Re: Hey, men: sex can be fun!

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I like the deep thought in the link:
In contrast, these old magazines pit man against nature or other men; consumption has not yet colonized the idea of masculinity.

I'm still trying to figure out the symbolism of the woman with her blouse ripped open recoiling in horror from all of the snakes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:10 AM
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How funny that the one called Stag (with the monkeys on the lifeboat) is the only one without a headline about sex.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:20 AM
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Actually, someone follows that up with the observation that these magazines are primarily about getting you to consume the magazine itself (delicious!) rather than about advertising for other products that you should consume. Thus, stories about experiences are substantially more visible than stories about products, and even stories about consumables (those foreign girls who make better brides, for example) are more about the category generally than about a specific service procuring women. I thought that was a nice distinction, actually.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:23 AM
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3 is to 1...sigh.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:23 AM
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Weasels ripped my flesh! Flying rodents ripped my flesh! Jesus!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:23 AM
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My masculinity must be entirely colonized by consumption because the issue of True with the headline "Flying rodents ripped my flesh!" immediately reminded me of this famous album.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:24 AM
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And note that 3 both begins and ends with "actually".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:24 AM
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Damm. Nosflow pwned my flesh.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:25 AM
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this famous album.

Whose cover was based on a similarly-titled story from Man's Life.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:26 AM
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1
I'm still trying to figure out the symbolism of the woman with her blouse ripped open recoiling in horror from all of the snakes.

Isn't it obvious? The couple had made some alone-time in the middle of the swamp and were getting busy when snakes swarmed them.

Alternatively, those snakes look nearly black.

It's hard to pick which cover is the craziest/funniest/most mystifying but the one with the snapping turtles must rank pretty close to the top. An article teaser "Masculine inadequacies drive women nuts!" just happens to appear on the cover with the picture of the guy fighting the least frightening animals of all the covers. I mean, I get that turtles can snap, and they swim more quickly than they walk, but even so turtles seem way easier to get away from than all the rest. If turtles pose a lethal threat to you, acting inadequate is about what I'd expect.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:27 AM
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3: Yes, but buying magazines is much cheaper than buying a new wardrobe or some CK stink water.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:29 AM
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5, 6: or of the (rather good) travel writer Tim Cahill, whose articles have been collected in three books: "Jaguars Ripped My Flesh", "A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg" and "Pecked to Death by Ducks". All deliberately emulating men's magazine titles.

It is a bit pathetic to draw conclusions like "They are a window into a time when being a man was clearly a very distinct achievement, but much less related to consumption than it is today" based entirely on the covers of the magazines, rather than their contents.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:29 AM
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Then: Foreign Girls Make Better Brides
Now: Foreign Girls Make Better High-End Consumer Electronics


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:30 AM
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12: It's true that Sociological Images operates at a rather low level of proof and a rather high level of speculation. As far as I know, it's aimed at undergraduates in beginning media studies courses, so the discussion is about what you'd expect.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:32 AM
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It's not written by undergraduates in beginning media studies courses, though, is it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:34 AM
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15: I've chosen not to speculate about that in the interests of politeness, but it's one plausible explanation.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:36 AM
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If those crabs are cannibals, how come they are attacking the dude instead of each other?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:42 AM
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They're attacking his crabs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:43 AM
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These are great.

Two of the blurbs are "I'm teaching my kid to fight dirty" and "Don't be a sucker- Cheat!"

I''ve just started The Worst Journey in the World by this dude, partly because the stubborn will-against-all-odds mindset that led to the disaster is pretty close to home for me.

While I don't think about fighting bears, I do daydream about solitary and dangerous places pretty often. I am honestly unsure about what to tell my kid about always playing by the rules.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 9:46 AM
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10: White woman menaced by disembodied black cocks?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:05 AM
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I am honestly unsure about what to tell my kid about always playing by the rules.

I intend to tell my kids my personal approach to rules, which is to evaluate the rule and evaluate the stakes, and proceed accordingly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:09 AM
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A Quibble:

The linked line reads "a collection of Post World War I men's magazine covers." They are clearly post WWII, since they reference Nazis all over the place. So, while technically true, very misleading. This is not the "Lost Generation", this is the conformist 50's.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:14 AM
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Why marry a virgin? - Man's Conquest for November

Because only the truly desperate will put up with a house full of killer crabs?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:15 AM
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They are clearly post WWII, since they reference Nazis all over the place.

