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World of Wrestling Response

A response to The World of Wrestling by Roland Barthes

Barthes “World of Wrestling” talks about the ‘sport of wrestling, except Barthes doesn’t consider wrestling to be a sport. Barthes considers wrestling to be more of a performance. On the first page of “World of Wrestling,” Barthes says “Wrestling is not a sport, it is a spectacle” (p. 13). When looking at wrestling as a spectacle rather than a sport you can better appreciate the choreography of it all. The way wrestlers are like actors performing a play. The wrestlers’ masks, outfits, backstories, and names all add to the performance.  

While reading “World of Wrestling” I thought of the Schnappviecher that Luiza spoke about in her lecture. Schnappviecher (snapping animals) are large head masks attached to burlap-esque body coverings that went from about the person’s shoulder to their shins. Many of the masking traditions that Luiza spoke about during her lecture involved performances the same way that Barthes describes wrestling as a performance. 

When the is Schnappviecher in procession it shows a type of good conquering evil as the people dressed as butchers take down the monsters, it is meant to spring triumphing over winter. The way that the Schnappviecher performance seems to showcase good over evil reminds me of the justice that Barthes says is at the center of wrestling. Barthes says how wrestling is meant to show a “purely moral concept: that of justice” (p. 19). The way that good conquers evil in order to bring forth the new season in the Schnappviecher performance strikes me a show of justice.

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Schnappviecher (snapping animals), Tramin, Italy Photographed by Charles Freger

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