstructing the cultural history of Eddie Guerrero’s numerous layers within the industry feels like a brain busting task.
Guerrero continues the well-worn theme of incestuous, or rather, “legacy” wrestlers that span multi-generations within various circuits and competing companies.
While plenty celebrate Guerrero’s opportunity as an in-ring champion of many belts, his function as an external champion is arguably more important. With Eddie, audiences were given a non-traditional minority figure who occupied a heel-ish role (during peek visibility with WWE) that he embraced with such a brazen outlaw spirit (and humorous affect) that his persona was able to successfully win crowds over. While we’ve talked about the hero’s journey this week, as well as arcs of “redemption”, Eddie embodies the most contemporary brand of crossover marketability coming out of the Attitude Era, when a ‘Superstar’ plays the heel card with such charisma that the crowd interjects his/her ability to perform that roll, thus sparking a reversal role perhaps quicker than planned by writers and bookers. The “Lie, Cheat, Steal” mantra follows the in-ring flavor patented (televisually at least) by Ric Flair but homespun through Eddie in a way that reminds us of WWE’s ethnocentric recurrences. I recall my personal experience cringing at the sight of Guerrero and his posse rolling down the ramps on lowrider lawnmowers. I am not quite certain as to the level of audience identification for some, but for me it was a queasy evocation in poor taste. Perhaps, J.J., you said it best when you consider Guerrero a ‘team player’ at whatever cost. And while we can logically deduce informed speculation into the additives that led to his early death, one wonders what his role might look like today if he were still alive? Would he have innovated WWE’s PC modus operandi, or would Eddie have helped lead the charge with the growing interest in Lucha Underground?
Guerrero is top 5, easily.
Few performers ever have combined Guerrero’s combination of workrate, promo ability, and overall charisma. Everyone just remembers the cholo swagger, which “SuperMex” Hernandez and Konnan have tried to crib but they so lack in the other areas that it doesn’t work and exacerbates the ethnoracial appropriation problems you identify above. Also interesting that Guerrero made his bones as an Anti-Mexican heel in AAA.
What kind of money do her folks have? She was at the NXT show in Houston too. And if a regular can’t take being the butt of heelishness, what have we come to? Chris Sabin made a crybaby face at my son when he tore his streamers at an ROH show, my son loved it. And Stevie Ray frequently makes mean faces at him…In all seriousness, Banks is awesome…
I saw this today and thought I would share: http://www.cagesideseats.com/wwe/2015/10/8/9477355/sasha-banks-best-heel-wwe-nxt-takeover-respect-bayley-izzy
I had not known about the concept of affective mapping, and I think it will be useful in my research on intersections of the documentary and the gothic. I am not sure about the claim that the film asks viewers to “simply ‘wallow’” in melancholia, since it seems to be doing much more productive critical work than this. I also wonder if there isn’t a bit of odd distancing going on in the film, as well, on the level of style and aesthetic. It guides viewers into an affective relationship of melancholic longing, but it also has a sharp, almost satirical edge in its dreamy visual presentation, repetitive script and imagery, and associative editing. I guess in this sense, I am thinking along the lines of the previous commenter, who suggest that the film opens up spectators critically rather than sort of trapping them in a vortex of longing. I appreciate your opening up this discussion.
I discuss documentary films and experimental films in an article I wrote (and in my dissertation) that rely on approaching a sense of the historical through affect. I also teach the subject and suspect that this discussion will be helpful for my American Gothic students, so I will share it with them. Thank you for this post!