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Why there can never be a universal standard


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#41 El-P

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:36 PM

The type of wrestling I like is wrestling that's good. The type I don't is wrestling that's bad.

 

That's the Lemmy theorem about music And Lemmy is God, ya know. :)



#42 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 03:57 PM

 

Parv seems a bit distrustful of people with eclectic tastes.

You've been reading my music list so far, is that true?

 

I wouldn't say your list is that eclectic. It covers a wide variety of eras but it's mostly artists from the same genres. Reading the list, a person gets a clear idea of what you value in music. Judging by what you've written in this thread, it seems you'd be suspicious of a list that is wildly eclectic. 
 

 

What I will say though is that I'm broadly consistent in insisting that to understand blues you need to do so within the traditions of the blues, to understand hip-hop you have to come at it from within the genre not try comparing it to Bob Dylan or whoever.


I don't recall you doing this w/ wrestling. It's easy to say that you have to come at something from within the genre or the tradition when you already like that thing. When you were faced with new things in wrestling you threw your standards at them.

 

 

 

Ultimate question though: how can we really make that call across genres? Can we? Can we compare the rap artist to the bluesman to the jazz cat to the folk singer/songwriter to the punk band?

Why not? They're musicians. They make music and write songs. It's just a question of whose music you like better.
 

 

 

There is still no universality here. Even though there might be a lot of styles, you are still saying "I'm a puro fan, and within puro this is what I like", same with lucha, same with shoot style, same with territory guys, etc. And there surely comes a point where certain styles just aren't making the list.


I don't think anyone is arguing with you over the universality point. You seem to be pushing the wagon that if someone's a shoot style fan they can't like garbage brawling because they're diametrically opposed when the reality is that people quite often do like things that are diametrically opposed. 



#43 GOTNW

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 07:17 PM

I think I can simplify what I appreciate in pro wrestling pretty concisely. I like violence. That's what I want out of wrestling. If you throw a kick I want it to look like a real kick and sound like a real kick. If you flip I want it to look dangerous and nutty, not like an exhibition of someone's leg strength. If you're gonna hit someone over the head with a chair I want it to feel like you are actually hitting someond in the head with a steel chair. You only make exceptions for self-parody (i.e.comedy matches). Whenever the tricks wrestlers use to convince the audience they're hurting their opponent are exposed (thigh slapping), they stop treating the violence as important (modern puro strike exchanges, bad selling), they get too lazy to structure their matches in a way that feels like a struggle (most often end up trapped in formulaic BS like many WWE/New Japan workers, but there are formulas that work too) and so on it results in bad wrestling.

#44 overbooked

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 01:59 AM

It tends to be the case in art that movements produce counter-movements and counter-counter movements which define themselves AGAINST each other. That is, they depend on, for their very existence, some sort of rejection of what has gone before.

We're all very post-modern and eclectic now so we listen to bubble-gum pop alongside punk alongside new wave etc. as if there were no aethetic, political or ideological contradictions in so doing -- there are less stakes, I suppose, consumers gonna consume. But one of those movements has at is core a visceral rejection of mainstream values and art, so how much of a TRUE fan of the thing can one be if you don't share in that?

 

I think there is something important in this. In wrestling, or anything else, what you liked was a badge of honour, or a way of defining yourself, as much as just what you found enjoyable and worthwhile. I'm not sure if that ideological base to taste is so strong now. In the past there was a scarcity to everything - you could only buy so many records, videos, whatever. And so it was harder to be "eclectic" and easier to follow a particular path and spend a lot of time with one genre. I think there was also a closer ideological element in the production too - bands were more politicised, wrestlers held particular philosophies more. 

 

Now we have so much choice and so much access the terms of engagement have changed. And often there is less of an ideological or political charge to what is being produced. So it is far easier on a practical and philosophical level to enjoy a wider variety of anything without worrying about "selling out" or misdefining yourself.

 

I suspect we're also less likely to define ourselves by what we don't like. There is so much to discover that is good we spend less time consuming the bad stuff. In the past there was much more of a common culture. When the pop charts mattered that was something to rebel against. The story arc of the smart fan in the nineties was reacting against the ubiquitous WWF by discovering all this great stuff hidden elsewhere. 

