I follow The Rock on Instagram. So do you. I don’t need to look at your Following list. Don’t show me your Following list. You follow The Rock on Instagram. Legally it is now an offence to “have an Instagram account and not be following The Rock on Instagram”. The Rock wields an influence it would be fair to call colossal. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has 98.4 million followers on Instagram. How many people have Instagram? I haven’t run the numbers, but it’s about 98.4 million.
The Rock – film star, wrestler and ubiquitous Instagram sweat beast – leads a charmed and remarkable life. This is in no small part because he is a charming and remarkable dude. With this audacious new ShortList project what we aim to do is take an exhaustive look, on your behalf, at what Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson did the previous week – we’re going to sit through those chat shows, read those tweets, let those Instagram vids soak into our pores – and, like the humble alchemist of old, turn lead to gold.
We want to understand, truly understand, what makes The Rock tick; what drives him; what we, as progressive men, can learn from following his every move in 2018. Through a close study of the ultimate man, the benchmark of all Good Men, can we perhaps become better men ourselves?
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to The Rock Report.
Like all good stories, the inaugural Rock Report will begin at the beginning. It will not surprise you to learn that The Rock began 2018 in the place where he was conceived, born and will be cremated – the gym – filming not one but nine messages of gratitude for countries in which Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is performing well.
Only by the eighth did he seem to have second thoughts about embarking on this inadvisably Herculean endeavour. Then, at 10pm on the same day, on his private jet to Beijing, he appeared in a ludicrously slick video (it’s not clear exactly who goes around filming The Rock simply existing - but if it is you, please get in touch) in which he talked about the fact that, while the world shuts its eyes, he is awake and working hard on his private jet. (When there is no room to work out, ‘working hard’ seems to mean: emailing, The Rock emails people.)
Imagine The Rock sleeping on a plane. Do you really think that that is likely? The Rock, sleeping like a baby, on a plane? When there’s work to do? Please just GET A GRIP. The Rock does not work that way. He sleeps when the job is done.
The short film looks gorgeous. Its production values hint at a commercial backer lurking in the wings but it is not, in fact, promoting anything you can buy. Not a shoe, not a car. No no. It’s promoting The Rock himself. And why not? If you were granted a glimpse of The Rock up close, you too would want to document this exquisite creation, this benevolent ray of sun muscle, just to tell the people at home: “It’s true. The stories, they’re all true. He’s real. He works hard, he looks good, he makes people smile, and… and… he’s not a dick?”
After the 14-hour flight to China – a journey in which The Rock claimed that he, unlike mortal people, did not shut his eyes – our hero then landed in China and eschewed sleep in favour of working out. 14 hours was too many hours without a workout for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. “I must pump,” he surely said as his feet touched Chinese soil. “Please, where can I pump?”
From what divine source does The Rock derive his energy? Will he one day collapse from exhaustion? Under a baking sun will he one day crack, falling to the ground and wheezing out of spent lungs? “I cannot be The Rock any longer,” he will say. “Being The Rock is simply too draining and now, yes, I think I must die.” Surviving on the amount of sleep Margaret Thatcher permitted herself, he is beginning to worry me. If this worry starts to keep me up at night, he will have saddled me with the same problem, for which I will not thank him.
Watching his nine ‘train of gratitude’ videos, I thought two things about Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson:
1. He is a truly remarkable man. What’s astounding is his energy, yes – the man is made up of more good energy than anyone on the planet – but it is also his eloquence. Overlooked as a quality, eloquence is a rare thing to come by. Sweaty and exhausted, The Rock is able to conjure more articulate sentences than someone given weeks to prepare and memorise a speech.
2. Having said that, what’s strange and a little eerie is the extent to which The Rock’s speech pattern resembles that of Donald Trump. “We are kicking off this year, 2018, very strong… The most amazing thing about our box office there in France is that we opened up last weekend, great numbers, this weekend, we doubled those numbers… Our box office is phenomenal for Jumanji in the UK… I’m not a mathematician but upticking 23% in your second weekend is pretty damn awesome, and it’s really rare…” This worrying trend is one that I will continue to monitor in forthcoming Rock Reports.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson claims that his 2018 philosophy is “being good to people, being nice, being kind, keeping my head down, putting in the work, staying hungry, staying humble”. On the available evidence, there is no reason to disbelieve him. We have much to learn from this shaven colossus.
That was The Rock Report. Stay hungry, stay humble. Join us next Monday.
(Images: Rex / Instagram)