Friday, March 10, 2006

Tatanka is Back!

In my lifetime the popularity of professional wrestling has gone through ebbs and flows. There have been two periods of absolutely peak popularity. The first was in the mid to late 80s when Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Andre the Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and many others were at the height of their popularity. The second was in the late 90s when Stone Cold, Goldberg, Triple H, and others were huge. During the first phase I was probably the only person in my elementary school who didn't pay attention to wrestling, and during the second phase I felt like the only person in my dorm who didn't watch wrestling on Monday nights.

However, I did go through a phase where I paid attention to pro wrestling. From late 1993 to early 1995, while in High School, I watched it weekly and had a friend bring over tapes of pay-per-views that his aunt and uncle had ordered. This was a period in which absolutely no one watched wrestling. It had become a joke. However, I was really into a wrestler with a Native American motif named Tatanka. I actually started a fantasy wrestling league involving the guys who were already in my fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues. I called my team the Bricig Tatankas. Then Tatanka turned "bad" and I pretty much quit watching around my senior year.

Now I got an e-mail from somebody who actually used to be in my fantasy wrestling league telling me that Tatanka is back. I'm flirting with the idea of watching wrestling again, if only when Tatanka is fighting. I would probably be the only person in the English graduate program who would watch wrestling, but my life has always been an odd mixture of high and low brow consumption, so I wouldn't exactly be bothered by the stigma (hey I collect comic books after all). Plus I could make the case that I was interested in wrestling in a semiotic sense, after the work of French philosopher Roland Barthes:

Which would be a lie of course. I just want to see Tatanka beat the crap out of people.


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