May 2015 news

topics: newsletter
source; created: 30 April 2015; modified: 20 Feb 2020; status: finished; confidence: log; importance: 0

This is the May 2015 edition of ; previous, . This is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with & ; brought to you by my donors.








  • (1977 propaganda-documentary about American bodybuilders; it follows a young Arnold Schwarzenegger last competition and some rivals. It’s interesting to watch Schwarzenegger before he became really famous, the insouciance with which he treats everyone & basks in admiration & blows off any slightly onerous obligations like his father’s funeral and calculating choices sabotaging his rivals & self-promoting, as he prepares to jump ship to an acting career starting with Conan, his only apparent qualification the volume of his muscles. (I should note that the Wikipedia article for PI notes that it’s a bit controversial whether or not the funeral thing happened, but nevertheless, Schwarzenegger is clearly trying to build an image.) I’m not familiar with bodybuilders but they come off during the competition as freakish: so muscular that they often pass into the repulsive and I stared fascinated at the flexing meat on display. Of course, PI is a very successful puff piece aimed at glamorizing bodybuilding—doesn’t go anywhere near any questions of health issues or the steroid abuse although everyone is of course juicing like crazy, or into any details about how bodybuilders can get so large or what motivates them to do this, aside from one interview segment touching on childhood bullying, which had an almost Charles Atlas vibe. One of the most interesting observations in retrospect is realizing how tiny a niche powerlifting/bodybuilding was back then. Gyms with weightlifting equipment were so rare that people like Schwarzenegger would relocate to the best ones. was a thing because all other beaches were non-muscle-beaches. Athletes lifting weights was largely unheard of, or a hobby at best. Now, of course, no one in the NFL doesn’t lift weights, because weightlifting provides such an athletic performance boost. It’s an interesting “small group” effect where a small weirdo group found $100 bills lying on the sidewalk that many decades of competition had not noticed.)


  • (romantic-comedy, heavier on the comedy; runs through the standard shoujo tropes like an extraordinarily dense love-interest and a school ‘prince’ and crossdressing, but is saved from mediocrity by giving ample time to the other characters, and its quasi-meta device of the love-interest himself being a shoujo mangaka which allows subversion of and commenting on the cliches in question. In particular, protagonist Sakura Chiyo is a great character: ridiculously cute designs and faces (good since as protagonist you’ll be seeing a lot of her), new seiyuu Ari Ozawa turns in possibly the best sarcastic narrator since Haruhi’s Kyon, and Sakura reminds us that it is possible to be kind and feminine without being dumb or a doormat.)



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