 

There is less of a need to rebel against the mainstream when the mainstream is less all-consuming. There are fewer opportunities for inverted snobbery (a key element in all this, and I don't see it as a negative term) when everyone can consume everything. Circumstances have changed how we define and engage with taste.

 

Or maybe Taste=Personality is much more of a teenage trait and we've all grown out of it.



#45 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 02:36 AM

I'd be hesitant to use PWO as a synecdoche for "everyone". When I survey the wrestling scene, I still see WWE fanboys, guys into indie stuff, guys into shooty stuff, guys into puro, guys like Jim Cornette and so on. How many people try to be into "everything"? Less than one percent?

Which is to say, I still think people define themselves by what they do and don't like. And if anything increased accessibility, YouTube and social media has exacerbated that. Just take a little surf around Facebook and Twitter profiles. Are fans *really* not defining themselves by their tastes? Genuine question. In a world of endless choice in which you are encouraged to go your own way, people don't define themselves by their taste? I wonder about that.

Not being argumentative, I just think that overbooked may have overstated the point. It doesn't quite tally with my experience of the 2010s so far.

#46 overbooked

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 02:51 AM

Are fans *really* not defining themselves by their tastes? Genuine question. In a world of endless choice in which you are encouraged to go your own way, people don't define themselves by their taste? I wonder about that.

Not being argumentative, I just think that overbooked may have overstated the point. It doesn't quite tally with my experience of the 2010s so far.

 

You may be right. However, I don't think subcultures in wrestling/music/whatever are as clearly defined or widespread as badges of identity as they were in 1986 or 1996. I think defining oneself as Someone With Broad Tastes is more of a thing now than 10 or 20 years ago.

 

More choice can, perversely, lead us into an even narrow worldwide, I concede that. But I don't think that is a universal thing.



#47 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:12 AM

In general I do agree that everyone is a bit more eclectic and partly because they can afford to be. Watching a YouTube clip only costs time. And there may be something interesting to be written on how money restraints may have played a role in badge-of-pride sub-cultures. But it still goes on to some extent.

I was writing to a 76-year old professor the other day. We were going back and forth on something I'd written and he seemed to think at one point that I had a (political) anti-Western (as in anti-capitalist) agenda, which is completely untrue. I think I said something in my reply which could be of some relevance here:


I could never be a cultural materialist precisely because my motivations are not political. I am not a Marxist, or a Christian, or indeed an "anything", I'm a guy who likes pop records, films, nice resaturants, pursuing my own interests using the internet, etc. etc. I grew up in the 1980s and 90s on a steady diet of home videos and television, not going to church or attending socialist meetings. I don't think my particular generation were ever marked as much by our political activism as we were by our post-modern pop-literacy. Ironically, I think the internet has curbed this tendency in later generations by actually narrowing / fragmenting the range of the cultural cache. To put it very crudely, they aren't going to get all the jokes in Seinfeld because they didn't really grow up watching TV -- there is less passive osmosis in an "on demand" culture; there aren't many 18 year olds who are going to go out of their way to watch some 1960s show, but not so long ago millions of them probably caught a re-run of said 60s show randomly on a cold Sunday afternoon "just because it was on". On the flipside, I think post-9/11, post-2008, post-Brexit / Trump, they are a lot more inclined to join political movements and become vocal activists. I digress ...

I'll just leave that in there. I think some people might get something out of it. I've made iterations of that same argument for a long time because I believe it to be true.

Parv seems a bit distrustful of people with eclectic tastes.

You've been reading my music list so far, is that true?
 
