I will be updating this infrequently. I will sometimes repeat myself. Feel free to add your own current annoyances.
We get paid to write. Unfortunately, we don't get paid to write this.
I also meant to address, but forgot, my concentration on heroes . I guess I take for granted that it is understood that we present kids with heroes (and, most importantly, allow the presentation of the heroes *as* heroes) with the intention of them looking up to these heroes as models for behavior we'd like to see exhibited in the kids. It's not always the case that we present these heroes as models for masculinity, but I'm guessing it is at least part of the time.
I would suggest that we present villains less often as models for kids--which is not to say that villains are never presented as models (or that all presented villains are completely villainous). If we are presenting them less as models in general, then one would think that we are presenting them less as models in specific (which would include presenting them as models for masculinity, specifically). If a kid chooses to model himself after a villain despite however it is the media has presented the villain, then it stands to reason that the kids aren't entirely susceptible to our model presentation. Naturally, they must be susceptible in part, as most people are susceptible on some level to any stimulus. But what part is susceptible, in what way is it susceptible, and to what degree?
One might say Russians were presented as models of masculinity and intellect to Americans, but they were also presented as the enemy. This sends conflicting messages to kids and adults alike. They might be inspired to get even smarter and even stronger than they have been led to believe the Russians were, but how often could it have been seen as a primary motivational factor in, say, the eighties? Did that change after the Berlin Wall fell?
It could be said that children are inspired by wrestlers to do dangerous things (if you search YouTube long enough for videos kids busting their shit up on trampolines and pillow-covered carpeting, you will find it), but which children are doing this (a significant portion of the kid population?), and are they doing it because of specific wrestlers, or are they doing it because they were inspired by wrestling on the whole? If they are doing it because of specific wrestlers, is it more often the case that they are doing it because they were inspired by a wrestler with the bodybuilder-like physique? Are they inspired more by faces (good guys) or heels (bad guys)? It's hard to narrow all these things down.
When I think about what we might consciously be presenting to kids in the way of masculine models, it occurs to me that we're not quite sure, ourselves. We certainly don't seem to have much of a clue as to which traits they will cherry pick and from whom. Either that, or we really don't care. That may be part of Katz's point, though I think his focus on what we may be providing (either consciously or unconsciously) in the way of masculine models--at least in the provided video--is too narrow. ("No shit!" is the obvious, immediate response. It's a documentary, after all. That's what documentaries do.)
The Swollen Goi... wrote:I feel guilty enough, already, that I am letting this divert attention away from the dissertation.
I feel guilty enough, already, that I am letting this divert attention away from the dissertation.
Great, now you're trying to make me feel bad about trying to defend my post. That's low, Goiter, especially for you.
Kidding aside, though, I apologize for distracting you from your dissertation.
I don't mean to dismiss your arguments wholesale, but I think that Katz is talking about more than just the body image presented to boys and men. The bulky G.I. Joe or the toned martial artist are merely symptoms of a society that is still trying to cling to outdated norms of masculinity: a masculine ideal that says that men should be physically strong, they need to be aggressive, they need to be dominant, they must be in control at all times. That's what Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee, and Michael Jordan have in common (or could be perceived to have in common). Their body types, as different from each other as they may be, are a symbolic outgrowth of the masculine ideal they represent rather than being intended to represent a realistic goal to be achieved.
The three-minute clip I posted is part of a longer film that's about 80 minutes long. It doesn't represent the focal point of Katz' argument.
When I was in high school, my family lived in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, and many of the families in our immediate vicinity had children who were about four or five years younger than I was. By the time I had finished high school, these kids were enrolling as high school freshmen. When I came back home for the summer after my first year of college, I could hardly recognize most of them: all of them had been working out and didn't just look lean or "in shape" like Michael Jordan or David Beckham - these kids were buff! Most of them were also saving up to buy Japanese muscle cars or motorcycles (which they did in the following years).
