Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brush with greatness...

Well, not exactly. But one recent dinner companion has had a moment in the spotlight.

We've finally come out of our shell and been more social in recent weeks. Something that's been tough to do out here given our schedules. But we've had some wonderful dinners in recent weeks, including a nice visit with Tim and Sarah, parents of one of Liam's classmates.

Another weekend, Jen brought over a guy from her MIT class and his wife. Sam, it turns out, specializes in studying...professional wrestling. He's a very interesting guy, actually, and we had a great time with both of them. Then, just a couple weeks later, Sam was featured in this story in The Boston Globe. Here's a taste:

Such discussions are a normal part of the newest full-credit course offering in MIT's Comparative Media Studies program: "American Pro Wrestling." The class explores the history of an American institution that brings athleticism, theatrical performance, and choreographed stunt work together in a square, roped-off ring. During the semester, students watch dozens upon dozens of wrestling matches, from 1980s clashes between Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage to modern-day battles on "Monday Night Raw." Students examine how technology has transformed wrestling into a multimedia business, and how the styles and storytelling methods have changed over the years. The required reading on the syllabus includes colorful titles such as "Steel Chair to the Head" and "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks."

This quirky addition to the MIT course catalog was the brainchild of grad student Sam Ford, who designed and teaches the curriculum. The class has created buzz on the campus and beyond. One blogger called it "The Undisputed End of Higher Education." Ford said a radio station in California called the class "a sign of the apocalypse."

Why study wrestling? Ford hopes students "use the class to learn more about how to critically analyze, discuss, and write about the popular culture they consume." And he's not the only one who sees the academic value of it.

Read the full story here.

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