Mexican Wrestler Mono Myth (Chapter 5 Extra)

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MEXICAN WRESTLER VERSION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL barth anderson edits

In writing about Joseph Campbell’s Mono-Myth, I wanted to provide an alternative to the usual model, and introduce different cultural elements. I turned to Mexican wrestling because it has its own established symbolism and storytelling modes. But in doing so, I also wanted to show how a writer can be less or more able to convey accurate details or to “cook” something they’re only a little familiar with. In Wonderbook, you’ll find a truncated version of the attached description of this cycle. The attachment includes the comments of Barth Anderson, who is a big fan of Mexican wrestling and knows that subculture very well. You can see immediately that my “cooking” of Mexican wrestling re the Mono-Myth reflects a partial ignorance of Mexican wrestling tropes, and that Barth would write a much better story than I would using these elements–because of his familiarity. And I specifically didn’t do much more than basic research into Mexican wrestling to make this point: research alone isn’t always enough, depending on the topic. (And Barth’s familiarity is also a form of enthusiasm that makes the topic personal to him.)

A writer even closer to the sport and even more familiar with it might do an even better job of assimilating elements of the Mon0-Myth into this new scenario. Would the result be recognizable to fans of the Campbell version? Does it matter?  (And, for all I know, there is an existing text, perhaps even in Spanish, that creates such a hybrid.)

(See the extended discussion in Wonderbook, including Vandana Singh’s comments about other epic models, like the Ramayana.) – Jeff VanderMeer