After I had given it some thought it made a lot of sense: they had grown up idolizing Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel.
Edit: You write too fast for me to keep up!
Mal Shot First wrote:When I came back home for the summer after my first year of college, I could hardly recognize most of them: all of them had been working out and didn't just look lean or "in shape" like Michael Jordan or David Beckham - these kids were buff!
When I came back home for the summer after my first year of college, I could hardly recognize most of them: all of them had been working out and didn't just look lean or "in shape" like Michael Jordan or David Beckham - these kids were buff!
Your experience was quite different from mine. When I came back home after my first year of college, all the jocks had started getting fat (it has grown more pronounced with each passing year) and were still driving the same cars they were driving in high school.
Of course, masculine ideals in a rural farming community likely differ from those elsewhere.
I hope you don't seriously feel that I expect you (or anyone here, as a matter of fact) to go out of your way to defend your post. I hope, furthermore, that you don't feel I was taking issue with much (or anything) that you were saying in defense of Katz's video. I just wanted to see more development from Katz's side. I'm sure some of this development happens in other videos. Like I said, above, it's not that I find his points not to be compelling. I'll watch the rest of the segments some time next week, when I have the time.
The Tough Guise film is pretty interesting.
Goiter has already addressed the potential weaknesses. Something else occurred to me, though.
Not just Steve Reeves, of course. Also every other body builder who ever assumed the role of Hercules or Maciste. A lot of sword and sandal epics were filmed in the fifties and sixties, which throws the (supposedly) organic progression of masculine physical presentation out of whack according to the timeline given in Tough Guise.
Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Alan Steele -- they were enormous. (Reg Park's body looks almost exactly like the original He-Man action figure, for chrissake. The only thing off? Park's head is normal sized -- which looks rather strange on that body, BTW.)
Is it the body itself that is supposed to be the spectacle in sword and sandal films? Probably. The violence (or potential for violence) presented in the Hercules/Maciste films is somewhat tempered by the mythological premise of the genre -- i.e., one could argue that such characters, as the embodiment of divine justice/retribution, represent more of an abstraction than a real human. This is in contrast to a figure like Rambo, the reality of whose circumstances (vietnam vet, etc.) makes the character believable and bleak.
For me, part of the question becomes: when does the muscular body stop being merely a spectacle? At what point in cinematic history is the muscular body no longer presented in order to amaze the viewer and become instead purely the threat of violence?
I was looking for Charles Atlas and Joe Weider ads from the fifties, and I found the following page:
These days, it's pretty hard to be a ninety-pound weakling. You're more likely to have been fed McDonald's from birth.
I did a search for "best peanut butter." One of the pages Google unearthed featured the following quote:
"I love peanut butter. The best I have found is the Safeway Organics Old Fashioned Crunchy. Just peanuts and the right amount of sea salt. I am not a fan of sweet peanut butter, so I really don't like most of the major brands that put sugar in their peanut butter. One of my least favorites is the Trader Joe's brand. Their crunchy peanut butter always taste burnt."
Every sentence after the first one (I don't really have a problem with "I love peanut butter") makes me like the person less--despite my never having met the person.
I bet you shake your cane at kids and yell at them to say off of your lawn.
"Torog no eat Trader Joe's peanut butter. It taste burnt."
If you're so pretentious you have to eat organic peanut butter made with sea salt, at least learn how to conjugate a fucking verb.
Jakester wrote:I bet you shake your cane at kids and yell at them to say off of your lawn.
Obligatory Eastwood quote:
Brief commentary on every line that annoys me:
The best I have found is the Safeway Organics Old Fashioned Crunchy.
This person eats organic peanut butter. Could be for health reasons. Could be this person was introduced to this peanut butter and liked it. Bought at Safeway, which is a fairly big chain. Price: cheap ($2.99). Not necessarily a douche, but likely one.
Just peanuts and the right amount of sea salt.
