I just do things scared
My take on the She-Hulk trailer, the swimmers' body fallacy, the myth of "constant tension," and TOO MUCH more (open in tab!). This is Links 39.
I already wrote substantially about how She-Hulk could, and should, have legs like two baby seals and shoulders like boulders in the upcoming She-Hulk TV show, even just based on most past character designs, if not for the culture. But also because, in our modern day, people simply love to get weirdly enthusiastic about big ladies. The big vampire lady from Resident Evil was like a full month-long PR cycle.
(This is my moment to admit my own mistake, which was neglecting to highlight newsletter fav and world-record-holding powerlifter Jessica Buettner, who has literally dressed up as She-Hulk. We here at She’s A Beast Industries offer our sincerest apologies and promise to do better).
We got a new trailer, and lo and behold, she is bigger than she appeared in the first teaser.
I also find it interesting!!! that in the time between the first teaser and the actual trailer, the marketing leaned into the whole “muscle mommy crush me with your thighs” thing; hm! Hm.
For some, she is still not big enough. But what is interesting about this, to me, is that it’s no longer much of a secret that the size and shape of superheroes is basically a VFX decision, not a matter of how many PEDs an actor can do in the few months between booking the role and shooting it. Just as Sonic the Hedgehog was thoroughly yassified between the first trailer and the movie, I venture that She-Hulk was embiggened at least in some scenes between the first teaser in November 2021 and the new trailer released May 17.
Since this is a matter of computers and not reality, it seems not impossible she may be more embiggened still? An artist who seemed to have knowledge of the situation said that the VFX studio received constant notes to make her smaller. People always weirdly obfuscate their accounts after saying things like this (cf. Luisa in Encanto; the idea that there would be a debate about her being bigger is plausible but poorly sourced). Since I seem to be consulting on this show for free, I’m gonna whisper into the universe that a fun dynamic of the character could be that she is not restricted to a particular set of sizes, and certain situations could make her even bigger still.
She-Hulk’s specific size aside, the best thing they could do for this big lady is make the show actually good TV. Otherwise, its unpopularity due to sucking in its bones will probably get attributed once again to the idea that people “just don’t like to see muscular women.”1
I was skimming this article and it clicked for me that a lot of people do still think “constant muscle tension” is a thing; i.e. that you should be basically pulsing in the middle range of the movement the whole time, and that you shouldn’t have complete and distinct reps, or pause between reps. I see this all of the time at the gym and it’s verrry popular in YouTube follow-along fitness workouts. It’s not necessary! You should go slow enough so that the movement is about your muscles and not your joints, as best you can manage at your current level of lifting competency. But “never actually finishing or starting a rep” is not a prerequisite for that.
A She-Ra live action series is coming. Hopefully it does not make the mistakes of the She-Hulk series. Big ladies in our time!! This reminds me of the explanation for why He-Man has an (oversized) tiger, which will be so much better than you are imagining.
Caveat that I haven’t watched Peacemaker, but I’m not sure this piece on the “sadboi big man” hangs together for me. I’m interested in it if it has depth as a character-building technique, but pursuant to the She-Hulk stuff above, there is a chintzy way of offsetting our biases, and then there are actual good ways. I’m seeing now that the show actually has good reviews, so maybe I will give it a shot!
“Someone asked me how I manage my nerves and I don’t. I just do things scared. There you go.“
I got a very sudden surge of ads in the last few weeks for the $4.8 billion startup Cerebral—on Hulu, on TikTok, on Instagram, just a tidal wave of whatever Cerebral is. Cerebral has the type of ads where it’s nearly impossible to tell what the company does, but the marketing sounds broad and encompassing, like it whatever wellness thing it does will fix absolutely everything wrong with your life. But then you click through, and then the product is extremely, almost terrifyingly specific, like a 7-day Amazonian-clay-based diuretic “cleanse.” In Cerebral’s case, the highly specific item is indiscriminately-prescribed speed. Cerebral has raised *$462 million* in funding.
Cerebral also spent $14.2 million on TikTok ads, meaning TikTok got $14.2 million by absolutely not caring at all what kind of shit it shovels in its ad system.
The speed (ha) with which companies can reach customers now before regulators even catch a whiff of what they’re doing sure seems, to me, like a virtually certain way to make money scot-free. Start a company, take a few hundreds of millions of dollars of funding, make a few hundreds of millions of dollars every couple years, public scrutiny arises, regulators’ eyebrows are raised, legal accusations fly, trials, depositions, and then judgments of what—a few million dollars? Tens of millions of dollars? Who cares? Dynastic wealth has already been made many times over!
Pivot the company and say sorry sorry sorry. Maybe that new domesticated version of the company eventually fails, but who cares! Maybe along the way customers whose lives have been made materially worse by the empty promises of this company get it together enough to file a class action suit, assets are seized, founders face jail time. But also, what if they don’t? Money for all! Accountability for none! Incredible system! Remember to expect nothing of your sitting politicians and that ultimately the problem is you not voting hard enough!
James Smith does himself no favors normally, but he is spot on about this: the swimmer’s body fallacy. Swimmers have swimmers’ bodies because people who look like that become swimmers; NOT because being a swimmer makes you look like that. Guys who play football are built like fridges because guys who are built like that become football players; playing football does not make you look like that.
To extend this to the Swole Woman Universe: models who do boxing look like that because it looks cute for a model to box, not because they do boxing. Personal trainers become personal trainers, because they look like that; they don’t look like that because they did their own programs. Chris Hemsworth looks like Chris Hemsworth because the world loves to see hot people in movies, so they are already hot when they get there, not because preparing for acting roles transforms people into being hot.
Adam Conover wrote about the joyless slog that has become the LA Marathon. I’m very excited to see Adam bring his Adam Conover-ness to The G Word.
Related to TikTok being an overall craven business above, this was a simply terrifying piece to read on how the app suddenly becomes incredibly dark and terrifying once the algorithm learns you are pregnant. Why does everyone insist on making being a mom literally hell on earth, I’d like to know!
Remember what Anthony Bourdain said about Jamie Oliver.
On a personal note, I started lifting Eight Whole Years Ago. The journey only gets less linear as time goes on, which is an idea that would have scared and upset me as someone who was married to the idea of linear progression at the start. But linear progression is like the noob starting area, and I can say that once you have your foundational skills down, exploring the open world of
Hyrule Azeroth strength is a lot more fun.
So many people leaned away from commenting on the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp trial because Amber Heard wasn’t a perfect victim, and this will turn out to be a huge mistake for discourse around abuse. I’m once again asking everyone to read Why Does He Do That?
I just missed Roger Angell’s death in the last newsletter; what a legend. I aim to read more of his writing in the near future, but his 2014 piece “This Old Man” is simply unmissable. This is also a lovely piece by his former assistant. He also wrote about martinis.
Literally everything would be different about America if we could have public transportation conducting as a competitive sport. I really believe this.
Highly rec the George Carlin special on HBO.
That’s all for this week! See you on Instagram, live, in mere hours, at 1PM PT/4PM ET, Do Not Miss It!! Love you thank you let’s go—
For the “can we just stop talking about women’s bodies” people, I will note the top comment on the She-Hulk trailer is “Shrek 5 looks great,” with 31,000 likes. So I’m gonna continue on celebrating the big ladies in the face of overwhelming opposition, but thanks for your concern!