July 01, 2010

Sculpting the body

The Dying Gaul, from a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original.

I have often thought that one of the saddest things about contemporary American life (and the competition is fierce in this arena) is that so many people don't really live in their bodies or seem at most to use them for various kinds of consumption. You can see this everywhere, not least in the epidemic of obesity.

One hillbilly hobby that gets on my last nerve--and I could be drummed out of the tribe for this--is the riding of four wheelers. After my stint on the local volunteer fire department, which responded to many calls involving death or injury from riding them, I sometimes find myself thinking of these as Darwin machines or natural selection devices.

Arpad, our (almost) Great Pyrenees canine, shares my distaste. He's generally laid back, but he's never met an all terrain vehicle he didn't hate.

In fairness, I'm sure they have their uses and I've been told that some of the trails in southern WV are good for economic development. But, as the saying goes, there's no accounting for taste. Just ask Arpad.

For quite a few people, this seems to be the only outdoor activity they engage in, and the closest thing to exercise, which is sad. Judging by the physical specimens that I've seen riding on them, it seems like most would be better off by any measure in walking, jogging or biking.

I have a feeling Thoreau might agree with me on this. Here's what he said about how we relate to the body in Walden:

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.

HONORING A LEGEND. Tonight there will be processions through the streets of Charleston to honor Senator Robert C. Byrd. His memorial service tomorrow will include the president and vice president among those who attend. I plan on going, assuming I can get there, and will share pictures and thoughts afterward. WV Governor Joe Manchin has even given state employees the day off so that those who choose to can attend.

AFTER BYRD. Here's a NY Times article about a visit to Byrd's home town and the political lay of the land.

UNEMPLOYMENT. Congress is likely to vote today on restoring unemployment benefits, a measure which has failed several times in the last week or so. As I've argued here many times, the most immediate deficit we need to deal with is the jobs deficit.

I PREFER COFFEE. Here's an item about the Tea Party and the dangers of underestimating it.



1 comment:

hollowdweller said...

We're going to the public procession this evening.

Agree 3000% on the blasted ATV's.