I wouldn't say your list is that eclectic. It covers a wide variety of eras but it's mostly artists from the same genres. Reading the list, a person gets a clear idea of what you value in music. Judging by what you've written in this thread, it seems you'd be suspicious of a list that is wildly eclectic. 
Well in fairness I did say it was a favourites list and so there was zero demand to pay any lip service. And I suppose it doesn't reflect the many hours, days, weeks, months even I've spent on entire styles and genres that just didn't make it. I spent months listening to nothing but power pop, before figuring out it probably wasn't for me. I assume any serious music fan has gone down similar exploratory roads. Some lead you somewhere, other times you figure that once the expedition ends there won't be a lot making you go back. I wanted to make something entirely honest with zero posing. I genuinely don't find myself reaching for Slint or Suicide albums very much, so I'm not going to list or even mention them to look cool or whatever. I also don't feel a single iota of pressure not to be "Anglo-centric", it would just be a lie. I predominantly listen to British and American records. It's pretty much entirely unreasonable to expect my favourite artists to be Indian or Chinese or whatever else. When Anglo-American music is as vast as it is, so that one will never have explored everything in a lifetime, I'm not sure that there is world enough and time to get to the point where I really *get* let's say Middle Eastern music. I probably draw the line at learning Arabic to appreciate an album. Breadth is a noble aim, but never at the expense of depth. And depth takes a lot of time and effort.

Incidentally before anyone makes the point, Pro-wrestling is indefinitely smaller than music, and so its limits are more within reach. Puro and lucha have also made big inroads into the fandom than various world musics have into Anglo-American music culture, partly precisely because the limits of pro wrestling are so small.

#48 overbooked

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:30 AM

Interesting quote. I think it makes a strong case for there being less of a common culture than ever before, which in turn means there is less obvious "mainstream" to rebel against, and also makes "universal standards" even trickier to define and work from.

 

Perhaps the odd (maybe unique?) thing with wrestling for the general population is that over the last 35 years, wrestling has gone from being a subculture with many genres to (for many people) being just the WWE - at least in North America. Even if there wasn't universal access to different promotions, they did exist, and so everyone's experience of wrestling depended on where they lived, so there was less of a common culture than there is now.

 

However, in terms of wrestling criticism and those who practice it, wrestling has become a far, far broader subject as there is so much more footage, and such a diversity within it. There are far more schools of thought amongst a certain type of Internet Wrestling Fan than there was 15 years ago, when in some circles saying you liked 80s territorial wrestling was a controversial, ideological stance.



#49 El-P

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:37 AM

I also don't feel a single iota of pressure not to be "Anglo-centric", it would just be a lie. I predominantly listen to British and American records. It's pretty much entirely unreasonable to expect my favourite artists to be Indian or Chinese or whatever else. When Anglo-American music is as vast as it is, so that one will never have explored everything in a lifetime, I'm not sure that there is world enough and time to get to the point where I really *get* let's say Middle Eastern music. I probably draw the line at learning Arabic to appreciate an album. Breadth is a noble aim, but never at the expense of depth. And depth takes a lot of time and effort.

 

I don't understand that way of thinking *at all*. I find it pretty self-centered around a culturally dominating culture and quite lazy to be honest, coming from someone who's not exactly the type to be satisfied with just whatever comes off the radio. Doesn't show a lot of curiosity.

 

Plus, there's so much music "without words", to begin with. And then again, with not understanding the words, surely something is lost in translation (although not always, really, it's much better to not understand words with tons of english speaking stuff too, really, depth my ass), but there's so much more than just the meaning of said words. Listening to Turkish folk, I can get shivers just because of the expressivity, not to mention the amazing baglama music. A lot of the french singers I like the most are the ones who are a bit cryptic and not too litteral. The sound of the words meaning more than the words themselves. And like I said, the amazing amount of actual instrumental music makes it easy to listen to something other than the good ol' US & UK rock & pop stuff.

 

As Björk would have put out "There's more to life than this." 

 

(do you also not read anything that's not English or American because of the translations issues ? I mean, whenever there's a translation, you can't get the pure poetry of the actual words)



#50 El-P

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:42 AM

In other words, learn to love it, Bob Dylan ain't shit compared to the mighty Aşık Mahzuni Şerif :

 



#51 overbooked

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:45 AM

Breadth is a noble aim, but never at the expense of depth. And depth takes a lot of time and effort.

 

I think there could be a whole thread just covering this.

 

I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the current trend for "deep dives". I can see how it serves a purpose with a GWE-type project, and satisfies the itch for the obscure in an age where very little is obscure. However, when it leads to a narrow worldview, then there is a lack of understanding of the wider context that "deep dive" falls within. 

 

Plus, it makes music/wrestling whatever sound like hard work, rather than something that makes life better.