Sea salt and proud of it? (And not just sea salt, but "the right amount" of it.) Likely a current or former grad student and/or upper middle class. Unless this person is genuinely worried about iodine overdose (unlikely), then this person may actually be one of those people who believe they can taste the difference between iodized salt and sea salt when both are mixed in with things. Probably believes self to have "refined palate."
I am not a fan of sweet peanut butter, so I really don't like most of the major brands that put sugar in their peanut butter.
Showy dismissal of major brands, plus showy expression of preference for unsweetened peanut butter. Approaching ever nearer state of indefensible douchiness. Am increasingly tempted to tell this person that what this person wants isn't peanut butter, but (sea) salted peanuts, lightly crushed.
One of my least favorites is the Trader Joe's brand.
Do some shopping at Trader Joe's, do ya? Unsurprising.
Their crunchy peanut butter always taste burnt.
Follows telling us of Trader Joe's patronage with weak criticism of Trader Joe's house brand. Am tempted to believe this person invented criticism just to be able to bring up shopping at Trader Joe's, and to lend snob credibility to original statement of preference. ("I even tried the Trader Joe's brand, and found *it* to be lacking! And I usually *like* the Trader Joe's brand of *everything*! But theirs turned out to be one of my *least* favorites of all the many peanut butters I've tried in all my years!") The other option--that this person actually believes claim about Trader Joe's "burnt" flavor--is too frustrating an option to consider seriously. Am left with impression of person moping through first thirty years of life, distraught because no peanut butter has ever truly been able to satisfy. Then, when no hope remains, the person decides to buck trend and go to Safeway (instead of Trader Joe's) to find the ingredients for one last meal before ending it all (after which points the person imagines breaking all bodily constraints and floating up to that great peanut butter manufacturer in the sky). Then, as if guided by some celestial hand, the person spies a jar of Safeway Organics Old Fashioned Crunchy...
* * *
Of course, I then feel like a prick for thinking these things.
My anti-snob snobbery makes me feel shame. It makes me feel shame and blame.
The Swollen Goi... wrote: Am increasingly tempted to tell this person that what this person wants isn't peanut butter, but (sea) salted peanuts, lightly crushed.
Am increasingly tempted to tell this person that what this person wants isn't peanut butter, but (sea) salted peanuts, lightly crushed.
Also, I find it wonderfully humorous whenever someone feels it necessary to provide every last word of a brand name, as s/he sounds like a disguised corporate shill in the process. "The Safeway brand of organic crunchy peanut butter"? Not precise enough! "Safeway OrganicsTM Old Fashioned Crunchy Peanut Butter With Sea Salt" for me!
(Trader Joe's EssentialsTM brand Grandma's Original Recipe Organic CruchiliciousTM Peanut Butter taste burnt.)
Om nom nom nom nom OH shit my mouth's stuck closed!
HI MY NAME IS GUS wrote:At what point in cinematic history is the muscular body no longer presented in order to amaze the viewer and become instead purely the threat of violence?
At what point in cinematic history is the muscular body no longer presented in order to amaze the viewer and become instead purely the threat of violence?
He was Bugs Bunny's nemesis in Rabbit Punch (1948) and Bunny Hugged (1950).
The Crusher doesn't quite live up to the toys or movie characters already mentioned, however. For the most part, he is presented as having huge biceps (I wonder how many real-life inches around those are!), but quite an overhanging belly. Bulky, but not toned. Tiny feet.
Though when he fully flexes his muscles during his introduction in Bunny Hugged, you can see how much more ridiculous than He-Man The Crusher is:
What an action figure that would be! It could almost double as a top!
I must admit that I'm not really trying to contribute at all to the discussion on the image of masculinity and its shift over time. I just wanted an excuse to watch/post some Looney Tunes.
The Swollen Goi... wrote:I did a search for "best peanut butter."
I did a search for "best peanut butter."
Peter Pan's Honey Roast. Super sweet. Has honey, molasses and lots of extra sugar. Mmmm, tasty. I personally prefer the crunchy variety.
