First thing I'd do with the flixter RPS movie profile is to take Fistful of Sneer's profile and put it after Graham Walker's. That, and put Master Pete's name right where it belongs, front and center.
We're edging here into a subject much beloved and studied by yours truly: the theory and practice of the media simulacrum. For those not willing to do the necessary research (Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation" and of course McLuhan,) I can summarize the media simulacrum thusly: in the Middle Ages, sorcerers would create magical simulacra, dolls or puppets, with which they attempted to influence reality. In modern times, the simulacrum has taken a more realistic, but still sinister aspect; according to media theory, it is the puppet that creates the sorcerer. Whereas in the 19th century, a simulacrum was referred to as "an image without the substance or qualities of the original," the modern simulacrum is "the copy without an original," or as Baudrillard succinctly puts it "endless networks of media and advertising images [which] precede any reality to which they might be said to refer." As wikipedia states, "the concept of Simulacra also involves a negation of the concept of reality as we usually understand it. Baudrillard argues that today there is no such thing as reality."
Heavy stuff, especially when you consider the fact that the modern iteration (some would say simulacrum) of the World RPS Society was founded by a couple of sorcerers masquerading as PR and Advertising Men. They still dabble in the black arts of Social Media, and one of them even uses the name "wizardhat" as an obvious reference to his role as a fabricator of reality.
But how are simulacra used in RPS? Master Pete Lovering was perhaps the last champion outside the wheel of simulacra and simulation, i.e., he was the last champion able to negate the effects of the media, in much the same way that Buddhists seek to remove themselves from the wheel of karma. Master Pete's championship performance was accomplished despite the media's presence, not because of it. In later years, as he became more aware of the existence of the simulacrum, his performance worsened. It could be argued that Master Pete's disdain of the media and stated ability to "tune out" their effects is in itself part of his media simulacrum. I disagree with this perspective, but you have to have eyes to see it. It's an initiated perspective that realizes the true magnitude of what Master Pete accomplished without recourse to the simulacrum. Or as Master Pete himself put it, "I'm Pete Lovering, for crying out loud! I'm not the World Rock Paper Scissors Champ! But I am the World Rock Paper Scissors Champ."
In 2003, I decided to experiment with using the simulacrum as a "battery" of sorts." The various interviews I did for the CBS Early Show and the RPS Doc were used to accumulate energy, not in a metaphorical sense, but in a very real and practical way. Energy stored in this battery could be accessed at later points in the tournament. Although the media interviews definitely affected my overall mood in a positive fashion, the effect was greater than could be explained by mere positive thinking. As I got ready for my final 8 appearance, Master Pete sidled up beside me, warning me "not to let those fuckers get you on camera...avoid the spotlight, my friend." Changing my strategy, I lost in the final 8 to Christine Wong. However, Pete taught me a more valuable lesson; trust yourself and your own strategy above what even the Greatest Player in the Sport might tell you. To Pete, transmitting this lesson was more important than asserting my belief in his infallible simulacrum, and I still thank him for it.
But there is a potentially negative side. As the simulacrum grows in power, it starts exerting effects on the "real" world, with or without the intent of the one who "created" it (I use quotations, because in media theory, no world is "real" and the simulacrum actually creates the original.) One is reminded of tulpas, or thought forms, projected by advanced Tibetan Buddhists during intense meditations. These thoughtforms can become sentient, and actually observable to others. It is no boast to say that I have more RPS related media experience than anyone on the planet; my RPS simulacrum is a strong specimen. However, with this strength has come an alarming degree of independent thought and behavior on behalf of the simulacrum. I have many times been told by people that they saw me in places where I never sat foot. More alarming, individuals I know well respond negatively towards me because of statements uttered by the simulacrum itself. Even worse, sometimes they respond positively towards me because of my simulacrum's words.
I took a break from my RPS-related media activities between the 2008 USARPS broadcast and my recent appearance on Bank of Hollywood. My purpose was not to eliminate my media double but to remind it who was in charge. The analogy is that of breaking in a bronco so that he may become a more useful workhorse. I feel that I was successful in this course, and 2010 promises to be a very exciting year.
As a final word to my students (and former students) I would advise that working with one's media simulacrum is among the most advanced forms of RPS black magic. You can't get involved in this sort of work if your only goal is to see yourself on a screen and become famous (as the great sage custardchuk once noted, "If you want the truck, you can't have it.") Work with one's simulacrum becomes a doubly-rewarding prospect; one can use it to create effects in the phenomenal world, but one also can use it in the process of self-discovery, like a distorted mirror image. Rare is the RPS savant who can walk the line between fame and fortune, between utility and dependency. Use of Simulacra in RPS is a rewarding effort, but one fraught with peril. To those who wish to explore this neglected field of RPS study, I would advise to tread carefully. But do tread.