Why does the presence of Nazis make them post WWII?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:19 AM
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Now that we're talking about dates, it really hit me that there is no year on any of these covers. Yet, the month is on most of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:23 AM
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re: 24

Well, at least in the US, post 1940, no?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:23 AM
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More on the actual date of the magazines:

I wonder if these were supposed to appeal to men too young to have fought in the Great Patriotic War. Shades of "gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day".

Big difference between now and then as to number of people in uniform, obvs.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:25 AM
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22: Well, some are clearly post-WWII. The one that talks about H-bombs, for example. On others, it looks probable but not certain, and on some there's no evidence of that at all. On the cover with the crabs, I see no clue to the date, nor the one with the black snakes, the one with the monkeys or the one with the giant turtles. I'd assume that the ones talking about Communists came from after WWII, but there were Red scares before then too, of course.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:26 AM
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9, wait, are you saying that the magazines provided both weasel-based and flying-rodent-based flesh ripping?


Posted by: HamLove | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 10:54 AM
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3: Actually, someone follows that up with the observation that these magazines are primarily about getting you to consume the magazine itself (delicious!) rather than about advertising for other products that you should consume. Thus, stories about experiences are substantially more visible than stories about products, and even stories about consumables (those foreign girls who make better brides, for example) are more about the category generally than about a specific service procuring women. I thought that was a nice distinction, actually

Sorry to quote at length, but I'm interested. A couple of thoughts: we aren't going to be able to tell from the covers what the content is; there may be sidebar ads all over the interior. I'd like to look at one of these things -- I have a handful of semi-racy women's mags from the era (sample cover line: "He Gave Me Good Loving", with secondary substory teaser "Jim! I Can't!", this featuring a cover image of a woman with blouse slightly undone, head tossed back, in the arms of a man attempting to look intently into her eyes.) I haven't really looked at one of the men's versions.

Secondly -- again just a thought -- wasn't this an era in which print magazines were just beginning to expand their market, and doing a fair amount of experimenting with what markets there might be for theretofore verboten subject like "Why Marry A Virgin" and what's great about the girls in Miami Beach or San Antonio? Were there also changes in the technology involved in producing paper mags -- pulps?

I don't know much about the historical progression of the magazine industry in this regard, but obviously there's a great deal of study out there. There's the consumerism angle, yes, but also the slow disintegration of the divide between public and private, not to mention the red scare that's in play in a number of covers depicted on that webpage.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:15 AM
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Sex can be fun!

But simulated sex is forbidden, at least at the prom.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:16 AM
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Jim! I can't...

...Griswold v. Connecticut is still 12 years in the future!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:22 AM
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From the linked page's linked page:

The magazines only cost 25 cents, and their insides were filled with cheap, pulpy pages printed only in black and white and packed full of ads for correspondence courses, baldness cures, and fitness programs.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:26 AM
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packed full of ads for correspondence courses

Mostly for art schools that had to give-up classroom instruction because the students didn't like it when the instructor used big words like "homoerotic subtext."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:37 AM
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33: Sidebar ads weren't so much what I was thinking of--more the men's magazines that I see at the supermarket whose covers are about purchasing fairly specific products--"We Test Some Small Expensive Manly Electronics", or "Equipment Required For Exotic Pursuit" or "Custom Suits: Are They Worth It?" or "The I-Phone Ap That Shows Sexxxy Women", etc etc. The point of purchasing the magazine is not so much to read about the flying snakes or killing bears with a pistol but to read about how to acquire and deploy suits, electronics, cars, fitness equipment, etc. Note that I'm not arguing for a total lack of overlap between men's pulps of the 40s through early 60s (which is what those covers look like to me) but for a change in emphasis.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:39 AM
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Also, the fantasies depicted on the pulp covers seem to be killing things, adventure and proximity to attractive women while having adventure. (And if you look at SF pulp covers, it's clear that magazines could run more pin-up filled covers during this period.) Although expensive-product-acquisition-and-deployment is mostly a fantasy (I assume) for men's magazine readers, it's still a big enough fantasy that it makes the cover headlines.

