Archive for the ‘Signs and symbols’ Category

Adventures in homomasculinity: the pink jock

October 16, 2019

(A lot about jockstraps and their contents, so not to everyone’s taste.)

Following on my postings about butch fagginess in men’s underwear, more intersections of styles of masculinity with styles of homosexuality, still with men’s underwear as signs of these styles.

The background, from my 10/14 posting “Space Candy”


(#1) A (candy) pink jock in PUMP!’s playful Space Candy line, with my note: “a pink jockstrap nicely combines max-macho in the underwear world with high-faggy in color symbolism”

Pink jockstraps (which deserve a separate posting [this is it]) generally take us off the end of the pier at the butch-faggy boardwalk: what we’ve got there is usually a stone-solid muscle queen, a guy with the best of male musculature, in a way-high homo presentation of self.

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Space Candy

October 14, 2019

(Highly sexualized men’s underwear, leading to blunt talk of men’s bodies and mansex. Lots of other content, but this is enough to put it out of bounds for kids and the sexually modest.)

Today’s Daily Jocks ad, for a new line of underwear for the PUMP! company — the image is meant to be outrageous, fey, macho, and funny, all at once — with their ad copy:


(#1) The all new Space Candy Collection from PUMP! has launched. A new take on PUMP’s classic shape, available in Space Candy Pink & Purple. [available as a boxer (boxer brief), (low-rise) brief, and jock]

An image crammed with content — incuding those little candy-themed patches on the front (on the hip or pouch) and the back (on one cheek) of the garments.

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Der Migros-Sprecher Gabriel Zwicky

October 9, 2019

In the Swiss German-language daily Blick, a 10/6 story by Marc Iseli, “Neues Gastro-Konzept kommt nach Zürich: Migros bringt den Metzger zum Anfassen” (‘A new gastronomic concept comes to Zürich: Migros makes the butcher accessible’), about a new program — some combination of Retail, Gastronomie und Event — that is somehow supposed to bring the consumer closer to the producers of food (the butcher, the baker, the fisherman, the farmer), at least in the giant supermarket by the main railway station in Zürich:


(#1) From the butcher’s hands to yours, in the new “Meet Food” (yes, with a name borrowed from English) program (note: I didn’t choose this photo; Blick did; I will, however, inventory it in my files under “Phallicity: The Wurst”, where it deserves some sort of vividness trophy)

The story is about this still not fully defined program, but its primary interest for me is that it comes from der Migros-Sprecher (‘the Migros spokesperson’) Gabriel Zwicky, who gets his name in the news quite a lot, Migros being a very big thing in Switzerland. Zwickys, we are everywhere.

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Up to the line, and sometimes over

October 1, 2019

(About men’s bodies in very plain terms, and about the fantasy world of steamy male underwear models, and a bit about the social and sexual practices of gay male life, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Refections on yesterday’s Daily Jocks ad, officially for a Varsity mesh shoulder harness for men, but also featuring a mesh trunk — and a sexual gesture involving that trunk, which together with the model’s facial expression frames the scene as a fantasy of cruising for sex (between men).

The gesture skirts the line between covering the genitals and revealing them and also, independently, the line between protecting the genitals and fondling them, so it involves us in the question of what is permissible for display in various social contexts (in particular, in WordPress blogs like this one); the central photo might well be over the line in WP, so it appears here with the details of the gesture fuzzed over (though it’s reproduced unaltered in an AZBlogX posting “Skirting the lines” accompanying this one, along with another problematic photo and three unquestionably WP-unsuitable images).

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The sea eagle

September 30, 2019

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine (in print) was “The Voyages Issue: Photographic dispatches from the extremities of the earth”, with one report from remote parts of Norway: “Majesty on the Wing: Enormous and indefatigable, sea eagles turn their daily hunt into a thrilling display of aerial dominance”. The introductory photo:


(#1) (photographs by Paolo Pellgrin, text by Helen Macdonald)

Notable to me because the sea eagle, or ern(e), is my onomastic totem animal, Arnold being etymologically the ‘eagle’ stem arn-/ern- + a variant of the ‘adult, strong’ stem alt-/ald-. I am eagle-strong (you may snicker at this; most people do). (In defense of my parents, Arnold is a common Swiss-German name; probably no one in the family had any idea of its etymology.)

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Musclemen from Mars

September 29, 2019

(There will be rampant male shirtlessness. Just a friendly warning, or an invitation, depending on your tastes.)

It’s a Zippy strip (today’s!). It’s another gender note (about masculinity). It’s yet another shirtless posting (shirtlessness as a prime masculinity display, in fact.) It’s about umliterature (physique magazines, in particular). And about camp (Flash Gordon). And of course, since the arousing shirtless campy musclemen are from Mars (or possibly Mongo), about SF. And finally, tucked in there inconspicuously in the last panel is an antique Griffithian self-referential surprise (from 1973):

(#1)

Male superheroes are extravagant embodiments of masculinity: they are, to start with, embodiments of great human power (conventionally associated with men), and then they have superhuman powers beyond that; their costumes are designed to encase their bodies, but tightly, so as to suggest, reveal, or exaggerate every bit of gendered anatomy (the broad shoulders, the musculature of the arms, torso, and thighs, and the genital package). (Beyond the powers and the costumes, there are the conventionally hyper-masculine faces.)

The strip begins with superheroes on this planet, but it ends, in the lower right corner, with (hunky) superheroes in space — “Musclemen from Mars” is what the Dingburgers are reading — and it turns out that space-traveling superheroes (as exemplified by Flash Gordon) are given to frequent bouts of shirtlessness (mostly while performing their feats of manly derring-do, but sometimes during the virtually obligatory shirtless torture scenes).

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Chocolate-covered amidst the statuary

September 21, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the shore of Lake Erie, in the roadside realm of Dolly Dimples (but, startlingly, it will end with the minstrel-show character Rastus and the Cream of Wheat box; you never know where things will go these days):

(#1)

DD is actually selling chocolates, statuary, and tchotchkes, not hamburgers. Her head is indeed unrealistically gigantic, but even with this selling point she’s probably not going to leave Silver Lake NY to pursue a failed movie career in L.A. (note the whimsical tense-aspect-mood semantics of intending to pursue a failed career).

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Revisiting 33: the ambiguity of the truffle

September 5, 2019

Just popped up on Facebook, this old (1/30/07) Bizarro cartoon:

(#1)

See my 8/22/19 posting “Sexy Dark Swiss”, with its section on truffles, fungal and chocolate.

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Annals of category labels: food from a hole in the ground

August 28, 2019

… or edible roots (with root covering any underground plant organ), or whatever you call the stuff. In the 7/30 One Big Happy, Ruthie, confronted with /hol fudz/, takes it to be just such a label, hole foods, when her mother is referring instead to a grocery store, Whole Foods:

(#1)

The conventional (semi-technical) label for the category in question is root vegetables.

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Annals of phallicity: symbol and simulacrum

August 22, 2019

(Warning: consider the subject; penises will be under discussion, so some will want to skip this posting.)

I’ll start with the logo of Herb’s Plumbing & Heating, 2562 Noble Rd., Cleveland OH:


(#1) Brawny man, a plumber, with a big wrench — the symbol of his trade, also (like wrenches in general) a phallic symbol, intensifying the masculinity of the image

This is garden-variety phallicity. But on Herb’s trucks, we get something more substantial: a phallic simulacrum, a representation of a penis (which is, however, also symbolically a wrench):

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