#52 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:48 AM

I also don't feel a single iota of pressure not to be "Anglo-centric", it would just be a lie. I predominantly listen to British and American records. It's pretty much entirely unreasonable to expect my favourite artists to be Indian or Chinese or whatever else. When Anglo-American music is as vast as it is, so that one will never have explored everything in a lifetime, I'm not sure that there is world enough and time to get to the point where I really *get* let's say Middle Eastern music. I probably draw the line at learning Arabic to appreciate an album. Breadth is a noble aim, but never at the expense of depth. And depth takes a lot of time and effort.

 
I don't understand that way of thinking *at all*. I find it pretty self-centered around a culturally dominating culture.
 
Plus, there's so much music "without words", to begin with. And then again, with not understanding the words, surely something is lost in translation (although not always, really, it's much better to not understand words with tons of english speaking stuff too, really), but there's so much more than just the meaning of said words. Listening to Turkish folk, I can get shivers just because of the expressivity, not to mention the amazing baglama music. A lot of the french singers I like the most are the ones who are a bit cryptic and not too litteral. The sound of the words meaning more than the words themselves. And like I said, the amazing amount of actual instrumental music makes it easy to listen to something other than the good ol' US & UK rock & pop stuff.
 
As Björk would have put out "There's more to life than this."
This isn't an argument I'm going to expand on beyond this. I like lyrics, there are very few intrstrumental-only artists on my list; I also want to understand things inside out and not "dabble". Rather than attack my list -- which most readers have said has led them to explore artists they've never heard of before -- it would be better to make your own somewhere. I'm not at all comfortable trying to make assessments on Turkish music, or even the Iranian music my dad listens to, and I can speak Farsi and grew up hearing it. Not comfortable at all, and I don't see that changing over this exchange. I repeat that it's an unreasonable demand.

World cinema is a different kettle of fish cos of the subtitles and it being a visual medium. I feel I can get into Iranian cinema far more readily than I can into Iranian music. World cinema is also a lot more part of "the fandom" so it's easier to get good recommendations and guides. Some things travel easier than others.

I will not engage you more on this topic.

#53 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:55 AM

Breadth is a noble aim, but never at the expense of depth. And depth takes a lot of time and effort.

 
I think there could be a whole thread just covering this.
 
I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the current trend for "deep dives". I can see how it serves a purpose with a GWE-type project, and satisfies the itch for the obscure in an age where very little is obscure. However, when it leads to a narrow worldview, then there is a lack of understanding of the wider context that "deep dive" falls within. 
 
Plus, it makes music/wrestling whatever sound like hard work, rather than something that makes life better.
It also goes back to the OP of this thread though, which is that in order to get anything you need some context. There's no universal standard remember, so in order to really appreciate something you can't hopscotch until you've understood the style on its own terms. People have talked about having different "heads" for different things, you actually actually have to acquire the head first.

OR

I can see an argument for a much more care-free "whatever" attitude where you're watching random YouTube vids or MTV vids or whatever not quite knowing what you are watching and getting kicks from it even though you have little to no idea what's going on.

There's that too.

#54 overbooked

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:16 AM

There is definitely room for both, in terms of consuming and in terms of criticism. I enjoy both approaches, and have reservations about both. It is why there can't be a universal standard, and I think that is a good thing as by reading different approaches to the same thing I learn more, and learn more about my own response to whatever we're talking about.

 

I guess it is useful to understand a critic's frame of reference and/or terms of engagement, but is unreasonable to expect everyone else to follow that too.



#55 El-P

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:19 AM

This isn't an argument I'm going to expand on beyond this. I like lyrics, there are very few intrstrumental-only artists on my list; I also want to understand things inside out and not "dabble". Rather than attack my list -- which most readers have said has led them to explore artists they've never heard of before -- it would be better to make your own somewhere. I'm not at all comfortable trying to make assessments on Turkish music, or even the Iranian music my dad listens to, and I can speak Farsi and grew up hearing it. Not comfortable at all, and I don't see that changing over this exchange. I repeat that it's an unreasonable demand.

 

Well, to each his own I guess. Damn, if I grew up speaking two languages, which is an amazing start in life, I would totally be exploring the two cultures. That's such a great thing to have.

