May 27, 2017

Maybe people don't want to relate to real human beings anymore, and we're consuming these movies to help us adjust to the "uncanny valley," so we can settle down there someday soon.

I'm reading "Male Stars Are Too Buff Now," by E. Alex Jung (in New York Magazine).
... Zac Efron’s body displays a muscularity I can only describe as “deeply uncomfortable.” The actor told Men’s Fitness that he wanted to “drop the last bit of body fat” for Baywatch and he seems to have meant that literally... Zac Efron does not look like a swimmer. His action-figure physique is much bulkier than you’d see at an Olympic pool...

In 2011’s Crazy Stupid Love, Emma Stone’s character said that Ryan Gosling’s body looked like it had been “photoshopped.” The joke seems practically quaint now.... Stars like Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman have simply been forced to go even further to separate themselves from the pack, to the point where their bodies look truly unreal. We’ve entered a reverse uncanny valley where the real looks unreal: Flesh and blood human celebrities now sport the vein-popping, skintight muscles comic-book artists could once only conjure in their imaginations....
Everything is so fake now. It's not just male actors, it's "female actors" too. Maybe we like fake. That's a lateral thinking explanation that makes sense, being simple. Maybe people don't want to relate to real human beings anymore, and we're consuming these movies to help us adjust to the "uncanny valley" as we move ever closer to the time when we'll be happy to satisfy our sexual and emotional needs with robots.

Here's the above-mentioned scene. (Warning, Emma Stone will shout "Fuck!" before "It's like you're photoshopped.")

170 comments:

damikesc said...

Are people noticing that men/boys have insane body ideals that they are ALSO expected to match?

Men actors, especially in the action genre, have had physiques that require HGH and the like to actually produce. Pharmacology with some not fully known side effects, but what we do know are pretty bad.

The Rock, for example, is markedly bigger and more muscled now than he was in pro wrestling, where his promotion had some semblance of a drug policy that Hollywood absolutely does not. He's a solid 30 or so pounds heavier and it is all muscle --- and he was rather well-defined when he was a wrestler.

The Rock TODAY makes the The Rock of, say, 2002 look borderline tiny.

Michael K said...

I was thinking those morning about how there are no more impressionists.

Actors like Jimmy Cagney and Ronald Coleman had distinctive voices and mannerisms that people would imitate.

Would anyone recognize a male actor from a comic giving an impression these days?

Maybe they would as I no longer go to movies unless they are very good and fit my taste but I see nothing about anyone doing impressions anymore.

Actors seem to be the same and very bland.

Hari said...

I see nothing in the essay that suggests these male physiques are fake. Maybe unattainable for the average male, but so what? The level of athleticism in any major league sport is also unattainable for the average male.

EDH said...

Yet critics yelp about visual humor in "Dirty Grandpa" where they compare Zac Efron to a lesbian.

"So we have two Top Guns v. Creepy Old Guy and his Lesbian Daughter!"

The film was terribly, almost impressively offensive. With the finesse of a young child handling a machine gun, Dirty Grandpa fired sloppy, rapid-fire shots at minorities and individuals with disabilities like it was racing against some imaginary clock. “Hit as many as you can in an hour and 42 minutes,” it seemed to remind itself. Stabs were taken at the Jewish religion, lesbian women – as Jason was not once, not twice, but at least four times called Dick Kelly’s “lesbian daughter...”

Big Mike said...

Take another look at Michael Phelps getting ready to get on the starting and another look at Efron. Physiques are pretty comparable. Efron's character is supposedly modeled on Ryan Lochte, and Efron looks a bit more ripped than Lochte, but not by much.

Edmund said...

Ryan Gosling supposedly now has a rider in his contracts that he won't take his shirt off in movies.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

Every/body is a commodity now, to be packaged and sold.

rhhardin said...

Time travel is what you want. You can figure out what a woman wants to hear.

rhhardin said...

I don't remember Ryan Gosling, just Steve Carrell, in that one.

Expat(ish) said...

I don't go to a serious gym anymore (where I live the average age is 65+ and the closest gym is a Y) - but even where I do lift, I regularly see guys that are much more muscularly attractive than these guys.

They don't smell like acetone, so probably not roids.

-XC

Rene Saunce said...

When you are paid millions of dollars - for "acting", there is plenty of time during the day to go to the gym.

n.n said...

With the proper exercise and diet, fake becomes reality. Most people can do it. Fewer people will try. Most will not or cannot sustain it.

Jack Wayne said...

It doesn't matter how ripped these actors are, they still look and act like boys, not men.

Mike Sylwester said...

The recent ABC re-make of "Dirty Dancing" used used a rather plain, fat girl for the lead female role. She is a rather good match, however, for the male lead, who is much less handsome that Patrick Swayze.

Alex said...

Remember when Harrison Ford was shirtless in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and that was considered a sexy bod? I guess just being fit isn't enough, you have to be 'swole'.

Michael K said...

"When you are paid millions of dollars - for "acting", there is plenty of time during the day to go to the gym."

Yes. Nothing else to do.

Bill Peschel said...

As a side note, Goldie Hawn was on the cover of people, and my wife was complaining about how she is portrayed at 71.

I showed her a photo of her taken in public, and you can see how People not only airbrushed her into looking like she's in her 40s, but she's posed in a long-sleeved sweater (to hide her 71-year-old hands) covering her throat (wattles), and wearing a wig with extensions (no visible hairline or part is a dead giveaway).

Hollywood has always optimized bodies and faces for what it perceives the audience wants. I've got a book on old Hollywood in which someone found original photographs of stars and removed the paint, showing actresses with a visible facial hair, and male actors with visible bulges.

Hari said...

"... Zac Efron’s body displays a muscularity I can only describe as 'deeply uncomfortable.'"

Translation: It's no longer enough for skinny hipsters to grow a beard and wear a lumberjack shirt. These movie stars are actually lifting heavy weights. Unacceptable for guys who believe that heavy lifting is a blue collar thing, and that intellectuals should stick to running and spin. (Testosterone is bad. Toxic masculinity. etc.)

