Tuesday, September 25, 2007
tuesday's word: muscle
body tissue whose contractions cause movement + acceleration
metaphor for all forms of power, force, + strength
in males, commonly accepted as the main index of sexual virility + often fetishized through voyeurism, ‘muscle worship,’ ‘erotic massage,’ + ‘body building’
diet, exercise, genetics, age, + health affect the shape + condition of muscles
latin ‘musculus’ – ‘little mouse’
synonyms: beef, boulder, brawn, bulk, flesh, gun, gunboat, gundam, mass, meat, might, physique, pipe, protoplasm, python, sinew, tendon, thew, tit
specialized synonyms: abs, cut, glutes, lats, pumped, ripped, shredded, sixpack, washboard
muscular christianity—this late victorian movement, advocated by charles kingsley + thomas hughes, promoted the spiritual value of sports + exercise for men, to subject the body to the spirit, + to strengthen it for protecting the weak, standing up for righteous causes, + subjugating nature (both human nature + colonial wildernesses).
the movement prompted the international popularization of scouting + the ymca, + the resurgence of the olympic games.
the muscular male body thus became emblematic of wholesomeness, cleanliness, + victorian morality—‘straight’ in both posture + virtue, vs. the slouching ‘decadence’ of aesthetes + dandies.
. . . . .
ed. you’re fond of swimming?
sloane. i like a plunge now + then.
sloane. we had a nice little gym at the orphanage. put me in all the teams they did. relays …
ed looks interested.
… soccer …
… pole vault, … long distance …
ed opens his mouth.
… 100 yards, discus, putting the shot …
ed rubs his hands together.
yes, yes. i’m an all rounder. a great all rounder. in anything you care to mention. even in life.
ed lifts up a warning finger.
… yes i like a good workout now + then.
ed. i used to do a lot of that at one time. with my mate … we used to do all what you just said. (pause.) we were young. innocent too. (shrugs. pats his pocket. takes out a packet of cigarettes. smokes.) all over now. (pause.) developing your muscles, eh? + character. (pause.) … well, well, well. (breathless.) a little bodybuilder are you? i bet you are … (slowly.) … do you … (shy.) exercise regular?
sloane. as clockwork.
ed. good, good. stripped?
ed. complete. (striding to the window.) how invigorating.
sloane. + i box. i’m a bit of a boxer.
ed. ever done any wrestling?
sloane. on occasions.
ed. so, so.
sloane. i’ve got a full chest. narrow hips. my biceps are—
ed. do you wear leather … next to the skin? leather jeans, say? without … aah …
ed. (laughs) get away! (pause) the question is are you clean living? you may as well know i set great store by morals. too much of this casual bunking up nowadays. too many lads being ruined by birds.
--excerpt from entertaining mr. sloane, by joe orton, 1964
Posted by Joe at 5:43 AM