January 21st, 2006

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04:01 pm - on schadenfreude and sex...

Beating up on the bad guy
The Gambinos and the Fans vs. po'wittle me
so last night, at the years first IWC show, Troy Lords, after getting sick of listening to me and Shiima whine about being mistreated decided that maybe it'd be a good idea to jump up and kick me in the back of the head (its called an enziguri kick, for the non-wrestling fans out there). I hit the mat like a brick. While I was laying there clutching my head I couldn't help but hear the crowd cheering for my pain. Assholes...

So I was thinking about it a bit this morning, and it brought back memories of when fromlust2dust and I faced mickgambino and marshallgambino back in Uniontown. Marshall threw me into the crowd and the crowd held me down while he and Mickey chopped the shit out of me. I've never heard a bunch of drunken rednecks so happy in my entire life.

So why do people take such delight in my pain?

I came across an article that theorizes why. That perhaps there is a genetic rationale to why men delight in seeing the punishment of a heel such as myself. That it actually stimulates pleasure sensors in their brain. I thought back to after the Uniontown incident, where beststephi told me that she thought it was really mean of the crowd to hold me down like that. At the time I kind of considered her opinion to be obviously biased, but now I wonder. Looking at the tape, all the people holding me down and screaming are male. Of course, most wrestling fans are male. But maybe that's the reason. Maybe men NEED to see other men suffer. It would also explain why men like to see movies about 'splosions and zombies and giant monkeys killing people whereas women flock to movies about poor people dying of consumption(essentially) and gay cowboys eating pudding.

I wonder if this has to do with the simple fact that men are more visually stimulated than women. Research also shows that men have a higher interest in porn for that reason (though I guess my
research shows the opposite, even in followups, but I admit that my sampling is skewed). Maybe boys just experience greater emotional shifts through visuals than girls do. But if that were the case, why do girls like watching the movies about people in love dying slow tortured deaths. Oh yeah, that's right. Because chicks are evil.

So, informal survey time. To both men and women, wrestling fans and non-fans alike... do you take delight in other people's pain? What about if you perceive the suffering person to be a "bad guy?" And what do you think of what they said in the article? Do you think that its actually a genetic trait? Or is it just the way that our society shapes us along gender roles, the same way that we're more accepting (almost encouraging) of bisexuality in women these days (and let me just say a healthy THANKYOU! to society)? And do you have similar reactions when watching events of other stimuli? You know, does watching sex make you horny, or watching sexy people make you want to lose weight, or watching sports make you want to go out and play, or what not? And if so, would anyone want to watch some film of people giving me money and blow jobs?

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]From: eriktheplaid Date: January 21st, 2006 - 09:59 pm (Link)
I have often wondered why there's no English equivalent of the German "Schadenfreude." It is definitely something I've experienced. In general, the target is someone that at least qualifies as a "heel" (though sometimes on the flimsiest of pretenses).

I don't know that I can say that it's a genetic trait, but I can't point to where the societal pressure comes from, either. Hmm. "Society" forces us into a submissive role, leading to frustration, Schadenfreude often taps into that very frustration. I still can't make the leap (to either nature or nurture)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 08:26 am (Link)
by you can't make the leap, you mean that you don't like seeing people get beat up no matter who they are?
[User Picture]From: eriktheplaid Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 09:15 am (Link)
No, I mean I can't make the leap to concluding that it's either nature or nurture.

I'll admit Schadenfreude is hardly uncommon for me, but the idea of watching someone get beaten up is an extreme. Pratfalls are one thing, even painful/damaging ones. But after a certain (rapidly reached) point, it's just kicking someone when they're down, and that's not cool.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 10:26 am (Link)
ok granted... but to be fair, can you think of a better time to kick them? I mean, they're that much closer to your foot
[User Picture]From: ouchfest Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 12:38 pm (Link)
The research explicitly said that men have pleasure center activity when someone is hurt WHO IS AN UNFAIR PERSON, not just anyone. Did you sneak attack somebody before getting jumped, or benefit from a bad ref call?

Maybe it doesn't even apply here, and they just like seeing action. Maybe they're just Gambino fans.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 05:13 pm (Link)
actually, i think its just that I'm a negro! Damn racists...

Ok, not really. I didn't realize it wasn't clear but I guess its not. I'm a heel (bad guy). I pretty much cheat constantly. And not just that match. Pretty much my entire career.
[User Picture]From: inmostlight Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 05:53 pm (Link)
Ya know, while male-oriented revenge flicks are more common, I realized that they do make schaudenfraude movies for women. Think of all those Ashley Judd films, or Lifetime staples such as The Burning Bed where the woman takes revenge on the abusive spouse or sexually harassing boss or molesting stepfather. I mean, I like watching movies where a Mel Gibson-type gets revenge on the people who killed his woman and kicked his dog and left him for dead, but you couldn't pay me to watch any of those "chick flicks".

(I'm not counting male-targeted revenge movies that happen to feature women. Kill Bill, for example, doesn't fall into the same genre I was describing above.)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 22nd, 2006 - 06:26 pm (Link)
see... that's interesting... The Ashley Judd movies, you have a point, but I think that they (at least the ones I've seen) are essentially much more guy-centric. At best, they're trying to hit both markets I guess. But the Lifetime movies, I think you have a point. Except that from what I've seen of them, the movies really go out of their way to drive home the woman suffering point for like the first hour and 50 min. and then the revenge only really happens in the last 10 min. As opposed to a good Mel Gibson flick, where someone kills his wife in the first 10 min. and he spends the next 4 movies taking revenge fo it.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: January 23rd, 2006 - 03:52 am (Link)
I've watched a LOT of Lifetime movies (currently in recovery). Though there are exceptions, I would say they overwhelmingly tend to deal with self-preservation rather than revenge. For example, the abused-woman genre (ala Burning Bed) tends to involve a woman falling in love with a man, who slowly starts his abusive behavior, eventually she decides to get away from him, and as a last resort, kills him. The women also tend to have kids they are protecting from the bad guy. (It's pretty annoying, actually, that writers seem to think that women aren't valuable enough by themselves to justify what they've done.) The woman feels sad, or at worst, relieved after killing him, but never happy or satisfied.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 23rd, 2006 - 04:33 am (Link)
yeah, that's pretty much what I was getting at. I think its more about the peril of the woman than the revenge.

But the question is, how does it make you feel as a viewer. Do you feel sorry for the woman, even though she has saved herself in the end, or do you feel happy that the abusive man is dead even though he's spent the 90% of the movie terrorizing the heroine?
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: January 23rd, 2006 - 03:32 pm (Link)
But the question is, how does it make you feel as a viewer. Do you feel sorry for the woman, even though she has saved herself in the end, or do you feel happy that the abusive man is dead even though he's spent the 90% of the movie terrorizing the heroine?

Well, I wouldn't call it happiness--more like relief. I guess it's like watching a horror movie, when they finally "kill" Freddie/Michael. Which makes me want to read the study to see if there was an interaction with gender of cheater.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: January 23rd, 2006 - 05:11 pm (Link)
hmmm... so do you experience actual anxiety before the bad guy is killed? I mean, not just worrying for a fictional character type anxiety... does it actually effect your personal mood?

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