Kayfabe

Listened to this episode of The World in Words podcast this morning and learned a bit about kayfabe. I think the podcast is about linguistics.

“Kayfabe” describes the suspension of disbelief in professional wrestling. If a wrestler is staying in character while giving an interview outside the ring, he is maintaining kayfabe. In the old days, he would be blacklisted and probably beat up if he broke kayfabe. Somewhere along the line, the head of one of the wrestling (federations?) realized they weren’t fooling anyone anymore. Or at least the classic appeal of the sport was wearing off; I guess partly because of the internet or something. So Vince McMahon coined the term “sports entertainment” to describe the brand, and WWE unofficially officially recognized wrestling as a façade. That guy is a billionaire now.

(Insert grand unified theory about identity, imposter syndrome, authenticity, and masks all the way down. Tie it together nicely by talking about Trump, politics, and what it means to be alive in these times)

Pro wrestling freaks me out a little. Anything where large crowds of people collectively shift into altered states/ realities is eerily fascinating (church, movie theaters, etc.). But it’s also hilarious and I’d love to go to a match if anyone wants.

 

JB

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