Every time the NYT publishes an article about the benefits of strength training, near hysteria follows in the comments, where the answer is always more reps and lighter weights.

Ann, if you think this look is fake, stop by the CrossFit Games in Madison this summer. You don't actually need to buy a ticket. Just stand in the parking lot and look at the fans.

Scott said...

Zac Efron would look cute in a RompHim.

traditionalguy said...

Working out with weights is good for men at any age. But building up muscle mass is incidental to strength. When a body builder sculpts himself, he eliminates his athletic ability apart from "Acting" gigs in WWF shows or Hollywood remakes. That goes for Arnold Schwartzneger and Dwayne Johnson.

Thank God our grandchildren can see old 1950s movies with John Wayne not embarrassed to be a man. All he needed was Maureen Ohara.

Alex said...

tradguy - remember Jean Claude Van Damme in the 90s? That guy was ripped and super athletic at the same time. Truly an Adonis c. 1992.

traditionalguy said...

Yes, Alex. Claude was a great actor.

JaimeRoberto said...

Is this really anything new? Michelangelo's David looks pretty buff too, and he probably wasn't the first.

Fen said...

Good background for the next Save The Day lectures. These people are just guilded whores.

I remember watching Desperate Housewives of Orange County and thinking C.S. Lewis was right about humans creating their own Hell.

n.n said...

building up muscle mass is incidental to strength

I would distinguish between mass and bulk. Also note that there is point and total strength (e.g. back, abdominal).

Fen said...

My favorite posers to mock are the metrosexuals sporting the facial stuble of "rough men" while shaving their chest.

"Really dude? You spent all that time scraping your chest but couldn't be bothered to shave off that 5 o'clock shadow?"

And now they are strutting around in manly pre-mudded jeans that go forb $400 a pair. Lol.

walter said...

Alex said...Remember when Harrison Ford was shirtless in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and that was considered a sexy bod?
--
Or the gushing over Obama's beach pics..

exiledonmainstreet said...

This post reminded me of how youths in ancient Greek art got progressively more ripped as time went on. Was that because the fashionable ideal of men's bodies changed or because artists simply became more proficient at carving musculature?

Here's an early nude:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorious_Youth


The Classical Period: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes


And Hellenism:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_art#Laoco.C3.B6n

Laocoon and his sons clearly put in some serious gym time. Look at those washboard abs! Those muscles didn't help much in the end, though, did they?

walter said...

I always thought it funny that Abercrombie and Fitch stores would have shirtless male pics inside and outside their store (facing out to mall walkway) while pimping $60 distressed T-shirts.
Was it something like "Your body is awful, better cover up with these"?

William said...

What with scientific DNA testing, I'm sure it's possible to tell the difference between Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling, but it's nearly impossible for the layman to make such a distinction.

MayBee said...

This seems like a dangerous thought- that only women are body shamed, and only actresses have impossible standards to meet.

readering said...

Compare george Reeves and Adam west in their superhero costumes.

YoungHegelian said...

Back in the days when late night TV was inundated with commercials for the "Girls Gone Wild" video series (my personal fav was number 12 in the series, directed by Ingmar Bergman), the series creators came up with a companion series,"Guys Gone Wild". While clearly not as popular as the female series, it still got the occasional commercial.

One evening, when a commercial for Girls GW was followed by one for Guys GW, my wife quipped "You know, the boys put in a lot more work to get those bodies than the girls did".

Michael K said...

"the metrosexuals sporting the facial stuble of "rough men" while shaving their chest."

In examining teenaged boys joining the military, I'm struck by how many shave their pubic hair.

I wonder why ? Girlfriend preferences ?

readering said...

You know who were ripped? Silent film stars who did their own stunts.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"When a body builder sculpts himself, he eliminates his athletic ability apart from "Acting" gigs in WWF shows or Hollywood remakes"

I remember reading an interview with Schwarzenegger back in the '80's when Arnold admitted he got winded when he went back to visit his father in Austria and helped him shovel snow. Schwarenegger said, "it's using your muscles in a different way." So in other words, they're not actually meant to do actual physical labor.

Baseball players used to be told not to lift heavy weights since being muscle bound would actually hurt their skills. That is clearly not the case anymore, as Giancarlo Stanton didn't develop a body like this by shagging ground balls:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/espn-body-issue-athletes-naked-shoots-gallery-1.966871?pmSlide=1.1394149

Stanton is certainly more pleasant to behold nude than Prince Fielder was. However, I can see how massively inflated arms would hinder their swings and throws.

William said...

It's better to live in a penthouse than in a tar paper shack. On the same principle, it's better to live in a healthy, fit body than in a clotted, overweight one. It makes sense to eat right and go to the gymn, but there's such a thing as overkill. I don't know if I would want to live in a palace like Versailles or possess a body like The Rock's. This might be sour grapes on my part.

AReasonableMan said...

I think it is fairly well established that many of these actors rely on steroids when preparing for these scenes - like body builders.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Michael K., is it something that started with porn stars? I think that's the case with the female porn stars anyway? I'm just reporting what I've read...

readering said...

Michael k I guess you don't examine female recruits. They all follow the adult film industry standard.

AReasonableMan said...

William said...
I don't know if I would want to ... possess a body like The Rock's.


Not if you want to swim. Apparently he sinks in the water.

buwaya said...

Follow the money.
Is this sort of thing what Asian girls like?

buwaya said...

Versailles is very nice, and given a sufficient staff of servants I would quite enjoy living there. Even more so if you have a brilliant court of clever people, plus a constant stream of new clever people staying over. And a vast range of amusements, including running an empire.
I should try identifying as Louis XIV.

Sebastian said...

"Michelangelo's David looks pretty buff too," A bit chubby, by Sebastian's uber-Gosling standards.

Fen said...

"I wonder why?"

