Who Are We"
June 14, 2006 by Rohit Ramnath
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After a long departure from this site, stopping by each week to read the amazing columns that are seen here each week, then having some strong opinions ,at least on the WWE ones, (only shows I can watch... well ECW now) and then not getting the time to write them because of classes etc... It's been a very depressing year not being able to share my opinions about wrestling but I shall now try to write some more for this site, because I'm back!!!
So when you make a return, you come back with a bang right" I mean Kane destroyed all the members of the Un-Americans when he came back, when Flair returned to the WWE he owned half of the stock, and whenever Austin "returns," there is usually a beer bash and about half-a-dozen people knocked out with Stone Cold Stunners. Hence, it would follow that I should also come back with something shocking or memorable at least.
But all I have is the word, and my opinion. All I'm looking to answer the seemingly stupid question that forms the title of this essay, who are we" The internet community is made up of different people with varied knowledge levels of the industry, varied outlooks, varied backgrounds and varied opinions. However, there must be some method to subdivide this community into groups that can be given some commonality, so that one can address a group and know who they are talking to.
This system currently exists, but I find flaws with it. The system I am referring to is the one where there are marks, smarks and insiders:
Mark: A term that was originally used to describe someone who believes in the legitimacy of the wrestling business. It is now more frequently used as a derogatory comment or insult to describe a gullible fan. It can also be used to say you are a fan of or appreciative of something in the wrestling business. (Online World of Wrestling Website Dictionary)
Smark: A term used to describe a wrestling fan that has a lot of knowledge of the inner workings of the wrestling business. Or in some cases they just think they do. (Online World of Wrestling Website Dictionary)
Insider: Someone who has inside knowledge of the wrestling business. If you didn't know, many wrestlers use the internet, as do other people affiliated with the wrestling industry. An insider is a term that I am using to refer to all of those people who legitimately know about the inner workings of the industry.
This is the system currently is place, but I notice some flaws with this current system, because one can get into a lot of situations where this system can place an individual in an unknown category. For example: Suppose there are two people who are both fans of The Undertaker. Person A knows about Paul Bearer, The Ministry of Darkness, and How Undertaker tried to marry Stephanie, How he burned his brother who got revenge from him at Badd Blood, etc... Person B on the other hand knows about the style Undertaker uses, his hometown and trainer names, the technical names for his finishing moves, his real name and why he is not only a brawler but also a technical wrestler. Neither person knows what the other knows. Neither man is an insider.
Now, using the above system, Person A would be a mark but Person B would be a smark. Isn't this faulty, because both have them have the same amount of knowledge about the undertaker even though it is in different spheres" Isn't knowledge of the character as important as knowledge of the technical information" How then can the two men be placed in different categories" They should either both be marks or smarks, but they are not.
Consider a fictional match between Kurt Angle and Ultimate Warrior:
Person C says, "I want Kurt Angle to win. He is a superb technical wrestler who has won an Olympic gold medal and superb mat skills. He deserves to win this match. He cannot job to the ultimate warrior who never sells for anyone, never jobs and doesn't even know a snapmare from a snap suplex." Person D, alternatively says, "Ultimate Warrior is someone who will never cheat to win a match. He rose to Superstar status because of the warrior in him and his desire and guts. Kurt Angle sucks because the fans yell it every time he enters. He disrespects the fans and drinks milk like a mama's boy. Thus, the Ultimate Warrior should win."
Now, given the current system of nomenclature, one would call Person C a smark and consider his opinions to be of higher importance but Person D would be a mark who is not to be considered because all his opinions are at character level. Wrestling evolves around characters and gimmicks but the so called "marks" who believe these gimmicks have their opinions completely ignored. To top this, we have people openly analyzing the characters and gimmicks who have anti-mark comments in their columns. If one is analyzing a gimmick, shouldn't one also take the opinions of people who believe the gimmick into consideration" Shouldn't the opinions of Marks be important too"
Hence, I plead to the spirit of equality that is found in constitutions across the world, and is the guiding light in law-making, policy enforcement, etc... and ask that the internet wrestling community employs this value in their characterization of the fans across the internet. I plead to the people who make this community to show equality to fans who know a lot about the characters and to those who know a lot about the sport. I plead to you to treat everyone who expresses their opinions online with equal respect. And it is this spirit of equality that I would put into the new proposed system to name the different kinds of people that lend their thoughts and opinions into this community.
To help you understand how I arrived at my system, I will now explain the logic I used and my assumptions following which will be the new proposed system.