I'm not sure why this is a controversial topic. Is it really that unexpected that men perform masculinity differently now than in 1945? Or that the increasing availability of consumer products affects gender performance? Or that in a consumption-based economy popular magazines will be substantially about consumption?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:45 AM
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I don't read mens magazines, but I am really wanting an iPhone. I'm not sure why, but I'll probably get one as soon as I can think of a rationalization for spending the money.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:46 AM
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35: IOW modern men's magazines are about the appearance and accoutrements fitting a certain model of manliness while the old school mags are about the actions associated their model of manliness. Maybe?

You're always better off selling someone something that promises immediate access to their aspirations than something that (however accurately) indicates that attaining ones' ideal self is a monstrous pain in the ass and a constant uphill struggle. It's much easier to buy an electric ball-shaver than to practice for combat with flying rodents.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:50 AM
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35: I take your point. Are the men's magazines you see at the supermarket catering to the same type of audience as these pulps of the 40s-60s? Genuine question. I want to say they're not, but I don't know ... what would be the 40s-60s era magazine wondering whether custom suits are worth it?

I think I'm just pushing back a little -- or just unsure -- because the 50s were, after all, the era of burgeoning consumerism. Primarily in the form of the suburban house? I may think that only because I've seen mostly women's mags.

Cocktail parties! They were all wanting to throw cocktail parties! That wasn't so much about fighting off rabid turtles in the swamp.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:51 AM
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37: That's precisely how I feel about a very expensive pair of brogue boots in navy leather that I plan to order. My rationalization will almost certainly involve winter plus the economic crisis--society is collapsing, so when I'm living in misery in a Cormac McCarthy landscape, I will definitely need sturdy, comfortable boots with a storm-welted sole. Besides, after cannibals have...er...ripped my flesh, then they can take my boots.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:51 AM
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40: I bought more high tech snow boots this winter and the improvement in foot temperature/slippage was through the roof. Get some boots, but the leather ones are pretty heavy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:54 AM
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Given where they filmed the movie, I am living in a Cormac McCarthy landscape.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:54 AM
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39: Difficult to say. I would guess that there's some overlap, in that these are not magazines that are aimed at people who really buy custom suits or fancy speedboats or similar and they're not really aimed at hobbyists.

The 50s would certainly be an era of expanding consumption, yeah, but it's really the sixties (as I know in minute detail thanks to Thomas Frank's dissertation, The Conquest of Cool when a specific form of masculine consumption of clothes and little status objects really kicks in. Part of that is the evolution of production--shipping and machines get much more sophisticated and flexible by the sixties in response to the boom in the fifties.

Also, you need the production before you have the status/performance anxiety about consumption. How precisely you signal your social identity through consuming the correct Scotch or brand of leisure suit--that's a question for when there are choices available. (Although you probably would signal social identity through consuming the correct magazines at a much earlier point--the magazine functioning more for itself than as a vector for ads)

I don't know whether magazines in the fifties would really discuss custom suits--I would guess that the people getting the custom suits (and not just the neighborhood tailor in an immigrant neighborhood for example) would be of a class where that knowledge was passed on informally. As consumption broadens, the informal knowledge of how to consume "correctly" is needed by people who don't have access to the informal information--nouveau riches, people seeking membership in a subculture, people taking up a new profession or moving to a new region, people hoping to class climb.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 11:59 AM
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It is funny that the lad mags have gone back to peekaboo shots, although now they feature starlets and popstars as opposed to strippers.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:06 PM
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Covers with dates:

http://www.normansaunders.com/MnsAdv1.html

I'd say they were mostly aimed at men who wanted to have some imaginary WW2 or Korean war adventures mixed in with sexual fantasies. As I remember it, the consumption of goodies was a very small part of their content, Playboy was the fount of that stuff with Esquire the precursor.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:12 PM
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45: That more near topless Nazi women than I've seen in a long time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:18 PM
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38 is right.

