Why do we fall in love with the things that we do? Why do we not fall in love with the things that other people have fallen in love with?
I ask myself this every time I go see a musical or watch a softball game or hear the blues. These art forms that people I know and love have fallen for that leave me, at best, ambivalent. What am I not hearing or seeing or experiencing?
I love professional wrestling. I have pretty much from the time I could have real human thoughts. From being a little kid in to the larger than life characters to the "smart mark" adult at times more interested in the backstage politics of a carny business than the onscreen product, I have devoted a lot of time over the course of my life to what goes on in a 20 x 20 squared circle.
And at last a video exists that explains why I love this particular art form so.
There are those among you who may have heard the name Max Landis before. The son of director John Landis, he is best known for two things: writing the script to the excellent found-footage superhero flick Chronicle, and being the creative mind behind the short film The Death and Return of Superman. (He also made this awesome video of people slapping each other you may have seen last year.)
Wrestling Isn't Wrestling is in the same vein as Superman. In it Landis covers the career of Triple H, albeit a bit loosely with the facts and timeline. By examining the 20 year career of one figure in one company in one ongoing narative, Landis reveals something that all wrestling fans understand and non-wrestling fans don't seem to get: Wrestling isn't real, and that's OK because wrestling isn't wrestling.
Wrestling is The Wire. Wrestling is The Uncanny X-Men. Wrestling is The Lord of the Rings.
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Wrestling isn't athletic spectacle, even though at times it can be. The athletics are part of the show, but they aren't the show. Wrestlers are athletes... and actors... and stuntmen... and performance artists.
As Landis puts it, "Wrestling is melodrama. Wrestling is mythology. Wrestling is action. Wrestling is comic books. The only thing wrestling isn't is wrestling."
Give the video a watch and find out just how much depth "dudes rolling around in their underwear" can have. I'm not saying it'll turn you in to a fan or that you'll ever sit in and tune in to an episode of Monday Night Raw, but it may just give you a new understanding of why some people watch something that clearly "isn't real."
But neither is Black Mirror or Cthulhu, and hey, that doesn't stop me for loving those things either.