Friday, December 5, 2008

Denny Crane...Denny Crane...Hi, Denny Crane

Braggadocious, misogynistic, outrageous and generally over the top. That's Denny Crane on Boston Legal. A man who walks in a room and simply repeats his name, "Denny Crane", as if that's all that needs to be said. Continuing the tv theme, Boston Legal is a show that I like, though the lewdness of it distracts from the greatness and interest of the show, which is William Shatner's character --- a successful man dealing with his diminished capacities as age catches him. Alongside this is a wonderful friendship between two men, Denny Crane and Alan Shore (Shatner and Spader). Returning to the theme of eternal hope, Denny Crane asks about what our bodies will be like in heaven. I was grateful that another blog posted the conversation:

Denny Crane, asks, “Do you think in heaven I’ll have Mad Cow?”

(Mad Cow is his code word for his Alzheimer’s).

Spader pauses to take a drink, then says, “Denny, I think in heaven you will be as you were in the prime of your life.”

Denny Crane nods in contemplation. “Then I’ll be just as I am now,” he says and raises his drink to Spader.

That bravado of Denny's is a very transparent papering over of his insecurity. Yet it is so grotesquely transparent that it becomes endearing. The truth is Denny longs for his youth, when he had full command of his faculties, and when he was respected and feared rather than something of a buffoon. But his ego will not allow him to admit anything but that he is greater with each passing year.

The comforting truth, if a bit sobering, is that while age is a mark of honour and should be respected, our capacities do diminish. Fifty is the new forty, forty is the new thirty, etc. tell us that we aren't getting older. But we are. Age isn't just in your mind. We really get old. And creaky. And this makes me long for the resurrection, so that I won't be just as I am now.

How about you? Are you with Denny Crane on this one?

Meat and Bones

I saw an episode of the television series Mad Men. The plot seemed thin, the driving theme appeared to be a rejoicing in the time when women's liberation had not yet taken hold, but when sexual mores had begun to loosen. The beatnik rather than the hippie era. I don't have all the backstories, but a number of the characters drew my interest, while others were fairly shallow and unappealing. Many of my friends love it.

What I did like was how people looked! The Authoress (n.b.: my wife) and I were in a diner the other day, before our appointed hour to visit some lovely friends from our church who were recently blessed with a baby. The diner had a 1940's/50's theme to it, and showed a picture of Miss America contestants from about 1953. The Authoress mentioned how the idea of beauty changes with each generation, and how those women would all be considered overweight today.

Too bad.

This is bad for women who starve themselves to look tiny. It's bad for men who seem to want women to look like girls, perhaps thereby recalling their own youth? It's bad for men, too, who need to be too slender as well -- what if I really do need to live for awhile without sufficient food -- I'll be glad for the extra I'm carrying around then!

So I was delighted to see people a bit soft around the edges. Normal, to my eyes. Maybe the plague of obesity our culture has today is a reaction to the ideal of beauty being so far from what is possible for most to obtain.

The woman who reviews television shows at the New York Sun has this to say:

Meat is important, too on them. The "Mad Men" women have some meat on their bones, an extra 10 pounds they'd be working like crazy to get rid of today. A little roundness made their skin look young and their legs look nice. In the show, at least, everyone also always seems to be eating meat steaks sizzling with fat or home-cooked roast beef, and no one is talking about cholesterol. Not even the doctors. Of course, they're weren't talking about the rampant alcoholism, either. But still. It would be nice to eat more steak.

But I digress. I guess I've lost the point, too. Certainly the Bible hails inner beauty, but does not reject the idea of men or women having physical beauty. It rejoices in beauty. I'm guessing if the resurrection does mean our bodies are transformed but recognizably us, the result will be closer to Mad Men type of bodies than those we idealise today.

Your view? In this stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas, are we better off with a few more pounds? In the photos, do Don & Betty have more wisdom about bodies than the folks of today?