I'm married 17 years now, but I'm (cough) assuming it's so girlfriends will be more likely to give blowjobs.

Or maybe it's all the porn that young men watch these days. They think it's normal. Which follows, because I remember an article few years back - women complaining that men had become too rough in bed as a result of mimicking the gang bang porn they had normalized.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liesl said...

The "Dad Bod" sure went out of vogue quickly. People don't know what they want.

Michael K said...

"Michael k I guess you don't examine female recruits. They all follow the adult film industry standard."

Oh yes, but that is not news. The crab louse is an endangered species. I expect Democrats to announce a campaign of some sort.

YoungHegelian said...

@Fen,

....I remember an article few years back - women complaining that men had become too rough in bed as a result of mimicking the gang bang porn they had normalized.

So, do young men today think that in the middle of sex the girl's going to squeeze her DDs together & coo "Oh, baby, I want you to put it in my ass so bad"?**

Do they also think that "My Little Pony --- Friendship is Magic" is what ponies are like in their spare time?

** I can imagine a real woman saying this. But, only if she starts laughing so hard afterwards that she has trouble breathing.

Alex said...

Liesl said...
The "Dad Bod" sure went out of vogue quickly. People don't know what they want.


'dad bod' is everywhere you look, just not as in vogue with newer Hollywood pics. Too much food. Too much damn calories easily available!

walter said...

This alongside the push to accept Queen/Plus size female models...the "body positive" beautiful as you are bit.

Yancey Ward said...

Michael K wrote:

"In examining teenaged boys joining the military, I'm struck by how many shave their pubic hair.

I wonder why ? Girlfriend preferences?
"

It makes things look bigger- seriously.

Christy said...

Our standards have changed. Back when we still did Netflix by mail, I was watching old classics. Forget now the movie or the actor but I was appalled at how un-buff this long time leading man was in the beach scene.

Yancey Ward said...

It is funny that it is Zac Efron under discussion. In an episode of Big Bang Theory from 2008, part of the script specifically references Efron as relatively non-masculine.

mockturtle said...

If a guy were well-muscled from splitting wood I might be more impressed.

Alex said...

So Chad Thundercock wins again.

khesanh0802 said...

OT but well worth the read for those who can get to the WSJ How Nationalism Can Solve the Crisis of Islam. Interview with a French philosopher about Muslim populations in western, liberal society. Given this guy's view Trump is off to a good start on figuring out how to manage that situation.

Ann Althouse said...

What I'm calling fake is the obsessively sculpted and bulked up look. It's not the result you'd get from real work or an actual sport that is played as a game. Efron is supposed to be a swimmer in that movie, but that kind of body isn't useful for swimming.

I have no idea how much surgery and liposuction is used, if any, but Efron talked about striving to eliminate all the fat from his body. That is antithetical to good health and real functioning, and I doubt if it makes a man good at sex or even interested in it.

It is fake in that it is a substitute for a functioning human man. We are already adjusting to life with robots. In another generation or two, we'll be calmly and obediently living out our days with our robot mates.

Alex said...

Ann - you seem to be trashing 'swole' physiques, but 'dad bod' is even unhealthier.

khesanh0802 said...

Another OT but a good read and a nice lesson in Federalism "In Surprise Move, DeVos Resists Pressure To Nationalize School Choice". From the Federalist.

Robert Cook said...

"I remember reading an interview with Schwarzenegger back in the '80's when Arnold admitted he got winded when he went back to visit his father in Austria and helped him shovel snow. Schwarenegger said, 'it's using your muscles in a different way.' So in other words, they're not actually meant to do actual physical labor."

Actually, it's because being muscular is not the same as being cardio-vascularly fit.

Char Char Binks said...

We go to movies and expect to hear excellent music and excellent dialog, see excellent acting and special effects, excellent directing, excellent cinematography, etc. Outside of character parts and serious drama, why wouldn't we expect to see beautiful people, however that is defined?

Rabel said...

We judge other people using ourselves as an initial point of reference.

Here is the point of reference of the author of the quoted article. That doesn't invalidate his opinions on muscular development but...well, I guess it kind of does invalidate his opinions on muscular development.

khesanh0802 said...

All these guys: "Better things for better living ...... through chemistry". There is no other way these average guys could, bulk and sculpt their bodies in the short time frames that they do. Simply, exercise and lifting will not do it.

khesanh0802 said...

@Char Char Binks Your expectations of movies must be sorely disappointed. My wife and I watch the occasional old movie on TCM. Our most frequent comment is: "My God, there is dialogue in this movie".

mockturtle said...

I'm with you, khesan! A good script is hard to find in newer movies.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann - you seem to be trashing 'swole' physiques, but 'dad bod' is even unhealthier."

Dad bod was never a beauty ideal, just a question of body acceptance. I'm not recommending being overweight and out of shape. That's a different problem, and it's juat not the topic of this particular post.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Just think, we managed to win two world wars at a time when nobody went to the gym. Somehow we managed to train men who were fit enough to storm the beaches at Normandy in the days before CrossFit.

Yancey Ward said...

As Cook points out, cardiovascular fitness isn't correlated with muscularity to any great extent. I took up serious distance running in my late 20s (on the order of 25-30 miles a week), and it leaned out the musculature that I had built up before that time with serious weight training- I went from being able to bench press over 300 pounds to being unable to bench press 225 within 6 months. I would guess Dwayne Johnson couldn't even run a mile in less than 8 minutes, and it would be the only one he could run, if that.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Gosling is undoubtedly far more ripped than, say, Audie Murphy was in his prime. If your house was broken into by gang members while you had a guest staying over, would you rather your houseguest be Murphy or Gosling? Or any of those old and flabby by 2017 standards movie stars who were WWII combat veterans?

Mr Wibble said...

Just think, we managed to win two world wars at a time when nobody went to the gym. Somehow we managed to train men who were fit enough to storm the beaches at Normandy in the days before CrossFit

We had a lot more men who worked on the farm back then. Also, the biggest problem for the military was underweight candidates, who did have to be bulked up with weight training.