36: I'm not sure why this is a controversial topic. Is it really that unexpected that men perform masculinity differently now than in 1945? Or that the increasing availability of consumer products affects gender performance? Or that in a consumption-based economy popular magazines will be substantially about consumption?

Oh, it's not controversial, and the same thing is true for performance of women's femininity.

I was mostly interested in the fact that, let's face it, men of the 40s-60s were not actually needing to fight off pits of snakes, except in their minds. Or, they were being told that they needed to do that, metaphorically, and that resonated for them. Such narratives would not work so much these days, except insofar as we're willing to read the having of gadgets and custom-made suits as a fighting off of ... what? It's a form of seizing control against the forces of chaos, in any case.

Has the actual model of manliness changed? I couldn't say.

It would be hilarious to see modern mags depicting a GQ type wielding an iPhone in order to zap! zap! zap! the foes of (what?) confusion via satellite or something. The requisite images were already there in the 60s. Zap!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:18 PM
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46 should probably have another verb towards the beginning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:19 PM
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Man, those covers just keep getting better as you scroll down. Interesting how the guy fighting off the snakes takes the opportunity to paw his (camping date? swamp bride?) rather than using both hands for snake grappling.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:21 PM
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Oh, man, my comments keep crossing with yours, Frowner.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:24 PM
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Lord in Heaven these are amazing.

I particularly love the one where topless dude is fighting off the killer flying rodents. Headline: "Today's Threat: Teens in Black Leather Jackets."

I would totally read these over Details.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:30 PM
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It would be hilarious to see modern mags depicting a GQ type wielding an iPhone in order to zap! zap! zap! the foes of (what?) confusion via satellite or something.

Tom Cruise is on the cover of the current issue of GQ with a headline that promises to reveal "How to be a man." Yeah. Like that's gonna happen.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:44 PM
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I believe what I'm trying to say is that I'm less interested in the disjunction than I am in the continuity between now and then.

The covers in the OP are about fighting teh communists, and this was about imaginary WW2 or Korean war adventures mixed in with sexual fantasies, as Biohazard puts it in 45. Now that technological advances have changed the face of war, such that we have military drones zapping the enemy from afar, the masculine way to be (as depicted in certain magazines) involves the sure handling of an iPhone. It seems all of a piece.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:49 PM
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I would totally read these over Details.

Under Details, it is too dark to read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:50 PM
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I find it hilarious that there is a whole industry/online subculture devoted to imitating what some people think was the mode of masculinity between about 1930 and 1960. Of course it wasn't, and even if it was it would still be only white heterosexual upper working-class/middle class masculinity, but still.

It's a kind of colonization of the past--the actual past, which was complex, gets reified into this thing that can be sold as guides to masculinity, retro ties and hats, etc. (And also mobilized politically, as described here at Tiger Beatdown in the service of a sort of center-right.)

There is no waste ground for capitalism....Immanuel Wallerstein made some argument somewhere that Africa (the whole thing!) was dead/useless to capital, because the rates of profit that could be extracted there were low. But nothing is useless to capital! Things can always be mobilized as ideas or as a foundation for selling things. Capital is always looking for empty ground; sometimes the ground is the past.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:51 PM
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53: I think I had this argument about Foucault (and "radical breaks") once with a friend and we ended up getting in a big fight. Continuities! No, breaks! Continuities! Breaks!

I'm more interested in breaks than continuities at the moment, because breaks (turning points, tipping points, whatever) are opportunities for things to go differently. They can of course go worse, but breaks illustrate that the present isn't some horrible predetermined ev-psych/sucks-to-be-you-women result of the past, but the result of a series of choices and coincidences.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 12:54 PM
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53: The ideal of masculity from the Forties to at least the beginning of the Sixties was pretty well defined in WW2 movies with John Wayne, the sneaky Italian city kid, the bumpkin, and the somewhat older wannabe writer who usually died before the credits rolled. You were allowed to be frightened as long it didn't interfere with doing what you had to do in dire circumstances. This was reinforced by endless stories in books and magazines of real men in real combat.

There wasn't much to see or read about men doing paperwork in headquarters or maintaining trucks.

