Saturday, March 24, 2012

A brief comment on Hipsters, Consumerism, and Pro Wrestling

About ten years ago I read an essay which discussed the semiotics of prewar professional wrestling in Paris, France. I have thought back to that essay frequently, but couldn't remember its title or author. But this morning while reading this I stumbled across a mention of "...Le Monde où l'on catche, a serious consideration of tag-team wrestling" by Roland Barthes (in my decade-long search, I mistakenly thought the essay was written by Baudrillard).

I might return to the matter of pro wrestling at a later date, but after following a few Roland Barthes links I stumbled upon this quote:
To hide a passion totally (or even to hide, more simply, its excess) is inconceivable: not because the human subject is too weak, but because passion is in essence made to be seen: the hiding must be seen: I want you to know that I am hiding something from you, that is the active paradox I must resolve: at one and the same time it must be known and not known: I want you to know that I don't want to show my feelings: that is the message I address to the other.
Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Dark Glasses," sect. 2, A Lover's Discourse (1977, trans. 1979)

And BAM, there you have it -- identification of the underlying motivations of hipsterdom, decades before the phenomenon took its current pernicious form in the United States.

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