Fen said...

Dad Bod is actually male privilege. They get to wake up at 4am to go sit in a cubicle till 8pm. And the travel! A 3 day weekend in DeMoine!! Followed by a heart attack at the recital of a daughter who's name they've forgotten.

khesanh0802 said...

@exiled In 1940 our population was split about 50/50 rural and urban. Today it is 25/75. Even in 1940 no one was ready for a beach assault without a great deal of physical, and some, technical training. The civil war was probably the last war where new recruits were likely to go straight to the front - at that time we were 80% rural.

I get your point that we live a much softer life today than those who survived the Depression in either a rural or urban setting. What I find amazing about the assaults on Normandy, or any of the islands in the Pacific, is that the men had enough courage to actually make them. They did not have much choice, but it had to be terrifying.

Alex said...

Dad Bod is actually male privilege. They get to wake up at 4am to go sit in a cubicle till 8pm. And the travel! A 3 day weekend in DeMoine!! Followed by a heart attack at the recital of a daughter who's name they've forgotten.

Well isn't that 'Murica in a nutshell. Work your way into an early grave for what? Men are so disposable in our current society.

Rabel said...

"I would guess Dwayne Johnson couldn't even run a mile in less than 8 minutes, and it would be the only one he could run, if that."

When he's training Dwayne Johnson starts with an hour of cardio every day. He could do that 8 minute mile while carrying Yancy Ward on his back.

Mr Wibble said...

What exactly is "dad bod"? I've heard a bunch of different descriptions, everything from overweight to the point of obesity, to barrel-chested and muscled but with a layer of fat that comes from working an office job and then occasionally hitting them gym and doing work outside around the house.

rcocean said...

"I get your point that we live a much softer life today than those who survived the Depression in either a rural or urban setting."

Heck, go look at City photos from the 30s and 40s. Everyone is slim and trim. Maybe it was the cigarettes and whiskey - or more likely more people walked to work or did factory work. And the lack of Junk food.

Alex said...

"Dad bod" is a male body type that is best described as "softly round." It's built upon the theory that once a man has found a mate and fathered a child, he doesn't need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.

Rick said...

Ann Althouse said...
Dad bod was never a beauty ideal, just a question of body acceptance. I'm not recommending being overweight and out of shape.


A dad bod is not overweight and out of shape. It's someone in reasonable shape with a normal amount of body fat - the implication being they have too many other things going on to spend the time required for the perfect body.

Alex said...

rocean - also a factor is that McDonalds/Burger King/Jack in the Box/Wendy's/Fuddruckers/In N Out didn't exist back then. You couldn't casually nosh on cheap garbage food, the operative word being CHEAP. You can't put the sole blame on fast food, look at the garbage they sell in grocery stores, even Whole Foods sells mostly caloric bombs in their deli section. Our entire country is fat, getting fatter and has nothing to do with class divisions anymore. Everyone is a fucking fat fuck.

rcocean said...

If you want real, Go see "bridge on the River Kwai" or "Picnic" where William Holden takes his shirt off. Or look up an old Weissmuller Tarzan move.

Neither of those guys lifted anything heavier than a whiskey glass.

Alex said...

A dad bod is not overweight and out of shape. It's someone in reasonable shape with a normal amount of body fat - the implication being they have too many other things going on to spend the time required for the perfect body.

90% of fitness is caloric intake, not spending time at the gym. These 'dad bod' types simply gorge themselves every day citing the excuse of having a job/family. It's just a pitiful excuse.

rcocean said...

"Everyone is a fucking fat fuck."

I'm sitting in a cafe right now. I'm having coffee and a sandwhich.

Mea Culpa.

Yancey Ward said...

Rabel, an "hour of cardio on a treadmill" tells you nothing. For all you know he is walking, and I can guarantee you that is what he is doing for almost all of that hour. As a runner, I can tell you don't run for an hour carrying that much body mass. You put him out on the road and ask him to run a mile under 8 minutes, I dead certain he couldn't do it.

rcocean said...

"90% of fitness is caloric intake,"

You got that right. You can never burn off when you put in. 1 Doughnut is 30 minutes of hard exercise.

Fen said...

I think the premise is wrong. Dad's aren't neglecting a sculpted physique out of complaceny. They've simply learned from women that their bank account is more attractive than their body, so they're bulking that up instead.

I once read that some women are so hot to land an ATM machine, they'll even let it grab them by the pussy.

William Chadwick said...

You people are just jealous of us demigods.

Rick said...

These 'dad bod' types simply gorge themselves every day citing the excuse of having a job/family. It's just a pitiful excuse.

Excuse for what? This misunderstands the nature of a dad bod. Here is the description from the original article:

"It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either."

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/dad-bod

Liesl said...

I think what ZE might be doing is temporarily pushing the limits of what his body is capable of. He had a specific target in mind and the means to reach it; I see it as a less sustainable, yet similar, mental approach to those of marathon runners or even acroyogis (the latter of which seems to be the most sustainable).

There are just these funny little fine lines between what is "acceptable," what it healthily sustainable, and what is "fringe," i.e. dad bods (which I originally brought up because it wasn't that long ago that hashtagdadbod was a thing praised on social media as being authentic, hot, and sexy, but lately I see it hurled as an insult), fit, and then obsessive, I guess. AS long as ZE and the four Chrisses don't collectively go rhabdo, I think they're probably doing fine and just going through a phase, personally and societally.

Rabel said...

"You put him out on the road and ask him to run a mile under 8 minutes, I dead certain he couldn't do it."

You would probably be wrong. You are comparing yourself to a truly exceptional athlete.

Expat(ish) said...

@yancy, I dunno if Dwayne Johnson could run an 8 minute mile right now, but he was a pro-level football player, so he's an athletic freak. I bet he could train to run one pretty easily.

I'm certainly not an athletic freak, but I was able to train up for a 50K race (6:29:xx) while benching in the 275-295 range.

