Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Naked Truth

As promised, here is more disturbing news. Mormon beefcake calendar causes uproar.
Creator of calendar is excommunicated.
Pectorals raise ire of Church.

Which brings me to the subject that I want to discuss.I've been following the news this week as more and more stories surface on the subject of the naked human body. Intrigued as I always am about this subject, the thought process finally made a quantum leap connection between Ashley Harkleroad posing nude for Playboy magazine and the Ancient Greeks.

If you find this association bewildering, stay with me because it makes sense.

The ancient Greeks, whose civilization/culture/art/philosophy/science are the cornerstone of modern civilization, and in fact lay the basis for modern western culture, not to mention democracy an invention of those ancient Greeks and the imminent 2008 Olympic Games, another invention that can be traced back to that great hothouse of Greek civilization.

Let's start with the Greek word "Gymnasium" based on the Greek "Gymnos" for naked. The ancient Greeks practices their sport naked. It made sense to them and if you think about it, it makes sense today.
The original Olympic games, a competition amongst nobles in Greek society was acted out naked.(please don't mention the winter Olympics).
Greek art celebrated the naked human body and images of physical perfection are numerous enough in the Greek sculptures that remain to tell us that the human body was something to celebrate, rather than cover up in shame a nd disgust.(Religious prudes stop reading NOW)

So, jump forward two thousand years and today we find ourselves contemplating the novel concept (only to us and not the Ancient Greeks) that an athlete in superb physical form should be a body to admire, look at and contemplate. So why the fuss about a Playboy centrefold of Ashley Harkleroad? It should be part and parcel of an athletes profile.

I don't want to appear sexist on this issue. The Greeks also celebrated the perfect male physique. This brings me to this weeks other sensational story of the Mormon beefcake calendar.(see pic above) It seems sad that the Mormons in their infinite wisdom would consider the muscular male torso (which is the only image I could source) as obscene.
Sexuality or sensuality is still considered obscene today. In a culture that uses sexuality in advertising to promote every product under the sun we balk at the notion that we might actually enjoy a bit of contemplation on the beauty of the human body, golly gosh if we even suggest there might be an erotic association with the human body.
Peevish,prudish,hypocritical and stupid I say.

Go Ellas!!

1 comment:

Culturist John said...

Very interesting. I need to think!

But a thought. The Greek bodies in statuary are perfect. This preference for the ideal has been transmitted into Christianity. Protestants set their ideal of perfection into character improvement. This meant good works on earth and required control of the body.

First a fun comment . . . The people in the bar should put some clothes on. It his not hygienic or lovely. Personally, I wouldn't eat dinner there.

Now back to seriousness. We can see a connection between Christianity and Greek ideals in that Plato invented the highest love - Platonic. Jesus would agree.

Plato's version, though, was healthier. The body was just lesser, not sinful. That said, the Protestant version led to incredible earthly achievement. Idle hands, remember, are the devils workshoppe and so lots got done.

As a backlash against the Christian version of bodily relations we now have sin-o-rama and, in the states, out of wedlock madness.

It is not that, IMHO, the body is evil. But we should get a healthy relationship wherein the soul is seen as above the body and, yet, the body is not evil. But increasing lurid carnal sexploitation is not the way back to the healthy Greek ideal.