Roddy Piper, RIP

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Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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41 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    While Ted Dibiase is the only heel who ever got me sent to my room, Roddy Piper is the wrestler who got me yelled at for watching wrestling the most.

    Rest in Peace, Roddy.

    Thank you for They Live.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    That first video is unexpectedly hilarious. I reads to me like a satire lampooning of idiot racists. I’m not sure I would have felt that way in 1984. And then I have the thought: Perhaps Donald Trump missed his calling, and should have been in the WWF.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Oh, bless you @doctor-jay

      I knew if I was just patient enough, someone would give me the straight line to trot this out.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Doctor Jay: I reads to me like a satire lampooning of idiot racists.

      It’s the WWE, so nothing, of course, is what it seems on the surface. But I’m 9970% sure they did not intend for their audience to read it as a satire of racists.

      Edit: That was a stupid confidence level to pick.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        As Jon says below, Piper played the villain. I think it’s pretty clear that they weren’t intending to present Piper’s comments as admirable or correct.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

          How did fans were respond? Was Piper loved or reviled?Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

            I’m not a wrestling fan, so Jay or someone would be a better person to answer. I get the impression Piper was pretty well-liked by fans – part of that might be the usual thing, where a good villain is better beloved than a bland hero. Part of it is that he seems by all accounts to have been a pretty stand-up guy IRL. And part of it of course is the geek cred from They Live etc.

            Fun factoid: though he had Scots ancestry, he grew up in Canada in a town that was closely associated with an Indian Reservation, and had no idea how he learned to play the bagpipes.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

            People paid record amounts of money in order to boo him as loudly as they could.Report

        • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Glyph says:

          Villain, yes. But that doesn’t automatically mean satire of a villain.Report

      • Even in the 80s, the fans understood that the wrestlers were playing roles, especially the over-the-top ones. That’s the decade when the quite successful story line with Jim Duggan (playing a not-too-bright but big-hearted patriot) and the Iron Sheik (playing an evil cheating anti-US Iranian, even though the man had been an active pro-democracy advocate in Iran who emigrated to the US out of fear for his life) had to be dropped after a drug-related traffic stop. Not because of the drugs (neither got more than probation), but because the court proceedings made it clear and well-publicized that Duggan and the Sheik were good friends who traveled together between house shows, which ruined it for the crowds.Report

    • Avatar Jon Rowe in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Do keep in mind WWE’s context was to have Piper make those comments by playing the role of the bad guy, and the party to whom those comments was addressed was the hero.

      Re the “intentional” v. “unintentional” satire, there is room for much play (like the Simpsons, the old Looney Toons) where there are different “levels” to appreciate. Andy Kaufman had a FIELD day with this.Report

  3. Truly, he was the American Olivier. A shame we’ll never see his Richard III.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      I would not be at all surprised if one day he showed up in a WWE match. Which would be awesome, because he is one of the more entertaining people on the planet right now.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        I see him more as a manager. Cut a promo or two, have the opponent say “say it, don’t spray it”, then we have a match that, ultimately, exposes not only the business but the business of capitalism.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

          I figured he’d be a villain at least, showing up wearing a too-tight t-shirt with an airbrushed photo of Stalin. He’d stand outside the ring and, at some point, as one of the wrestlers in the ring is hanging on the ropes, he’d hop up and beat him over the head with a hardback copy of Ecrits.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

            You see this as a match but when you see it as a dialectic, the underlying dynamics that exist between the so-called “babyface” and the so-called “heel” make themselves apparent. The heel is the only one allowed to tell the truth to the audience. “This city sucks, your sports team sucks, you’re all fat and ugly and useless” and, instead of being thanked, he gets booed. When the “babyface” (chosen for little more than good looks) comes out and tells the fat, ugly, useless audience that he will pretend to hit the “heel” for a few tepid minutes, he gets cheers not because of any inherent virtue on his part but based on nothing more than how a good-looking person says that he will punch the person who told the audience the truth!Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

            Can we get Werner Herzog to do the color commentary?

            “And now he has smashed a chair upon the head of his opponent; even as an unfeeling universe will do to all of us in time.”Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      OK, I finally watched the video and it may be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. On the fight between Nada and Armitage: “The extreme violence of liberation: you must be forced to be free… Freedom hurts.”

      Tod needs to see it, of course, as it is about ideology.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Going with the theme of being given last rites, here’s Paul Heyman.

    It’s for Undertaker, not Roddy… but I’m sure that had Roddy watched this, he’d have said “now *THAT* is a man who is all out of bubblegum.”Report