But this does remind me of another annoyance: anytime I'm in Germany around other Americans, they always complain about the lack of "good" peanut butter. I didn't have a problem with German peanut butter, though I didn't eat it very often. Was too distracted by the abundance of Nutella.
I have yet to taste sweet peanut butter. Sounds like it would be delicious.
atrejub wrote:The Crusher!!!
Wait, you're presenting the Crusher as example of the body as non-spectacle? The man could remove his clothes without his hands, for cripes pete.
Nutella creeps me out. Although it tastes good, I simply can't accept that the main ingredient is sugar and the second "main" ingredient is partially hydrogenated vegetable OIL. Dammit, Nutella, don't tell me these things. You'd think it would be sugar, then hazelnuts, or sugar and cocoa, but no. GIVE ME VEGETABLE OIL ON MY TOAST PLEASE.
Waiter: "Would sir enjoy some SugOil with his toast?"
Me: "You mean Nutella?"
W: "Yes, sir."
M: "Hell no."
W: "Perhaps some OilWhip?"
M: "You mean margarine?"
W: "Yes, sir."
Now I pulled a Goiter (not really, since I don't have a goiter; what I'm implying here is that I did something similar to what The Swollen Goi... would do), and looked on the Nutella website to find other information.
Nutella wrote:You many [sic] not know that nutella is a hazelnut spread and releases its energy slowly. It is a low glycaemic index (GI) food. In fact, every 15g portion contains 2 whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and a dash of cocoa.
You many [sic] not know that nutella is a hazelnut spread and releases its energy slowly. It is a low glycaemic index (GI) food. In fact, every 15g portion contains 2 whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and a dash of cocoa.
What fresh BS is this? (At least they're telling the truth with "a dash of cocoa": there sure as hell isn't very much, and eating it will make you "dash" for the toilet.)
The serving suggestions are wonderful, too:
Nutella wrote:A 15g portion of nutella combined with other breakfast components such as:
A slice of wholegrain toast
A bowl of unsweetened cereal with milk
A glass of pure fruit juice
A 15g portion of nutella combined with other breakfast components such as:
A slice of wholegrain toast
A bowl of unsweetened cereal with milk
A glass of pure fruit juice
Wait a minute! Something seems missing here...
Eaten with a spoon straight from the container while watching "You've Got Mail"
Eaten with a spoon straight from the container while watching "You've Got Mail"
Ah, there it is.
There is a sales team moving in to our offices from another location. Today they fucking made goddamned vanilla hazlenut coffee. We're engineers and computer geeks. We don't drink fucking vanilla hazlenut coffee. If you want it, there are flavoured creamers there for that shit. Don't go fucking with my coffee or I will stab you in the throat with a line of staples and hang you from the ceiling with a note indicating that this is what happens to idiots who fuck with my coffee.
A barista once tried to test Jakester. He drank her liver with some Java beans and a nice biscotti.
If the barista was cute, that'd never have happened. I'd have banged her senseless.
The sales team has one or two moderately cute chicks. Nothing rivaling Kah or the ginger at the kid's dance studio.
You mean the girl to the viewer's left of center? Oh, wait. I thought you said Kid's Incorporated.
Geez, Guys. I'm really slipping. That wasn't even remotely funny.
I apologize. (Pull out my eyes, Pull out my eyes, apologize.)
Maybe I should leave the posting to you folks for a while.
To be honest, Goiter, I haven't even read anything you've written in weeks, so I have no idea if you've been funny. I don't have a lot of time, so I tend to avoid full page posts. It's kind of sad. I used to put a lot of time and effort into my posts, but since becoming a single mother, I've lapsed into this one-note, female Jakester. Sorry everyone.
Eh, your succinct text messages remain generally amusing, so I'll let it slide.
No one else gets the personal attention you get, so consider yourself privileged. And amused.
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