How to Understand a Flaw in Our Society

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Reader Comments (22)

Fight Club is about a gang of muscular shirtless men lead by Brad Pit. So in hindsight is it at all surprising that Fight Club set the benchmark for male beauty?

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian

It's a sign of something that whenever I see a reference to a movie called "The Avengers", I have to remind myself that it's not about Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed.

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Does society even exist?

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllen

Yep, all three. Is that so wrong?

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike N

Again you nail it in panel three.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersivak

This may be the most brilliant comic you've done. Which is saying a lot, as you've done a lot of amazing comics.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRes_Ipsa

Too close to home.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSlim

It was my wife, not I, who rented Avengers and bought a copy, and will watch it. Same with most of the rest of the modern cape operas.
Yes, I'm sure.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

We're not supposed to talk about Fight Club.

Didn't you get the memo?

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

I'm not up on my comic book superhero movies. Like Robert, when I hear 'Avengers', I think of a guy in a bowler and a woman in a catsuit. Is the Avengers movie the one with a character who has an electric-blue wang?

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Ultimately the blame rests on the suitably broad shoulders of Eugen Sandow, who in the closing years of the 19th century shocked and thrilled Victorian society by demonstrating that it was possible for the male body to resemble those Ancient Greek statues which had previously been assumed to be physically unachievable idealized exaggerations.

He was not only the first bodybuilder, but the first beefcake pinup (for both sexes - apparently he swung both ways). Without Sandow, Bond would still look like Sean Connery, Batman would still look like Adam West, and you'd never have heard of Big Arnie because he'd just be Arnie, and would have to get by on his acting talents alone. Obviously there's a case for and against Sandow being a Good Thing - discuss.

PS - In case you're wondering, this is what Eugen Sandow looked like; pretty impressive for 1894. (WARNING! - Photo of man literally dressed in figleaf, so possibly NSFW.)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Falk%2C_Benjamin_J._%281853-1925%29_-_Eugen_Sandow_%281867-1925%29-_1894-cropped.jpg

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCount Otto Black

I am a woman and went to see the Avengers, and the Thor movies and the Ironman movies. Do you really think they are not aiming at woman when they keep showing Thor shirtless for no good reasons (I mean other than because he's nice to look at) ?

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentervalval

I suppose we expect our heroes to be larger than life, ripped musclemen that look like they could punch through walls and so on.
It just makes them more impressive, and humans like being impressed.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJerden

@ Allen, "Does society even exist" Wow! What a thought, it smacked me in the face like a giant yoga ball!
And when I think on it, "society", in my mind, is everyone not including me or people I know personally. But if it gets perceived that way for everyone - then what/ where/ who is this "society"?

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoseph

It's all an insidious plot!
They keep us picking at ourselves and eachother so we won't band togetheer and demand better writing, acting, and directing for our money!

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Of the two of us in our marriage, I'm the one obsessed with comic book movies, and I'm the one who runs Nerds Against Humanity on Tumblr. I'm the wife.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

Well, that article is a bit eye-opening for me. How depressing.

May 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I just don't get why Brad Pitt is supposed to be the epitome of male beauty. He doesn't do much for me. George Clooney, on the other hand - very hot!

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKrisL

I'm glad I'm not the only one to call out Fight Club for this.

Is that what a man is supposed to look like?

No, he's supposed to look like Brad Pitt.

My ex-girlfriend had four copies of this movie, until I bought her a BlueRay player.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I too have trouble remembering that "The Avengers" are no longer Mr. Steed and Mrs. Peel. And I don't like action movies, so apparently I'm missing out on the New Hunkiness. I can easily live with that. I do think female actors still have it tougher, because there is a much stronger expection that they will look hot no matter what kind of movie they're in.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

@Anne - But it's progress, towards an equally unachievable ideal for everyone! Isn't that inspiring?

Equality. Everyone suffers. Which is better than a few not suffering, in exchange for everyone else suffering more, don't get me wrong.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJerden

By pure coincidence I was Google image searching beard competition winner Paul Roof, when a picture of Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof came up. At least some of the arguments in that article are invalid: http://thoughtcatalog.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/paul_newman.jpeg?w=584

June 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGus Snarp

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