Monday, May 11, 2009

on gyming it up 6

I never did finish this did I? The saga continues...

Our culture has created certain ideals for each of us to live up to. There exists for men a certain ideal image not in some metaphysical realm but in the world of the social. Call it a Social Form, if you will. Now unlike Plato’s forms these particular ideals are subject to change over time, much like language. The antecedents of the ideal Social Form for men were given voice during the Enlightenment period. Human well being (health) and incredibly optimistic views about our abilities to manipulate nature (power, some might say hubris) have lead to the culturally conditioned Social Form that visually confirms to us whether or not a given man is in possession of these attributes. A toned (fatless) body with generous muscle definition denotes manliness evoking a sense of power, vitality and well being; this is the Enlightenment reified.

Our culture is saturated with signs which give birth to the Social Form. As this composite model of what is desirable becomes ingrained in the value system of a society, we can decide whether or not to conform to the form presented. That is, we may attempt to simulate the image. The images are everywhere we see them on bill boards, and advertisements showing us what the epitome of manliness looks like. The cultural theorist Baudrillard applies an interesting interpretation to the concept of simulation. At its most advanced level simulations no longer duplicate reality they replace it. Early civilizations attempted to reproduce scenes from nature, as technology advanced more elaborate signs and artifacts became possible. The ideal male body seen in this light is a simulacra, when one attempts to simulate its Social Form a piece of reality is not being reproduced but a new object that is created replaces the former figment of reality. We now have entered the hyper-real, the real that is more real than real, the manly that is more manly than manly.

This is me re-enforcing the stereotype:

 (except I can't remember what I've done at the gym these past few weeks so the following is an approximate)

bench 87.5/2*8,4

chins, dead hang (me)/3*8

seated row 65/3*10 

front squat 90/3*5

I have found that training in-season is exceptionally more difficult than the off-season. It hurts. It really does.

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