Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Raining Men and the WWF

At first, I really couldn't get into this weeks reading since I can't relate to the content as I never watched WWF (or now known as WWEF) or to sports. But then I remembered soemthing from y days of working with the resident hall student government. When I was an officer for SHAC, my adviser at the time during meetings would give the WWF belt to an officer on the board that did something special or extraordinary that previous week. We would proudly display the belt at our desk if we were awarded that week. I had no context for WWF as I never watched it, but I did understand from this context that it is something special to be awarded for a special task I accomplished that week.

Now to this weeks readings, I saw a general theme in all the articles is how heterosexual white working men in the United States have entertainment that is directed toward them in the form of meladrama.

The idea of the "crisis of masculinity" is intriguing as it introduces the idea of the response that "masculine" power has when its power is threatened due to forces within culture. Carroll discusses the point that "white injury--phantasmagratphic through it may be--is a phenomenon that attempts to recoup political, economic, and cultural authority" (264). I wonder if the show American Chopper reflects a new type of working man that has not existed in American culture before and what type of men is emerging from the political, economic and cultural forces shaping the discourse surrounding shows such as American Chopper?

The theme of money and economic power is seen in the Carroll article about American Chopper and the Friedman article about sports television and both articles about the WWF. How does economic power for the working men work out in all four of these articles and what are the implications for "white male power" in the United States? Is this similar to what we've discussed with post-feminism and how it is closely tied to consumer and mass culture in the United States? Is sport and popular culture meladrama creating a sense of buying power for men in relation to the topics the articles discuss?

Coming from a blue-collar family and my father as a plumber, I thought many of the points about males finding the place in order to engage in mass culture in acceptable space relevant. I wonder what other contexts can we find this "crisis of masculinity" in current shows and popular culture? Is this shifting with men and women roles changing rapidly in our current economic situation in the United States?

Here are some videos to add some context to the material (at least it helped me as I haven't viewed some of the shows.

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