my life outside the ring-hulk hogan (with mark dagostino)

tomorrow at 5pm will mark one week of the library strike. i will ask it again-what world are we living in? a lot has happened in the past few weeks in my creative life, and one of the best moments is when i was getting misty on the subway, because this was the book i was reading. amazing. as i get set to get on a train to montreal, i’m feeling pretty clear, and hope that a few days of live music and friendly faces will bring me back refreshed and ready to move with the changing waves.

saul williams talked about his experience working with trent reznor in the red chair, and how he learned to structure his songs in a corporate sense, a result that he noticed after a year and a half of working with him. i got to see the effect of watching someone interview for about that long, and seeing how i do things differently. i see the value of bringing out the calm in someone versus the frenetic energy (though that could also be the platform), and the difference in subject position-first hand inspiration in one’s chosen medium and a decade of following someone’s work vs. hot-button topic driven by the innernets or a team of writers that hasn’t listened to the latest album, either. poets dig it when you quote back their work and show that you’ve put it into the context of life. just sayin’.

the most striking thing about this book is that hulk seems to be saying that he was inspired to be a wrestler when he found out it was fake-it wasn’t some big letdown. that’s going to blow my mind for a minute, and i wonder what all the kids that guzzled raw eggs on his urging think.

“Once I knew that these guys weren’t trying to kill each other for real, that no matter how crazy it looked in that ring it wasn’t a real confrontation, I knew in my gut that I could get up there and do it as well as any of those guys I’d idolized, if not better.” (47)

“Wrestling isn’t fake. It’s predetermined. So what?
We live in an era now where that grand revelation doesn’t make any difference to the fans. Is there anyone who goes to a movie today who doesn’t realize there were lots of digital special effects that went into making it? Look at so-called reality TV: It’s still exploding in popularity even though most of the audiences are tuned in to the fact that a lot of what they’re seeing isn’t really ‘real’. People love the drama and the characters, so they suspend their disbelief and enjoy it.” (133)

“They would write out and memorize what they were going to say. They even had professional writers! It just never made sense to me, and it usually came off as stale and rehearsed-which is exactly what it is.
The fact is, if you’ve written this whole story line and then you get out there and the crowd isn’t buying it, what are you gonna do? You have to be ready and willing to go with the flow and change the direction of the match on the fly. It’s like improvisational comedy or playing jazz. It needs to be fluid and free or it just falls flat.” (165-6)

gradients of fakery.

“I’m an extremely fast reader. I can speed-read a whole script in fifteen minutes. That’s how I do a lot of my reading-knowing that I can always go back and read something slowly, line by line, if I want to study it a little closer.” (246)

“Within a couple of weeks we decided on two press outlets known for their fairness and journalistic integrity: People magazine and Larry King. That was it. I wouldn’t go on a media tour.” (285)

ken lee.


2 thoughts on “my life outside the ring-hulk hogan (with mark dagostino)

  1. havin’ relations:

    “I lost my virginity so late, I’m not even gonna reveal it in this book. It’s just too embarrassing.” (22)

    “Growing up, I always believed there was something more to us than just the flesh-something more than just this meat suit that we’re running around in, you know?” (29-30)

    take that, Gaga.

    “Part of the reason was that music had shown me so clearly that there were other options in life.” (39)

    “Playing music clearly meant that you could avoid working a real job and still live fine. But it also meant you could avoid the real world in general by staying out late and going to bed when everybody gets up to go to work. I loved the escape. That’s part of the reason wrestling would eventually appeal to me-I just wanted to do anyone to avoid that boring, routine 9-5, you know?” (40)

    “To be a wrestler meant that everything you had-your future, your health, your sanity, all of it-was stuffed into this little bag you carried with your boots and your tights. You’d put on this costume to go perform like a dancing monkey. Then you’d take your costume off, get paid, and move on to the next town’s circus.” (79)

    “Almost all the wrestlers loved it, and it was just part of the culture back then. It seems like every big star had a run with cocaine at one point or another. The /Saturday Night Live/ gang was running wild. You’d walk into Studio 54 and shit was everywhere, you know? Right out in the open!” (112)

    “When Linda decided to stop taking birth control, I decided to stop taking steroids. I didn’t know for sure if that would have any effect on a child or a pregnancy, but I didn’t want to take that risk. With the whole thought of bringing a child into the world, I just wanted my body to be clean, you know? It just made common sense to me. Linda wanted the same thing. I quit smoking pot for a while. I had already quit the cocaine a couple of years earlier. Linda even quit drinking to start a family. We just wanted our bodies to be the best they could be, to give every chance to our child to be as healthy as he or she could be.” (125)

    “He was a real skinny kid, and he never wanted to eat anything. So when he’d eat dinner I’d put his green peas in rows and make smiley faces with them. I would just play games for hours trying to get that kid to eat.” (130)

    my dad used to have to hide under the table pretending to be at the zoo and feed me one bite/animal at a time.

    “Clearwater’s the big center for the Church of Scientology. I’ve never been pulled in that direction at all. They’ve tried. Representatives of that church have been after me for years, but I just never went down that road. There were no other reasons behind our selection of that neighborhood than the fact that it was absolutely beautiful.” (149)

    “I really messed that one up. I had gone out and bought a copy of the /Playboy/ magazine she posed in. Before I even had a chance to look at it, Linda saw that and said, ‘That’s it! There’s no way you’re goin’ to make that movie!’ And she threw the /Playboy/ in the trash.
    Of course, I really blew it when I took it out of the trash when Linda wasn’t looking. I his it in my closet like a teenager-and when I finally pulled it out for a look, Linda just happened to walk in. We fought about that forever.” (159-60)

    (sigh). shoulda just gone with palm-ala handerson.

    “In many ways, Tampa’s just a small town with big buildings. It’s got that small-town mentality, where everybody seems to know everyone’s business, and because I grew up here and made it big, Linda and I were kind of like local royalty. The problem is, when something goes wrong in the royal family, the wolves outside the castle start salivating.” (204)

    “The funny thing is, I’d met her dad a bunch of times. He was the guest referee at the very first WrestleMania-holding my arm up when I won the championship belt. Right there in the ring with me in the heart of Hulkamania. Whenever we saw each other, the greatest boxer on earth used to hug me and whisper in my ear, ‘You’re the greatest of all time, Hogan.’ I got such a kick out of that-that this guy I idolized, who was truly the greatest, would say that to me. And here his daughter is calling me up out of the blue to see how I’m doing. She cares how I’m doing. She wants to know if I’m okay.
    You know what? I wasn’t okay. Not until that moment. For some reason, that phone call snapped me out of it. I can’t explain why. Who knows why things happen the way they do? Was there a /reason/ it happened? I can’t help but think, /Yes/. I’ve never told her this, and she might not even understand the depth of the impact she had on me, but Laila Ali saved my life. With a simple phone call. By simply thinking of me, and caring enough to call me and ask me how I was doing. At that moment, that call saved my life.” (234-5)

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