We live in a culture which prizes “thin,” as in lean bodies and even leaner reportage. We want to look fit, and want our press/TV/tweet reporting equally free of fat. Thin is in. Only it has not always been the case. Just because this is the only culture you know, it’s hardly the only culture we’ve known!
A few generations ago we carried at least 10-20 pounds more flesh, and got our news at least 10-20 times more weighty:
* BEAUTY then was measured more in flesh than in bone. Especially women who were pleasingly plumper in the post-Victorian age during the first half of the 20th C. Even men’s extra poundage was considered a sign of muscle and merit more than fat and sloth. In effect, “thick” back then was not only allowed but approved
* REPORTING then was measured more in its depth than in its haste. Any look back at our newspapers, magazines and broadcasts presents a time when quick headlines, machine-gun summaries, and monosyllabic words were not considered news. Simply summaries. In effect, a “thicker” flow of reportage back when reporters’ vocabularies and sentence structures were proudly complex
Times change. Cultures change. America has changed. But we are well served to remember when times were “thicker”…when the first impulse was not to condense either the body or the news….when it seems we had more time, more patience, more attention span.
Check how you react during an awards ceremony when — after a string of svelte bodies have left the stage in the wake of their giggly thanks — some hefty celebrity, perhaps from England or Ireland, stuns the audience with a linguistically elegant expression of gratitude. Every time this happens — and it doesn’t happen enough — we are treated to a touch of class. One in which both weight and words glow thickly right before our eyes and ears.
Think svelte Anne Hathaway up there. Followed by dumpy Anthony Hopkins. Get the picture….?
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