IMX, the definition started changing when it became necessary to change it during the Vietnam war.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:07 PM
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Now that technological advances have changed the face of war, such that we have military drones zapping the enemy from afar, the masculine way to be (as depicted in certain magazines) involves the sure handling of an iPhone.

But the magazines of today which are most similar to the magazines depicted are magazines like Soldier of Fortune or some other military(-esque), huntin'/fishin'/hot-roddin magazine. And I think those magazines are unlikely to make a promise that handling an iphone with aplomb will make a man out of you. (Some other piece of equipment for sure, but probably not an iphone.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:13 PM
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56: I'm more interested in breaks than continuities at the moment

I hear you. It takes a great deal of parsing and close attention to specific stages in historical trends to identify those turning points. It's worth doing; it's not always possible. I think I was sounding a note of caution because an emphasis on breaks can sometimes, too easily, lead to a certain blindness about what was, arguably, built in to the previous incarnation of whatever phenomenon you're looking at. Um -- this is making me uncomfortable, since god knows I've read enough on the steps and stages toward late capitalism -- but neither form of the story is correct or incorrect; they're differing narratives.

Also, anyway: Capitalism was hovering menacingly, yet politely, in the background of this conversation, and I wasn't going to mention it, but you did! You said it!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:21 PM
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Paperbacks were distributed in the 50s and 60s via wire racks owned by the wholesale distributor in drugstores , not sure about distribution in the 30s, when I believe pulp circulation was at its highest. In the 30s, pulps serialized short novels and stories or printed them complete. Comic books and magazines supplanted

People collect them, catalog them.
http://www.pulpartists.com/Ward.html

Indiana Jones is the most popular descendant.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:29 PM
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59: [airily] "Oh, I live to mention capitalism."

I mean, I don't think any of this "and masculinity in the fifties was like this while now it is like that" makes any sense at all without talking about systems of production. Patriarchy may be all about domination--and the socially-approved forms of masculinity may be socially-approved because they can be used to support patriarchy--but we certainly don't require pulp magazines or iPhones to create a gendered hierarchy--we could do that with just a cave and a veldt if we really put our minds to it.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:30 PM
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What do we need to create a (non-gendered) hierarchy in which I have higher status?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:32 PM
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62: Um, how about "Unfogged commenters commenting prior to the start of this hierarchy shall have highest status within it; of those, the person able to prove themselves the commenter known as 'Moby Hick' shall have the highest status of all". And we create the hierarchy through revolutionary violence.

See? Easy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:42 PM
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58: But the magazines of today which are most similar to the magazines depicted are magazines like Soldier of Fortune or some other military(-esque), huntin'/fishin'/hot-roddin magazine. And I think those magazines are unlikely to make a promise that handling an iphone with aplomb will make a man out of you. (Some other piece of equipment for sure, but probably not an iphone.)

Good point. Frowner is probably not seeing the huntin'/fishin'/hot roddin' magazines in her local grocery store, though, and what she is seeing is catering to a particular demographic that is not that one.

I was using the iPhone as a stand-in for whatever piece of equipment is appropriate to addressing the task with maximal knowledge and sophistication. What's now to be addressed with knowledge and sophistication was once addressed through sheer brawn. The range of our imaginations has changed. Many people are scared of dirt now.

There's obviously a class angle in all of this -- the pulps pictured in the OP weren't read by the yachting crowd. What's interesting about those mags is that they appear to be speaking at a lizard-brain level that didn't previously have magazines for itself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:50 PM
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Frowner is probably not seeing the huntin'/fishin'/hot roddin' magazines in her local grocery store

Doesn't Frowner live in a state that is mostly covered in fishing lodges and mosquito breeding areas?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:52 PM
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Now that technological advances have changed the face of war, such that we have military drones zapping the enemy from afar, the masculine way to be (as depicted in certain magazines) involves the sure handling of an iPhone

I'm sorry, this is crap. The "face of war" has not changed. Foot patrols still going on, etc.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 1:56 PM
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the pulps pictured in the OP weren't read by the yachting crowd.

Many of the yachting crowd of WW2 didn't need to read them, they had already lived them. See PT-109 for the archetype, and also stories of Dunkirk. The OSS recruited heavily from the upper-class Ivys too.

