Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"They throw everything at Him"

A friend asked me for some advice on a script she was developing about a professional wrestler. She wasn't interested in the "hows" of professional wrestling, such as "how does one become a wrestler" or "what is the thought process when creating the unusual art that is professional wrestling. Her line of questioning focused more on "who becomes a wrestler" and more importantly "why does a person become a wrestler?"

Clearly that answer is unique to each individual involved and as you can imagine everyone in our industry is a bit of an odd bird. I sometimes joke that the people in wrestling range from the unique to the mentally ill. Though involvement may sometimes be for the wrong reasons almost all of us do it because we simply feel like we have to.

There is a unique experience that comes from professional wrestling that is found in no other art form that I know. There is the ballet-like expression of human emotion through physical movement, there is improvisation interwoven through conspired melodies like jazz. But to combine them into one form with a beautiful, sometimes malevolent, intention of manipulating people into states of cathartic fury is unlike any other I've seen.

Though she had seen the film already I advised her to watch Darren Aranofsky's "The Wrestler." Though it does illustrate a darker side of professional wrestling, the side of drugs and damaged relationships, it also shows the kind of personality that thrives in that business. Due to it's numerous allusions to the Jesus story I sometimes call the film "The Passion of the Ram." Randy "The Ram's" side is pierced in his match against Necro Butcher, he has a messianic pathology that leads him to sacrifice everything for the
enjoyment of his fans, and eschewed by society and scourged in the ring. A direct comparison is even made by the character Cassidy who quotes the Bible by way of the film "The Passion of the Christ":

"He was pierced for our
transgressions, He was crushed for
our iniquities. The punishment that
brought us peace was upon Him, and
by His wounds we were healed."

It is as if the sacrificial lamb has reached full adulthood and has become The Ram. I know that my involvement in wrestling makes me predisposed to enjoying this film but I'd advise you to look up Penn Jillette's "Penn Points" in which he reviews this movie. He is an artist with whom I have great admiration and I think his time as a performer gives him a special understanding of the picture.

I've heard many criticisms of our "sport" and consider myself an ambassador for our business. My character, my "gimmick" if you will, is "The Voice of Reason" because it is a reflection of who I am in real life. I do not believe in supernatural powers and am an advocate for science and skepticism. I do not use drugs or alcohol because, as a human, I am already driven by enough irrational thinking and I feel that as person of some minor influence (particularly to children) that I should demonstrate that toughness is more than just physical.

Should you have questions about wrestling, my films, or anything else feel free to contact me. I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter: @chxck

I wish you all lives filled with love, endurance, and creativity.


Chuck Porterfield
chuckporterfield[AT]gmail.com
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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