Just One Thing with Jakob Guanzon
This issue has turned into our unofficial wrestling issue, thanks in part to Jakob Guanzon's fantastic story, "Repent, Macho Man Randy Savage" -- recently selected as Longform Fiction's pick of the week! Here, Jakob shares his Randy shrine and just one thing about the story:
"A lot of my stories fiddle with the ways we try to reconcile contradictions, and I figured a pretty funny platform for this idea would be professional wrestling. It’s a theater of toxic masculinity yet flagrantly homoerotic. It epitomizes Bakhtin’s carnivalesque, yet is ostensibly bereft of self-awareness. It’s kitsch to a garish degree, but I nevertheless harbor a profound respect for all these performers, true artists whose sacrifices for and devotion to their craft dwarf my own to writing. As a kid—before irony tainted my earnest appreciation for this spectacle-sport—Macho Man Randy Savage was my all-time favorite. The news of his death sent me spiraling through online articles about his career, personal life, and theories about his single-handed prevention of 2011’s predicted rapture. (Radio evangelist Harold Camping had sworn Jesus was coming May 21st; Randy died the 20th. Coincidence?) The discrepancy I found between the in-ring Macho Man and offstage Randy was vast, and actually kind of heartbreaking. The last years of his life were isolated, soggy with remorse, and stood—at least to me—in delicious contrast to the character he’d assumed in the ring for decades. And so, fiction being the one medium that offers access to the interiority of another, what better mind to inhabit from a writer’s standpoint than that of a heartbroken, neon spandex-clad gladiator?"