-XC

exiledonmainstreet said...

One guy who has always baffled me is Babe Ruth. Talk about dad bods. And he was raised in an orphanage and trained to be a shirtmaker, so it's not like he spent his early years laboring in the fields or a factory. And it seems like his training regime consisted on drinking beer, eating hot dogs and screwing any available woman.

Yes, he was big for his time - 6'2" - but somehow managed to be tremendously strong without doing much to become strong, besides playing baseball. He has to be the most unathletic of all great athletes.

Today, pitchers can get away with being fat, but most position players cannot.

Rick said...

"Lady, I'm not an athlete. I'm a professional baseball player."

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/John_Kruk

Freeman Hunt said...

Perhaps interesting to look at but not at all attractive to touch.

Big Mike said...

What I'm calling fake is the obsessively sculpted and bulked up look. It's not the result you'd get from real work or an actual sport that is played as a game. Efron is supposed to be a swimmer in that movie, but that kind of body isn't useful for swimming.

@Althouse, go back to my challenge at 10:28. Efron's physique isn't much different from Ryan Lochte (on whom Efron's character is supposedly modeled) or Michael Phelps in his prime. There's one picture of Lochte versus Efron where Lochte is clearly the more ripped.

One area where Efron probably suffers next to Lochte or any other Olympic-class swimmer is in flexibility. Don't even think of swimming the 'fly unless you can stand up straight, reach your arms straight out to the sides, and then move them backwards until the backs of your hands touch. Then move them beyond that point. Don't think about breaststroke unless you can kneel down with your toes pointed straight back behind you, then lean backwards until your head touches the floor, then come back up unassisted. Repeat about twenty or thirty times. Note that IM swimmers like Phelps and Lochte need to have the muscular strength in each muscle group to swim every stroke, and have the flexibility required besides.

Bob Ellison said...

Charles Barkley has a dad bod, and can bench 350.

Bob Ellison said...

Barkley probably floats pretty well in water, too.

Lucien said...

The Rock even today returns to the WWE on occasion and does 20-30 minute matches, which is kind of like running a few miles interspersed with body slams, knee drops, kip-ups, the People's Elbow, and leaps off the top rope. Does he have the cardio-vascular fitness he had when he was doing 60 minute Hell in a Cell matches at major pay-per-views? Of course not. Age takes its toll on us all and he's clearly chosen to sacrifice some endurance to focus on his one-rep or three-rep max to enhance his visual impact in a movie.

But can't run a mile in 8 minutes? I second the earlier poster who said The Rock could run an 8 minute mile carrying Yancey Ward on his back.

David said...

Never saw the film but that's a great scene.

Clyde said...

Off-topic, but R.I.P., Gregg Allman.

Crossroads, seem to come and go, yeah.
The gypsy flies from coast to coast

Knowing many, loving none,
Bearing sorrow havin' fun,
But back home he'll always run
To sweet Melissa... mmm...

Freight train, each car looks the same, all the same.
And no one knows the Gypsy's name

No one hears his lonely sighs,
There are no blankets where he lies.
In all his deepest dreams the Gypsy flies
with sweet Melissa... mmm...

Again the morning's come,
Again he's on the run,
Sunbeams shining through his hair,
Appearing not to have a care.
Well, pick up your gear and Gypsy roll on, roll on.

Crossroads, will you ever let him go? (Lord, Lord)
Will you hide the dead man's ghost,
Or will he lie, beneath the clay,
or will his spirit float away?

But I know that he won't stay without Melissa.

Yes I know that he won't stay without Melissa.

Clyde said...

The Allman Brothers Band - Melissa

Robert Cook said...

"If you want real, Go see "bridge on the River Kwai" or "Picnic" where William Holden takes his shirt off. Or look up an old Weissmuller Tarzan move.

"Neither of those guys lifted anything heavier than a whiskey glass."


Weissmuller had been an Olympic swimmer.

rehajm said...

Gosling got that bod by not eating his cereal

Virgil Hilts said...

Am I the only one that is going to come out and say it? Its time we see a shirtless photo of Meade. I've always pictured LM as ripped ala Iggy Pop or Scott Glenn.
OTOH if LM does in fact have a man bod, better to leave us Meade fans with our illusions.

David said...

"One guy who has always baffled me is Babe Ruth. Talk about dad bods."

Ruth was leaner but less photographed earlier in his career. And he was a great athlete, with speed in his youth, quick feet (he was a wonderful dancer) and a strong arm. At age forty, diminished by time and bad habits, he went 4 for 4 with three home runs and 6 RBI in a game at Pittsburgh. His last home run cleared the right field roof at Forbes Field, an amazing feat. These were home runs 712, 713 and 714. His last. My dad .was at the game

Lucien said...

For me the best part of "Bridge of Spies" was the bare-knuckle fight scene where Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks were both shirtless (that and the car vs. motorcycle chase scene, of course).

Big Mike said...

Weissmuller had been an five time Olympic gold medalist.

Fixed it for you, Cookie.

David said...


"You put him out on the road and ask him to run a mile under 8 minutes, I dead certain he couldn't do it."

You would probably be wrong. You are comparing yourself to a truly exceptional athlete.


When I was Rock's age, I could run quite a few miles at once in under 8 minutes a mile. And I was a truly unexceptional athlete.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Rick said...
"Lady, I'm not an athlete. I'm a professional baseball player."

Except many of them are. I like the typical baseball player build. They look fit and strong without being freakishly tall or musclebound.

Marc Puckett said...

Then of course there is another sort of 'body modification', which came to mind because just yesterday at the Daily Mail there was an article about the 'Plastics of Hollywood'.

Bruce Hayden said...

Some of it is hormones, some is a lot of weight lifting, and some is just plastic surgery. Yesterday I was reading an article about a new TV show titled "The Plastics", which is about a bunch of people who have had (usually) massive plastic surgery in order to achieve their dream body image. "Ken Doll", for example had had his face done, of course, but also obviously had chest implants, abs implants, biceps, etc.

