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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

On Tiger Woods' torso

Ann Althouse muses about Tiger Woods' shirtless Vanity Fair cover shot and modern standards of male beauty:

The Vanity Fair article has a fascinating Annie Liebowitz cover photograph of Tiger Woods's without a shirt — fascinating because the great athlete looks so different from those Men's Health-type torso models who work their muscles solely for the purpose of getting their muscles to look the way people these days want to see muscles looking and who squeeze out the excess fat so we can get the best look at those muscles. By contrast, Tiger looks slightly porky and squishy. That's not a criticism. That's a suggestion that, knowing the functionality of the torso we're gazing at — and I'm including the sexual functionality — we ought to adjust our taste in male beauty.
I think she has a good point. Our tastes in male torsos have changed considerably over the last few decades. Consider these heart-throbs of yesteryear: here's a shot of Gregory Peck in 1947 in the film Yellow Sky:

and of course the great Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes (1968):

Men like these used to set pulses racing, but how many of them would be considered out of shape and overweight today? I blame Calvin Klein: once we were exposed to thirty-storey billboards of Marky Mark in his underwear looming over Times Square, it was game over for the beefy studs of yesteryear.

Out with the battle-scarred sod-busting heroes and in with the vulgar vapid hairless rapping skateboarders. This is progress?


Rick T said...

Greg, and Charlton look pretty good, and I can perhaps aspire to come somewhere within shouting distance of that standard.

The fellow from "Men's Health"?
Not in this lifetime, and not as long as there is beer in this universe...

Stacey A. Ward, Esq. said...

While I am certainly not a youngster, I am only middling-aged at 42 and Charlton Heston's chest (not to mention the rest of him gloriously on display in various movies) STILL sets my pulse racing. Mark Wahlberg is OK, but he looks like what he is -- the flavor of the month who got his muscles at a gym with a paid membership and a trainer. Charlton Heston always -- even in his early TV & movie appearances where his features are so strikingly youthful and not yet as masculinely hewn and hawklike -- looks like a man, and his muscles look like those earned and maintained from hard work. Nothing flabby about the guy well into his 60s, when he was still going shirtless and convincingly athletic as a desert archaeologist in The Awakening.

I'll take a Charlton Heston (if only they still made 'em like that) any day over the pretty boys of today's Hollywood.

Ms. Stacey A. Ward, Esq.
Los Lunas, NM
a liberal Democrat who still thinks Heston was one of the finest actors and activists of the 20th century, and a woman who thinks he was mighty easy on the eyes