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May 2009 Archives

May 20, 2009

Slap Happy (Pride, Prejudice, and Professional Wrestling)

I swear director Darren Aronofsky must have read this book before he made his brilliant film The Wrestler . Writer Thomas Hackett delivers an entertaining and sometime heartbreaking look into the world of professional wrestling leaving no stone unturned. What makes fans of professional wrestling tick? The wrestlers themselves? And if everyone is aware that moves are choreographed and outcomes predetermined, why does wrestling's popularity linger in today's culture? Hackett delves into such matters reminding us that spectacle as it relates to modern day wrestling is nothing new. What is new is the extreme lengths wrestlers and fans go to in their quests to fulfill fantasies that often have very little to do with wrestling. Hackett interviews the rabid fans as well as wrestlers with names like Asshole Andy Armageddon, The Hardcore Homo, and the Sandman. He also interviewed the biggest of the big - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson after he left wrestling for Hollywood. The character of Randy "The Ram" Robinson permeates the book. But these are real people with real fears and anxieties that revolve around a sport that's fake. That's the sad part of the book. The young men whose hopes and dreams of becoming professional wrestlers will never be realized and the men like "The Ram" who have stayed too long.

Me Cheeta

Let me see - an autobiography by a famous chimpanzee. I'm open to that. This one deals with Cheeta of Tarzan movie fame. Cheeta is now 76 and living comfortably in Palm Springs. The autobiography chronicles Cheeta's entry into the U.S., career in Hollywood, and his retirement. Of course Cheeta didn't write any of this at all. So who is it ghostwritten by and what's the motivation? The book dishes out a lot of gossip and salacious stories, but is it true? And who cares? Cheeta did the bulk of his work in the 30's and 40's. A golden age of Hollywood for sure. But the audience for this book is probably already dead. The writer infuses Cheeta with a cool way of talking that is more appropriate for someone of Generation X. And Generation X probably doesn't care about the escapades of Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, and problems on the set of the ill fated Doctor Dolittle. I don't. A book that would have been sensational in the 40's and 50's is merely a tired gimmick in 2009. What's next? The long lost diaries of Mr. Ed?

About May 2009

This page contains all entries posted to DR. BYNUM'S SHOW in May 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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