My partner is somewhat of an expert here in detecting what is going on. Her degree is in dance, had brothers and father who lifted (with her older brother having been big enough to have lifted with Arnold, and strong enough to intimidate every other guy in the HS to not touch her). On the flip side, her ex is a massive Swede, still one of the strongest men she has ever met, but far from cut. And, before me a bit, she dated a guy who was on hormones and spent 4 hrs a day working off his roid rage. Plus, she is very observant. She can typically detect fake tits at 100 feet, by the way they move and by the width of the woman's shoulder. And, yes, someone's real hair color. And, surprising to me, even a lot of cheek implants. I should ask her about labia sculpting, which is apparently popular these days.

Turns out that most of the six pack abs you see on TV and in the movies are apparently fake. And a lot of the sculpted chests and biceps. One way that she has is to look at how the muscles move. Or don't. And how balanced the bodies are. You usually don't get big pecs without big shoulders by lifting. Or biceps without triceps, etc. Roid junkies get big and nicely cut - but probably too well cut. For her this is noticeable well before they start showing weird facial features.

Tari said...

AA says "What I'm calling fake is the obsessively sculpted and bulked up look. It's not the result you'd get from real work or an actual sport that is played as a game."

Very true. The washboard stomach and huge pecs/shoulders usually don't get developed naturally, even in a weight room while lifting for a particular sport. In fact, the head trainer at my sons' high school has developed a "beach body workout" for the boys to do if they want, because no matter how much they lift for rugby, basketball, baseball, etc, they don't develop those muscles that much. The trainer developed this at the Air Force Academy, where apparently the cadet training didn't work those muscles either.

Marc Puckett said...

'Maybe people don't want to relate to real human beings anymore, and we're consuming these movies to help us adjust to the "uncanny valley" as we move ever closer to the time when we'll be happy to satisfy our sexual and emotional needs with robots.' This sentence of AA's is what I was directly responding to with the 'Plastics' link; but am too lazy to delete my original comment and change it to note this.

Bob Ellison said...

Years of pushing my dog away from the fridge have made my right calf muscles a terrible thing. Sometimes in bar fights I just raise my right leg, and guys all fall away.

It's a gift and a curse.

Marc Puckett said...

Ah, Bruce Hayden, I see that you noticed that article too. There are times when I don't at all regret not seeing television.

Lucien said...

For the record, there are two Luciens (which surprises me).

Being a steroid-beast became a thing in the 80s, with Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren being just a few examples. Joe Piscopo and Glen Fry were two non-actors who demonstrated the body-building culture of the time.

From the 90s on the trend faded, with guys like Bruce Willis showing that you could be an action hero without having a bodybuilder physique.

I'm not sure when the "jacked" trend restarted, but guys like Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and, yes, Dwayne Johnson, are evidence that it has returned. But there are plenty of actors like Chris Pine, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. who demonstrate that a "decent" physique is all that is required. A dad-bod or similar doesn't get you cast in a anything but comedies and Academy-award winning dramas.

Bob Ellison said...

I think, I think, as a marketeer, that the jacked thing has to do with whose butts they're putting in theater seats.

Theaters will go out of business soon. That's too bad. Another subject, off-topic.

Young women are the drivers of the market these days. Movie makers are trying to get those butts in those seats. Dad bods are not gonna do it. You must have ripped abs.

Quaestor said...

Everything is so fake now... Maybe we like fake.

Althouse snags the brass ring.

Authenticity used to be an important philosophical concept until the formerly fine arts dilettantes began to realize they were sawing through their own necks. Now it's meaningless. Some confused git gets his wiener snipped off and everybody is supposed to reinforce the fraud by respect his inane pronoun demands. Your fantasies ain't real. You can "self-identify" till you're blue in the face, but you ain't female if you got a Y chromosome. And that's just one example of our decadence.

Even people who people who spend twice as much for groceries as they ought in pursuit of the elusive organic nirvana are wallowing in deception. They claim very loudly that they're happy to blow their paychecks at Whole Foods in return for the "real" stuff. But of course, it's all a big fucking lie. Double blind tests consistently demonstrate that foodies can't tell the difference between the so-called organic veg and its mundane counterpart. More often than not they actually prefer the flavor of the "non-organic" apple, until the truth is revealed and they puke!

And then there's the recent hoo-haw about cultural appropriation. Man, that's bullshit that makes the barn mucking smell good by comparison. Before you moan and winge about cultural appropriation you'd best demonstrate to me you've got a culture, or I'll guffaw in your face.

AReasonableMan said...

Get off my lawn.

mockturtle said...

exiles reports: Except many of them are. I like the typical baseball player build. They look fit and strong without being freakishly tall or musclebound.

Well, the Yankees' Aaron Judge is 6'7" and 282 pounds.

mockturtle said...

But then he's not really 'typical'.

Ann Althouse said...

"A dad bod is not overweight and out of shape. It's someone in reasonable shape with a normal amount of body fat - the implication being they have too many other things going on to spend the time required for the perfect body."

Here's the dad bod as daringly displayed by the once-young Leonardo Di Caprio.

Is he overweight? I'd say he weighs too much for his level of muscle tone. Either turn that mass into something that looks good or shed it. Or be considered not that attractive. He's so cute, he may think he's over-cute and needs to take the edge off it. Soften up. Look like you don't care, like you can throw it away. You don't have to preserve your divinely good looks. That's the attitude I see in Leonardo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Am I the only one that is going to come out and say it? Its time we see a shirtless photo of Meade. I've always pictured LM as ripped ala Iggy Pop or Scott Glenn. OTOH if LM does in fact have a man bod, better to leave us Meade fans with our illusions."

See? It does matter!

Ann Althouse said...

