Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kayfabe

In professional wrestling, kayfabe (pronounced [ˈkeɪfeɪb] KAY-fayb) refers to the portrayal of events within the industry as "real", that is, the portrayal of professional wrestling as being not staged or not worked. Wikipedia.

It depends, of course, on the public being a willing participant... willing to connive in the absurdity of what's being portrayed and to allow themselves knowingly to be manipulated accordingly. It's an equal covenant which, when broken, can't be repaired. Once the fiction is admitted, there's no going back. Everything that's been expected to be believed, even the parts that may or may not have contained a germ of truth, appear as no more than a sordid attempt to profit from gullibility.

I haven't blogged since the last trip to Spain - mainly because of idleness but also because having seen what I'd written previously, I found it hard to believe I could have felt a need to comment on serious affairs. Life is so full of opportunities for pleasure, that it seemed wrong to concentrate on matters which, unless I read about them somewhere, barely impact on me at all. Maybe it's our duty to vicariously share the horrors of Palestinians, the war-ravaged Congolese, Sudanese, Ugandans, famished cholera and Aids-ridden Zimbabweans, the downtrodden and oppressed everywhere, the rape of the planet or even the lesser outrages of society within Britain - but I've all but given up. The direct experience of most of us inside the comfortable English bubble is so wonderful, with every enterprise set up to gratify some whim or other that, truly, we've won the Lottery of Life simply by being here.

But anyway as I was saying... Kayfabe. Our Government tells us it's expecting to borrow £60bn this year and a further £100bn next. Many other countries in Europe will be doing much the same. In the US, as we know, Congress famously approved an extra $700bn of borrowing to fund the bail-outs. Obama says he's going to spend a similar amount on New Deal style projects - in addition to the regular Federal deficit of a $trillion or so. So I dunno... how much new Global borrowing does all this add up to? Couple of $trillion? Five trillion.. more? All this on top of an existing debt mountain of $what? So the ever-so-simple thing is - where's it all supposed to be borrowed from? No such sum of money waits, ready to be invested, anywhere in the world. That's bad kayfabe. People would feel cheated if they could be arsed to look into things like that.

What people really want to buy into is being kayfabed into what to drive, wear, eat or watch on TV; what phones and ring-tones to use, films to watch, bands to be a fan of, names to call their kids. Without kayfabe here, they'd have to make their own choices - so that's good kayfabe. It saves people from having to make up their mind what's cool - kayfabe-cool - because they can follow the human herd-instinct and join with millions of the like-minded by keying in to a few simple signals. Buy this and be that, goes the message - and straight away the world defragments for us and we're part of one modern-day tribe or another; no longer isolated.


In other news,
Sunset Boulevard, at the Comedy, is well worth seeing if you can, if only for the towering bravura performance of Kathryn Evans as Norma Desmond. The onstage ensemble play the whole score, as well as act the piece. Just bewilders me that there's so much unknown talent - these people have spent the years I wasted as a youth, learning instruments to professional standard as well as taking dancing and acting classes. They go through a ruthlessly competitive audition process and then work to a standard of attention to detail and public scrutiny that would defeat most of us in our own jobs. All this for a pittance wage and complete insecurity of employment whilst producing something quite magical through their connection with an audience. I'm humbled by admiration for them.

2 comments:

Selena Dreamy said...

The direct experience of most of us inside the comfortable English bubble is so wonderful, with every enterprise set up to gratify some whim or other that, truly, we've won the Lottery of Life simply by being here.

Supremely rendered...

- and it is superfluous, perhaps, for me to tell you that this represents my thoughts and sentiments from beginning to end, or that I find it is absolutely crucial to explain to the "industrialised" people of this world the genesis of events and the reasons for their perceived entitlement to bad kayfabe - this insulated, cosseted "Second Life", of credit-cards and virtual reality. Like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley we, too, live by trading on an ever-increasing array of virtual assets and wishful imaginings, and by taking speculative positions on our own future via huge financial borrowings on nonexistent collaterals. Barely has it burst, and already the South Sea Bubble is being re-inflated with absolutely no regard for the difficulties posed for future generations.

As always in human affairs, greed has negated the usual moral safeguards. The meaning of insanity is being revalued!

Name: All Shook Up said...

Haha, Second Life, yes, I like that analogy...

Greed, insanity? Who cares if the Barbarians are at the gates? Invite them to the party!