 

A friend of mine is actually an Iranian music lover despite not speaking Farsi. He learned to play the sêtar and I believe is working on a book about Iranian music. So there.

 

As far as "making a list", well, I've been writing about music for years now. But it's in French only, so…. There you have it.

 

World cinema is a different kettle of fish cos of the subtitles and it being a visual medium. I feel I can get into Iranian cinema far more readily than I can into Iranian music. World cinema is also a lot more part of "the fandom" so it's easier to get good recommendations and guides. Some things travel easier than others.

 

Taxi Teheran by Jafar Panahi is a great movie. Golshifteh Farahani, well, I'm in love with, and she's a terrific actress to boot.



#56 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:22 AM

I do think there's a difference between people who seek out new wrestling and those people who are into a scene. But that's true of all forms of entertainment. When I was a kid, I was into the latest comics off the racks while older dudes were into collecting. Later on, I got tired of the latest comics off the rack and got hipped to collecting. PWO posters, for the most part, are like collectors. 

Regarding the white Angelo stuff, I think if you enjoy a particular genre, such as New Wave, it's silly to ignore Kino or Maanam. And even if you need to understand the lyrics how about Australia, New Zealand, or other English speaking countries? 



#57 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:25 AM

El-P, saw you added more, might as well address this and not leave it dangle:

(do you also not read anything that's not English or American because of the translations issues ? I mean, whenever there's a translation, you can't get the pure poetry of the actual words)

I'll read it, sure, but when it comes to writing about it I leave it to the experts, especially once we are beyond European / Russian / Middle-Eastern / post-colonial Indian literature when the historical, cultural and philosophical points of crossover start being further and further removed.

Thomas Aquinas read Avicenna, but he didn't read Lao Tze. So I feel it's pretty much a different ball game once you get to China, which has its own separate, rich and deep history and philosophies.

Eurasian thinking is broadly all connected, they read Plato and Aristotle in the Middle East and in India, and thinking came back down the Silk Road the other way. The Byzantines and Ottomans were both powerful in different periods of history.

You could read Petrarch and Hafez side by side and they'd speak to each other in interesting ways, they are kinda connected. I wouldn't really know where to start looking in 14th century China.

Just as an aside, I feel like I learned a huge amount about Chinese history from this book. If anything really really needs to be understood from within its own history, philosophy and mantras, it's China.

I always say don't try to run before you can walk, and even just in terms of understanding Western culture I'm barely crawling. So I have real hesitancy about diving in two-footed and making assessments on things from other cultures. I kinda want to understand where I come from first, and it will likely take a lifetime to do so.

#58 El-P

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:33 AM

I don't get where you come from. It's like you think everything has to be some kind of big study and having to make assessments about everything. Doesn't work like that. You don't need to understand everything about everything. You won't be able to.

 

But you can discover you have affinities for some things. I would rather read Turkish novelist Saif Faik and Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa than good old Zola or any other french writer who are "my" historical culture but with whom I don't have affinities with. Sait Faik, yes, there's something that resonnate, despte the translation, despite the fact he's talking about a world I'm not really familiar with. And it's not a matter of "exotism" (which is an awful thing). It's a matter of having affinities with ideas, musics, words. You only pick what works for you.



#59 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:40 AM

There's an anthropologist called Clifford Geertz who used to go and visit remote tribes who hadn't had a lot of contact with the west.

He makes an analogy of what he saw his task as being. Imagine an alien, he said, who saw a cheeky schoolboy winking. What would it take for that alien to understand that it's not just an eye twitch or a muscle spasm but an indication that the boy is about to get up to mischief? He thought that the only real way to understand a culture is if you can get to the point of understanding the wink as a wink.

Although I disagree with many aspects of his theory and practice, on that broad point, I think he's right. If you don't understand the wink as a wink, I'm not sure you have a hope of understanding the other culture. Without it, all you are seeing is your own values read into that culture and reflected back at you. So in a sense you must start as the alien trying to understand the wink. I'll hold to that.

#60 El-P

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:49 AM

Honestly, I have no fucking idea how that's relevant to what I just said. Remote tribes ? Wink ? Really ? Whatever.






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