The premise that I am starting out with is that wrestling is a TV show. Sure it is a sport, and some people even call it an art which it also is, but the people in the internet wrestling community largely talk about RAW, Smackdown!, TNA Impact!, ECW, etc... which are TV shows and show wrestling can easily be regarded as a TV show.
The question then becomes, what categories can people who watch the TV shows be grouped into" To do this, I looked at what people look for in a TV show, for which I researched internet review boards, columns about other TV shows, etc... and came up with the system to place people into three categories:
1. Snorkelers: This refers to people who watch the TV shows purely for the entertainment value. For example, if you watch the TV show House M.D. to see how the sarcastic doctor disposes of a baffling case or the hilarious clinic cases. These people don't bother to do some research on the characters, actors, storylines, allusions, etc... The name comes from an analogy to snorkeling, where the snorkeler never dives deep into the water.
2. Analysts: This refers to people who would probably know a lot of trivia about the TV shows they enjoy. These kind of people know when the Fonz jumped the shark, which Colbert Report had Reza Aslan on it, what was the name of the number 47 jersey when the Steelers won the Superbowl this year, and other analytical information like that. These people would generally be found reading trivia columns online and answering internet quizzes.
3. Divers: Another aquatic allegory which describes those who believe there is a deeper meaning to the shows they are watching and work to uncover that meaning. These are people who believe South Park is a social commentary, and Friends describes the relationships between the six main characters.
So the question then arises as to whose opinion matters the most in an argument. This question has a very simple answer, they all do. The reasoning behind this is that all three of these groups see the same program from three completely different viewpoints. The three groups are vastly different from one another, and the opinions, values and position of all three groups must be respected.
The invention of these groups, though, will also add some restrictions on the columns. The spirit of equality and mutual respect dictates that everyone's opinion is respected, whether it is right, wrong or immaterial will be considered later, but I am sick and tired of people's opinions being shot down by some aggressive strong-opinioned people.
So I urge you, the people, to treat everyone with equality and respect, and get rid of this old system which seems only to serve as a medium to insult viewpoints and "show-off" some knowledge that you may have.
by Rohit Ramnath..
Jose Aguirre wrote: I really don't understand your article, it dosen't put much focus on wrestling.
Trevor M. wrote:
Superb commentary on the state of things not only in the wrestling fan community but that of the general populice of entertainment. You put into words what I've been trying to for several years now. One thing that is also good to mention, building on your observation of the Three View points, (snorkel, Analyst, Diver) is that it shows how professional wrestling, sports entertainment or whatever nomenclature you give it can appeal to such a wide berth of people. Those who look at it as a spectacle, which it is, a root from the Carnival origins of show fighting. People of fighting disciplines can analyze it from that perspective, and those who seek literary analysis can do that as well. Bravo on your insightful essay, and keep up the good work.
John Hill wrote:
great article. i wish i had the time to write out and analyze everything in here but i'm in a crunch here.
one of the best written articles i've seen here in a while.
King of NY wrote:
To the person above me, You cant understand it because you're what the Author calls a Mark. If it isn't about John Cena You cant understand it. Great Article about the Internet wrestling community. I think the reason Smarks dont take Marks opinion seriously is because they dont really know what they're talking about but they think they do. For Example when I was at a Raw Event I was sitting next to some obvious Goldberg Fans. When I was talking to my friend about how WWE shouldn't let Goldberg squash Jericho so quickly like that as Jericho is the better wrestler. The Goldberg Fan overheard me saying that so he said "Goldberg Rules if Jericho is so good then why did he get beat so fast". my point exactly.
Sev M. wrote:
I thought this was a neat and concise article and perhaps helpful for some who might be slightly unfamilar with part of the community, but i think the thing is Mark and Smark still don't exactly mean the same thing in each case. Some smarks are different than others, (such as perhaps some admire Triple H's working skills more than others, and so are bigger fans) so its still rather vauge defination. I think the system works farily well for the broad definitions that it had at the moment.
Will Gonzalez wrote:
This article is a load of crap. There's nothing wrong with terminonlogy used, you're just trying to stir up things to try to make a point that doesn't need to be made. Waste of space completely.
Maxwell Zaitz wrote:
this article was a waste a time. It has nothing to do with wrestling. you are definitely one of those weirdos who watches crappy shows like The O.C. and Smallville. All you did was look in the oww dictionary and cut and paste. You are a complete dumbass Rohit. As chris jericho would say, "Would you please shut the hell up you trash bag ho!"
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