by Arnold Roth, from “Keep Your Hands Off My Machismo” in Punch” 19 March 1975
from “Mad” October 1978
America’s sports are integral to America’s ideas and expression of its masculinity. Unlike most European sports, baseball and American football are about sheer grunty muscle mass.
American football consists of massive specimens of meaty neanderthalism crashing into each other for short periods of time, with game-play interrupted by lengthy intervals allowing for the alternating distractions of jiggly pom-pom girls or beer adverts.
Baseball is all about the necessary resources of intense upper body strength to facilitate hitting a ball with a stick.
If your average Ameri-gay is often bigger than his Euro-poove counterpart then it is because the body-ideal exemplified by their national sports are so different. Ideals of attractiveness are often moulded during adolescence, and just compare the difference in builds between an athletic American high-schooler and his continental equal.
It doesn’t necessarily have all that much to do with what’s above, but it’s an observation from last spring when I was in Los Angeles, and I was struck by how positively anorexic I seemed in comparison to everyone else.