"Then of course there is another sort of 'body modification', which came to mind because just yesterday at the Daily Mail there was an article about the 'Plastics of Hollywood'"

Yes, I saw that, and I think that is part of what I'm talking about re the uncanny valley and robots. Now, those people look scarily, disgustingly fake, but look at all the plastic surgeried movie stars that we are getting more and more used to. There's a look about the eyes and the cheeks and the mouth and the nose that used to scream plastic surgery, but now it's so common that we believe people look like that.

Personally, I don't like to watch fiction movies and TV shows anymore because the people all look alike. The ones who are supposed to be beautiful don't even read as beautiful because they all look too similar. It's become "average" to me. No one comes along and impresses me with beauty because there are no new ways to be beautiful anymore, just the pre-set same old way.

But I'm old. Those who are 30 or 40 or 50 years younger than me are seeing what's happening now quite differently, I believe. They are bonding emotionally with what is presented in the culture. Soon, robots will do

Ann Althouse said...

"I think the premise is wrong. Dad's aren't neglecting a sculpted physique out of complaceny. They've simply learned from women that their bank account is more attractive than their body, so they're bulking that up instead."

That doesn't deal with the issue of keeping an appropriate weight and decent muscle tone. No one was saying getting all sculpted was a good idea. Even if money weren't an issue, men who spend a lot of time in the gym looking at themselves in a mirror are probably not that interesting to be around. It's just not a matter of excelling in one area and doing nothing in the other areas. Even if you "bulk up" your bank account, it's not going to be that overwhelmingly big. Are you going to be a billionaire? Even if you are and you can use that to get someone great to marry you, what about the problem of her not being physically attracted to you? How would that work?

lgv said...

I don't get "fake" about Efron or Gosling unless they had implants. Getting your body in great shape isn't fake. It is still real. Would shouldn't conflate physique generated through exercise and diet with plastic surgery.

The fake look of Hollywood plastic surgery is because it becomes unnatural looking. Cosmetic surgery can make us look like ourselves 5-10 years ago. The biggest problem with west coast cosmetic surgery is that stars just don't want to look 30 at age 40. They want to look 30 forever at it just can't be done.

Alex said...

Even if you are and you can use that to get someone great to marry you, what about the problem of her not being physically attracted to you? How would that work?

Ann - you seriously overestimate what attracts modern women to men. They couldn't care less about muscles. Only a good looking face, fat wallet and no erectile dysfunction. Muscles are absolutely not required.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann - you seriously overestimate what attracts modern women to men. They couldn't care less about muscles. Only a good looking face, fat wallet and no erectile dysfunction. Muscles are absolutely not required."

She's lying to you, Alex.

mockturtle said...

Alex asserts: Ann - you seriously overestimate what attracts modern women to men. They couldn't care less about muscles. Only a good looking face, fat wallet and no erectile dysfunction. Muscles are absolutely not required.

Wrong, Alex. A fat wallet? What kinds of women do you hang with? A well-built man is more attractive than a scrawny one, although I don't like the body-builder type. Too much attention to one's body smacks of vanity, a turn-off, like gold chains and pinky rings.

mockturtle said...

There was a survey some years ago that found women preferred men with a slight paunch to those with six-pack abs.

Rabel said...

"She's lying to you, Alex."

Excellent.

Michael K said...

you ain't female if you got a Y chromosome. And that's just one example of our decadence.

Unless you have testosterone insensitivity syndrome.

One of the more famous movie stars is an example and she looks terrific in spite of the Y chromosome.

n.n said...

Today, it's "your beautiful just the way you are". No judgment... sort of, kind of, maybe.

I prefer the traditional standard: strive. Do what you can, when you can, if you can to improve yourself, for yourself, and for others, especially your spouse, including: physical health, mental health, physical appearance, career, household chores, etc.

Lucien said...

Michael K, you can't leave us hanging like that. Name please?

On a different note, at age 45 I can do 20 pull-ups and 60 push-ups in one set. My wife keeps asking me who I'm trying to impress. I keep telling her I'm trying to impress her. She keeps saying she'd be more impressed if I took the trash out without being asked.

Despite that, I'm pretty sure she likes the things that go along with my being able to do 20 pull-ups at 45 years old.

For the avoidance of doubt Alex, I have a big wallet too but when she married me I had a small wallet. I also couldn't do 20 pull-ups when she married me; go figure.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Do men still have hair on their chests? I know swimmers and body builders can't but what about other men? Do they shave?

EMyrt said...

buwaya said...

Versailles is very nice, and given a sufficient staff of servants I would quite enjoy living there. Even more so if you have a brilliant court of clever people, plus a constant stream of new clever people staying over. And a vast range of amusements, including running an empire.
I should try identifying as Louis XIV.
5/27/17, 12:17 PM

How's your ballet? Could you dazzle as Apollo? Louis and Lully and Rameau and the ballet master who's name I can never remember invented ballet.

Lucien said...

Based on the Logan movie, it looks like Hugh Jackman has the hairy chest in effect, as does the actor who plays Superman.

Personally I've got a little bit, but not much - genetically I guess I don't do the full "cardigan sweater" thing. I guess I should count myself lucky that the vast majority of my hair is on top of my head, rather than on my chest and back.

Freeman Hunt said...

Being strong is definitely attractive. Being ripped is an intersting visual effect but not so much attractive. (Attractive in the sense of actually attracting, not as in causing admiration.)

EMyrt said...

Physiques and body hair follow fads and fashion.

1. History lesson. I was a grad student in physical anthropology in the 70s. I was into bodybuilding and lifted myself in the early 80s. I read up on the history of bodybuilding and it's interesting to see the changes in body type from The Great Sandow (Ziegfeld act, he knew a thing or three about pretty bodies) through guys like Mike Metzner and Frank Zane (whom I met irl, only 5'10", but perfectly proportioned) in the pre-steroid era, through Arnold, who at 6'4" was much taller than the previous generation. He won multiple Mr. Olympia contests and basically shut out the old style.

