Whether it's a major electoral year or a small-town bid for ombudsman or judge probate, there are some who get as interested in political contests, policy debates, and the economy as others might be in Marvel films or the latest Call of Duty release.
What feeds this fascination? Does it stem from a deep-seated investment in the topics being contested, a desire to see one's personal beliefs and platforms upheld by representatives that best exemplify and advance those agendas? Or is this a fanatic enjoyment of the machinations of politics, the holistic nature of government and its impact on the lives of the citizens within it, across all social strata? Could this be the most complex form of geekdom we've yet to explore?
In this episode, we look at the intense fascination some have with the inner workings of politics, from polls to policy, rhetoric to legislation.
Since the gladiatorial days of the Roman Empire, there has been a public fascination with displays of physical prowess, brute strength and virility. Onward through history, Greco-Roman wrestling continued to be an honored sport, later evolving into an entertainment form drawing crowds at 19th century European vaudeville and sideshows, and by the mid 20th century, the popularity of televised boxing saw rise to a new stylization of the ancient arena display: professional wrestling.
What do we really know of this entertainment form, what it seeks to provide the viewing audience, and what many of those devoted audience members expect from it?
Exaggerated features and reactions. Storylines that range from the mortal-mundane to the spiritual-fantastical, often intertwined. Painstakingly drawn, inked and animated, and consumed by hundreds of millions of consumers internationally.
So why is it, then, that so many western observers consider this animation style (based on the manga art form which dates back far longer than most realize) to be nothing more than "Japanese cartoons for teenagers"? What may be keeping this outside observer's generalization from seeing the artistry, depth and value of so many anime productions?