Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Primo Page from Breakfast of Champions

Take a wild guess what book I just finished reading. I'd been meaning to get around to it ever since I found a second edition copy for a buck at the Salvation Army near my old school. That was a buck well spent. 

Quick warning - I majored in English at said school, so I could easily bullshit forever on the myriad awesome little things about Breakfast of Champions. But I'll spare you and keep this short and sweet.

Known for its spot-on observations of human nature, loose self-aware style that makes no attempt to hide the wizard behind the curtain, and a whole hell of a lot of cartoonish illustrations, casual racism, and dick size stats, this is an easy recommendation for anyone who likes their literature to kick ass and shatter expectations. Read it! It's got a funny drawing of an asshole in it!

But the point of this post isn't for me to wax philosophic about why drawings of assholes make great literature. (They just do.) The point is that I had this idea to try and sell people on reading a great book by pulling about a page's worth of awesomeness from it and putting it on the ol' blog here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Faces of the Pro Wrestling Heel # 2 - Showing Ass

There are about a million things that can add up to a great pro wrestling villain - being foreign, scaring children, punches to the junk - but there seems to be almost universal agreement that the one thing that makes a great heel is a willingness to "show ass."

"Showing ass." This is one of those expressions you come across somewhat often if you tend to read a bunch of nerds on the internet arguing back and forth about fake fighting, and yet there aren't any sources that I could find that offer a concrete definition of what exactly the concept means. That's probably because - like most of those insidery wrestling terms - the meaning of the phrase was likely only known to wrestlers and those in the business, until the popularity of pro wrestling exploded around thirty years ago, and these terms began being tossed around by fans who want to sound like they know what they're talking about even when they probably don't. 

Granted, I could easily fall into that same category, but my attempts to give the term a concrete definition have more of an academic basis - if we're going to talk about acting like a big enough asshole so that thousands of people will boo you and want to see you get your ass kicked in an academic way, we must define our terms, people. And this is a simple one to define, really - basically "showing ass" means if you're going to be a convincing asshole, you have to be willing to go above and beyond to look like one. 

Take, for example, Ric Flair. Yes, most of the time he acted like the coolest motherfucker on the planet, but even he wasn't above dropping to his knees and begging Sting to stop beating the shit out of him in pretty much every match they ever had (especially if it left a window open for a swift thumb to the eye). 

The reason for this is so that good guy Sting seems way cooler than Flair, even though Flair rocks jewel encrusted bath robes, massive pinky rings, and a beautiful feathered platinum mane. That's the essence of showing ass.

In fact, some of the greatest pro graps villains have at times indulged in a somewhat rare bit of self-aware meta interpretation of this trope, in which the bad guy will literally show his ass during a match. Ric Flair himself loves doing this. What better way to look foolish than to be running around with your bare ass out in front of an arena full of people and millions watching at home?

To better illustrate this phenomenon of literally showing ass, let us study this classic instance from the main event of Wrestlemania XIV, in which Shawn Michaels shows us how it's done.