2. Film history example. Sean Connery weight-trained in the 60s before it was fashionable, it was a novel selling point in his James Bond performances. And he still had chest (and back!) hair. The short -lived Russian soy in the opening sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me, who was short-listed for the JB role (Roger Moore got it) has great back hair in he's sex scene with Barbara Bach. You won't see that now!

EMyrt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMyrt said...

Pubic hair waxes and wanes, too.

In classical Athens, women singed or plucked all body hair.
Pussies were Piggies.
Aristophanes has some politically incorrect and hilarious piggy jokes.

Remember how everyone was all over hairy in the 70s? (see my previous post)

Today, and I do blame ubiquitous porno,
all body hair is banished once again.
Hairy has become a specialty kink taste.
The youngsters are bodyhairless, mostly through waxing (ouch).
Full Brazilian means no pubic hair.
Even this jaded libertine (ret.) was shocked to discover
that many young women and men bleach their anuses.

Autre temps, autre mores.

I am Myrt

EMyrt said...

Finally, I believe we are seeing the confluence of deep phenomena in human perception of physical human beauty.

First, there's the evolutionary psychology of sexual attraction. Sexual selection posits the exaggeration of traits visually appealing to the other sex (I leave out homosexual attraction for the sake of brevity, but it's a fascinating side issue).

Ceteris paribus (in the absence of powerful selection pressures to the contrary, like nutrition stress or disease resistance), we'll see bigger tits, bigger butts and a large hip-to-waist ratio in women and bigger pecs and shoulders, visible abs in men. As we are seeing.

Second, these biological preferences are distorted further by the ubiquity of two-dimensional images.
Most of us see far more nude or scantily clothed bodies on the screen in 2D than we do in real life.
This is the opposite of the situation in ancient Athens, where men saw each other naked frequently and women naked only in bed or brothel, while paintings were unusual attempts to render idealized bodies realistically.

I believe our Life the Movie, screen-based store of images fuels a growing preference for unreal, cartoonish body configurations.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Piper Laurie on Twin Peaks or Twin Peaks or "Twin Peaks" or twin peaks or twinpeaks or et al however you liketh epically totally awesomely bestestestestest.

Blame her, strong as Betty Davis, she can take it.

I could tell by the rounded cheeks, and on my second viewing, though indeed years apart.

Or did my brain...

Guildofcannonballs said...

"That gum you like, is going to come back in style."

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://youtu.be/1Ow8Ci3EmBM

Ya got any gum?

Hahahahahahahahahahahhaaaahhhaaahhhaaaaahhhhhhhh

Ya got any gum?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Jealous?

Well I wouldn't spend my time trying to find a diaphragm."

Wowsuperultramegagood.

And I still hate me the lawyering.

Indeed, all here at this magnanimous gentry of genius, why not refer to heretofore common brutality hence witnessed so less eagerly?

Is it because I am racist? I don't like the blacks, unless like those common with names and junk, ergo I am too blame, like Bob.

Well, 'tiss a slog so tough I think a man like the crack emcee, now only older probably but better than my only-getting-older ass, abides.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Twin being other-than-mono theism us a bent if one didn't have, however unbeknownst, and Devilish, which is fully.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I am sorry to have to do this, but my above comment is one of the best to ever appear on this blog.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Abundantly Twin is why Coen's later made the Adrian Barnum flophouse grinder Man With No Name.

No no no

No Country For Old Men

Yeah yeah that's it

Guildofcannonballs said...

Some of the smartest, IQ and worth in terms of property and then after influence, people around tell ya, but ya don't.

Tender is the death into that silent night, by God hopefully holy heart.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The original contains within it more than we could possibly conceive, yet Rock beat Commies so much they liked it.

You know Kid Rock sang "You know my name is Rock."

Guildofcannonballs said...

Gumming works Socialism and Socialism is all, 100%, gumming alternated.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Better murder me with gum than look in my eye.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The real Peaks are et al

Again: et al


Et al

Guildofcannonballs said...

I shoulda said wishfully wishfully not full of devil.

But I did say full of devil stipuff.

Guildofcannonballs said...

If the Stranger Sam Elliot didn't evoke living the High Life both ways, by God six ways from Sunday I been muffled.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Ain't complaining so much as noticing y'all: You fucks ain't noticed we been and be and being noticing?

What fuck The you?

Guildofcannonballs said...

The original contains within it more than we could possibly conceive, yet Rock beat Commies so much they liked it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The original contains within it more than we could possibly conceive, yet Rock beat Commies so much they liked it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The original contains within it more than we could possibly conceive, yet Rock beat Commies so much they liked it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://youtu.be/1lXXvUIEy2o

Pantera can tell all y'all's 'bout it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Sure Trump,was an idiot and a fool to conceive y'all might have any, any damn smidgen, of the faith.

However tired after the batterings,
However worn so broken.

Bereft of substance faith has always stood fast.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Assume no all that might have been as a given erases abortion: that which can never be erased.

I support it via my life And Ought I Die For It? I know not but absolutely don't believe so to be this case.

Guildofcannonballs said...

They denied me knowledge and told me have faith;
They denied me faith and told me to believe.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Blogger Guildofcannonballs said...
Twin being other-than-mono theism us a bent if one didn't have, however unbeknownst, and Devilish, which is fully.
5/27/17, 9:30 PM
Blogger Guildofcannonballs said...
I am sorry to have to do this, but my above comment is one of the best to ever appear on this blog.
5/27/17, 9:31 PM
But the best is exactly like the worst.

Virtually Unknown said...

Starting with "however" it was a little bit clever. I read one in 50 of guido's comments, at the most though.

JAORE said...

The Strength and Conditioning Coach of Men's Basketball at Kansas, (my beloved college) is Andrea Hudy. After a few years under her care they are RIPPED. Yet they have amazing quickness and agility. She is one of the leading figures in scientific methods of S&C coaching. Done properly both muscular and athletic is quite possible.

Now, where are those chips?

urbane legend said...

mockturtle said...
I'm with you, khesan! A good script is hard to find in newer movies.

So is a plot.