2020-04-24 | Subject | Middle Aged Men's Fluffers
Have you noticed the similarity between news shows, rockabilly/hot-rod Betties, and a new group of young women hosting political videos on social media? I have. I imagine that at a small-block powered burger-eating slice of time at a drive-in in the fifties, some women dressed in approximately the same way, certainly more conservatively, but similar. The men in this same slice of time might have dressed in white undershirts, talked like The Fonz, and didn't have beer bellies. There is likely a seed of truth to the fantasy. Now, though, if I see somebody driving down the road with a genuine Ford flathead powered hot-rod, it is a middle-aged man closer to death than peak earning power.
The magazines, the culture, though, are relentless. Betties are splayed out on cars, breasts splayed out of tiny tops with tattoos splayed out on exposed skin. I admit, I like all the splaying. It is yummy. I appreciate a good revved up deuce as much as Bruce Springsteen and Chris Thompson. Still, though, I can't help but put the men I see driving the actual hot-rods in real life next to the Betties in the color glossy magazines, video shows, and web sites. I recently signed up for Pinterest, and find myself following an alluring collection of old rusty cars in beautiful, natural settings. I can see the alternately layered world of old cars with Betties offered as a new thread of interest to pinup, but I resist, not because I don't enjoy some good Betty splaying, but just because it has become tired to me, unoriginal, and transparent.
The act of restoring an old car is a fabulous fantasy, or, if you wish, an attempt at sympathetic magic. Take an old car found in a field or barn, strip it down, treat the rust, weld new pieces... welding is good, sparks flying, quite virile. Here is another interesting bit, put a splayed Betty behind that torch, snap a pic, and it becomes even more appealing. Eventually, with enough money, the once broken down old car is shiny and vibrant. Sometimes there is an art to keeping the old tarnish but updating the running gear. Overall, though, the magic is taking something old and making it new again, cool again. Make that old car great again.
The addition of Betties into the mix helps keep the cultural identity afloat. I will call it a male culture because it mostly is. I am sure there are exceptions, but I have not once seen a restored hot-rod being driven by a female. In addition to the mechanical aspects, there are social and philosophical aspects to this. There is a whole culture, a way of looking at the world, that the cars represent. It is the way of looking at the world that is opposite of, say, the practical Nash Rambler way. Cars are fast, bold, disposable, wasteful. As the culture ages, as the men lose their stamina, fluffers are needed, and the Betties are up to the challenge of keeping the image alive, at least long enough for the shot.
Let's consider news shows. This same aging hot-rod culture that replaced the practical Ramblers, replaced Walter Cronkite with news show Betties. Consider the talking heads you see on your news program. There is almost always a Betty in there. Granted, a much blander, Barbie version, but, still, you can make them out. Instead of old cars, old ideas are reworked and made to look new again. More so, though, the Betties caress the old ideas into something uncharacteristic of a middle aged man resistant to new ideas.
The new Betty version in a rash of political videos that I see on social media has a stronger likeness. This is where the bridge between old school Betties and the present is most apparent. You can almost pluck the images straight off of the hood of a '55 Bel Air and set them up talking about rightish issues. Generally, though, less boobs, more glasses. Too much boob splaying would make it apparent to the middle aged men, clinging to old ideas of freedom and technological optimism, that they are being fluffed. I'm not immune. The Id is a powerful force under the surface. I can just see the similarity, is all.collapse identity
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2017-08-27: Imagination and Cripple
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2019-02-19: Who'll Stop the Rain?
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