Posts tagged “star wars”

Kayfabe and narrative frameworks


“Original Deadman” t-shirt, street market, Bangkok, 2006

I just learned the word Kayfabe. It describes the artificial story elements in professional wrestling. Beyond any discussion of the fights themselves (long dismissed as fake), kayfabe refers to the everything else that is fake, such as the feuds and rivalries. The word is probably a Pig Latin-esque version of “fake” (where by avoiding saying “fake” outright, it’s now a codeword to keep the fakery discussion only among those in the know).

Here’s more, from the above Wikipedia article

Many storylines make use of kayfabe romantic relationships between two performers. Very often, both participants have other real-life relationships, and the “relationship” between the two is simply a storyline. However, more than once, kayfabe romantic relationships have resulted either from a real-life relationship, such as between Matt Hardy and Lita, or ultimately developed into a real-life marriage (e.g., Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who married in 2003, more than a year after their kayfabe marriage ended).

Whoah. Layers of meaning and truth and piled onto other layers of implication and lies. My brain feels like I’ve been pummeled with a roll of quarters. Layered conceptual devices are challenging enough, but there’s also interest in breaking kayfabe

To have certain non-fictional elements weaved into a storyline. They might be staged to look real, meaning that a real truth is being spoken, but are part of the script to make the rivalry look authentic or personal, and to make the feud much more interesting.

That’s some efficient use of a narrative framework. When you go outside the framework, you still have story (and meaning).

If you find this difficult to parse, join the team. At least having some labels (kayfabe, breaking kayfabe) make it easier to discuss.

Related: Canon, the defined world (characters, events, history, etc.) of a story. Especially notable in science fiction, with complicated story lines, detail-oriented fans, and franchises with sequels and prequels galore. Previously about Star Trek’s sprawling fan-driven post-TOS canon, and the person hired by Lucasfilm to maintain continuity as the Star Wars canon guru.

Related: Retcon is the portmanteau word for retroactive continuity, where a new story element is introduced that changes our understanding of previous facts. I would include It Was All A Dream (e.g., Dallas) as the laziest version. It can also be ironic as well as convenient, such as having Klingons in Star Trek explain their differing physical appearance over the various series (obviously the result of new production designers as well as budget and makeup technology) as part of the race’s own history. Many more examples are here.

Fossil’s designy SKU onslaught

Probably everyone knew this but me, but Fossil Watches offers an impressive (at least in terms of number, if not actual appeal) array of themed watches. Themes (or shall we call them brands) include Ohio State, Universities of Illinois, Alabama, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, as well as Starck, Gehry, Atari, and some other geeky options. Fossil is riding the same trends as everyone else – co-branding with entertainment properties, designers as brands, target = “_blank”Substance-of-Style-esque massive choice.

Chewie is stumped

This cracks me up in a sad way. First, a really cheesy Photoshop job with the fake arm and the tilted head. Second, it’s totally out of character, turning Chewbacca into Scooby-Doo! Of course there is humor in the Star Wars characters, but this misses the point. It’s off-message, but selling freakin’ breakfast cereal is clearly enough to give them license (literally) to do whatever they want.

Of course, they already had the Darth Tater Mr. Potato Head and the M&M so maybe this is no worse. Just sad to look at during breakfast every day.

Rise Lord Vader?

Rise Lord Vader has become a catchphrase for the last Star Wars film, appearing in ads, and reportedly even in the trailer. But the scene where he is commanded to RISE doesn’t use that line. Kind of a drag, since the PR machine has got us waiting for it.

Vague spoiler in terse review. It was alternately cool and cheesy. When Anakin becomes Darth Vader, with the black helmet sliding into place, and you hear the mechanized breathing, it was pretty spine-touching cool. But moments later the actor in the suit stands up (and yes, he’s just had surgery etc. so will be wobbly but still) and moves in no way that resembles the Vader we know. It just looked…wrong. Moments later he is told something that causes him to scream “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!” (and I’d swear the camera pulled far back and up at that time) – something that the Simpsons have rendered into an absolutely ludicrous cliche and only a moron would try to get away with that in a movie we’re supposed to take seriously.

LEGO Star Wars

Doesn’t the core of Lego’s brand reside in the physical meatspace interaction with the bricks themselves? The tactile, the auditory snik? But this Star Wars Videogame recasts Lego as an aesthetic (granted, something the underground has done for many years), a style of animation, and a proxy for kid-friendly. Sure, it’ll sell a jillion units (as will anything Anakin-tastic these days) but is this good for Lego in the long, long run?

Star Wars Candy

Gah. George Lucas has led the way in movie merchandising, but why does this specifically turn my stomach so? Enough to make me consider skipping the film (I blew off Shrek 2 when the image became inescapable leading up to the movie opening) – there’s so many of us out there that have seen our childhood legacy destroyed with crappy film making (Ep I and II, specifically) – this seems to cross a line for me. Great job on the candy side, but really. Just annoyingly silly. See a well done trailer here.


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