Wrestling with art

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I greatly enjoyed the interview with John Molyneux ahead of the publication of his new book The Dialectics of Art (November SR). However, I was taken aback by his contention that ‘on average, high culture is higher in quality than most popular culture’, using examples such as professional wrestling to make his point.

I have been a professional wrestling fan for over thirty years, and I am a socialist. I was one before I was the other, but see no contradiction between the two.

Put simply, wrestling is my preferred form of narrative storytelling. The ring is an empty slate in which protagonists physically play out their parts, and the crowd eagerly participates in the drama.

Wrestling answers to its audience in a more immediate way than either cinema or literature. The accepted field of conflict, face (good) vs heel (bad) can be infinitely adapted and reformed, and has been broadened in the new century.

My fandom is active, not passive. Professional wrestling is not “degraded trash” but is both, as a sport and an artform, in and of itself.