Now that I think of it, those mags are just the paper equivalents of the current TV action shows. They occupy a few dispensable synapses for an hour and then the signal disappears. Does anyone without Asperger's remember what happened on NCIS-LA or Burn Notice a few weeks ago?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:13 PM
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65: Frowner lives in the cosmopolitan heart of her huntin' fishin' state and would not know a fishing lure from a post-modern hat decoration unless it was firmly lodged in her gum and she was being reeled in.

Another factor--far more people in the forties and fifties would have been in the military, what with WWII and all. People who would not today be Soldier of Fortune types might read these mags. (although even there, the direct "become a mercenary" stuff (I have seen SoF) looks a bit different from the pulps.)

I think part of the problem in this type of conversation is the temptation to postulate a sensible development, some kind of progressive evolution of the performance of masculinity. We don't need to argue that war now is totally different from all war ever to argue that it is substantially different from WWII, for example.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:14 PM
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66: In the imaginations of those who consume the magazines, as well as most other mainstream media, I think it has. There have been a few kerfuffles over whether or not the public should be allowed to view footage of the bodies -- just the caskets -- of US soldiers being returned from war zones. War has been increasingly sanitized in the public imagination, though there has been some pushback on that, and rightfully so. It's also certainly the case that we engage in a lot more distance warfare, so to speak, technologically-enabled, than in the past.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:16 PM
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Barbara Ehrenreich's _The Hearts of Men_ had a lot on the switch to Playboy-mag consumption as a new masculinity, didn't it? similar argument to the one in _The Conquest of Cool_, I think.

I don't think it was just invention of the consuming model of masculinity, though, because I think that had been perfected in the truly enormous spread and penetration (laydeez) of men's clubs and organizations in the late 19th, early to mid 20th c. Any train-era city probably still has remarkably ornate buildings in nice neighborhoods built by the Elks and Oddfellows and more regional, ethnic or religious groups, too. And they bought enormous amounts of bling and flair and swag; I sometimes think it was the last hurrah of male ornamentalism. Swords! Hats! Gilt fringes! Addressing each other by funny names! Special drinks! Also, magazines as centers of community are no later than the late Victorians; the Beechers ran a couple that had letters pages as lively and flirtatious as Unfogged. Different jokes, of course.

What seems radically different to me about the post-WWII magazines, increasing to the current day, is the solitude and atomization of the consumer culture. You don't have to know anybody, any more; they'd probably just try to take your job and your girlfriend anyway. (My few reads of _Men's Health_ have been very depressing: the worst of the women's service mags plus Patriarchy Hurts Men Too.)

I don't know how much easy credit has to do with it, but the timing is about right.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:18 PM
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68.1: Except for the airport, I've only been to the fishing parts of the state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:20 PM
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I sometimes think it was the last hurrah of male ornamentalism. Swords! Hats! Gilt fringes! Addressing each other by funny names! Special drinks! Also, magazines as centers of community are no later than the late Victorians; the Beechers ran a couple that had letters pages as lively and flirtatious as Unfogged. Different jokes, of course.

Are you familiar with science fiction fandom? And fan zines back when they were fan zines? Surely there is a line of continuity.

It would be funny if in a hundred years everyone is lamenting cons as the last bastion of community-based togetherness.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:22 PM
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||

I really can't take any more of this shit.
Even the Democrats in South Carolina are ignorant racist fucks.

(Try google image search for "greene".)

Back in November 2008, I thought we'd made real progress. Now, I don't even know what the fuck.
|>


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:26 PM
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Er. Never mind. Ford's black. Still, Arizona!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:35 PM
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73: Your argument is complicated by the enormous popularity of cheesecake photos of Ashley Greene (the exception that proves the rule?)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:38 PM
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i was reading abstracts. this one made me laugh.
This research utilized a content analysis of 64 hours of reality dating shows and a survey of 197 young adults to determine the extent to which the content on these shows was related to actual dating attitudes, preferred date characteristics, and dating behaviors of viewers of that genre. Results show that male viewers, those who perceived higher realism in the shows, and those with higher average viewing scores were more likely to endorse attitudes found within the programming. Dating characteristics were portrayed infrequently, and no relationship between viewing and endorsement of those characteristics was found. Viewing reality dating shows was related to self-reports of drinking alcohol and using hot tubs early in the dating relationship.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:38 PM
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74: No, it's still pretty messed-up. Greene has some issues.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:40 PM
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the Beechers ran a couple that had letters pages as lively and flirtatious as Unfogged. Different jokes, of course.

Unfogged is an eclectic magazine of .. something. I tend to forget that. What was it? An eclectic ... magazine .... That description goes back a ways.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:48 PM
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78: Mole?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 2:50 PM
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79: No! Really, there was a description of this blog that surfaced somewhere or other and was adopted for a while as either the mouse-over text, or as descriptive text in some other fashion.

Apo would know if he comes around.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:02 PM
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79: here is the post in question (and here is a reference to that post two years later).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:06 PM
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Ah, numbers, who needs to get them right? Close is good enough.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:07 PM
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75: Still, factoring out multiple pictures of the same person while skimming the pages...

77: Differently messed-up than my original assumption though.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:15 PM
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I am familiar enough with SF cons to be annoyed when they believe they invented something that was in common mundane use in 1860. (It was the Beetons I actually meant, although the Beechers probably ran letters communities, too.)

But, when not being annoyed, it's sweet: everyone loves the format that they made good friends in; letters, VFW halls, samizdat, rn, Unfogged.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:18 PM
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Who will write the screenplay of the distopian future when tha vast majority of human contact is over the intertubes and comic con is like the Hajj.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:22 PM
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85: Both have lots of people with their faces covered.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:37 PM
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See, Moby, you've practically written scene 1!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 3:42 PM
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"An eclectic web magazine for the discriminating news consumer." It was the mouseover text for a long time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 4:45 PM
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The linked page's linked page talks a bit more about the magazines:

These "men's adventure" magazines catered to men of a different generation and reflected the taste and sensibilities of those men. The readership largely consisted of GI's who had fought and survived the Big One, men who had experienced both adventure and gruesome death and violence. In contrast to their experiences overseas, life back home seemed dull and mundane. Their wives and families who hadn't experienced the horrors of war had only vague notions of what things had been like "over there." In a life that seemed sterile and scrubbed clean, men's magazines were an oasis of the kind of unfettered manliness and grit the men were used to. And to the men who hadn't served, the magazines were a chance to live such adventures vicariously.

Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 4:47 PM
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Also, I realize noting the improbable nature of the scenes on these covers is kind of silly, but the dude in that second one would be very unlikely to encounter a bear in that sort of environment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 4:55 PM
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And also mobilized politically, as described here at Tiger Beatdown in the service of a sort of center-right.

It doesn't have to be. The first people I knew who used to stride about dressed in 'Don Draper' style faux-40s/50s garb were fairly hard left, politically engaged guys in the early 1990s. It was a reaction against grunge, but also against consumerism, and about a revival of modernism, and a certain suave/austere Communism-before-the-Molotov-Ribbentrop-Pact aesthetic. The one person I'm thinking of in particular, who used to wear tailored 3-piece suits, and had moustache, was from a very working class Glasgow background, and it was, afaik*, a political as much as aesthetic thing.

* friend of a friend, so I never asked him straight out ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 4:58 PM
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81: Wow, unfogged used to be a lot more ... younger. Different. (Referring to the comment thread in the first link.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-10 7:12 PM
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I think that had been perfected in the truly enormous spread and penetration (laydeez) of men's clubs and organizations in the late 19th, early to mid 20th c. Any train-era city probably still has remarkably ornate buildings in nice neighborhoods built by the Elks and Oddfellows and more regional, ethnic or religious groups, too.

Dsquared was all over this like a cheap suit for most of the first half of 2009.
eg: "The KKK: Pyramid Scheme Or Dry Cleaning Franchise?"
http://d-squareddigest.blogspot.com/2009/01/idea-for-sitcom-set-in-ku-klux-klan.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-11-10 2:51 AM
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I think they should have got a zoologist to consult on the covers. Those are not crabs.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-12-10 6:15 PM
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That Dsquared post about a hypothetical KKK dry cleaners reminds me of the Swastika Laundry.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 06-13-10 5:32 PM
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