We age. We grow fat. A nation of older fat people sit and watch movies in which fit and athletic young people perform incredible feats of kinetic ingenuity and daring. Those people look nothing like us, do things that would kill most of us at the first try. Nothing new. Doubtful anyone in the audience that listened to the sung story of the wrath of Achilles was anything vaguely like Achilles.
Was the world of those who listened any safer than ours? The Trojan War was long ago enough to be a story. But there were wars. There were enemies at the gate. There always have been. Still, one thing is to feel unsafe, another to be the object of Achilles' violent wrath.
In our own stories the young warriors pay for their fitness, their athleticism, their kinetic ingenuity and daring, their very youth and beauty. We who are old and/or fat make them suffer, sometimes horribly, like the teen characters in slasher movies who get slaughtered by the slasher for having committed the sin of full-tilt hormonal sex. Except that our young warriors don't always get to have sex. Their sin is their beauty, their being the object of our old, fat desire. Of not letting us possess them. Suffer, kids. Die.
Many ways to slice the American Pie. Haves and have-nots. Blue and Red. Beleaguered white males and everyone else. How about abs and blubber? We the blubbery sacrifice the abby in the altar of the screen. They could turn around and tear us to pieces with their bare hands, we are so helpless. But they don't. We control them. The real life young men and women who represent them are harmless. Why shouldn't they be? We allow them every luxury, everything we can't have, in exchange for representing their sacrifice before our eyes.
Achilles, if he ever lived and fought, was long gone by the time the bards sang of his wrath-driven feats. Not these boys and girls. They are our contemporaries though being younger they will probably outlive us. If they don't, if they crash and burn, we love them even more. Then it will be them and not their screen avatars our bards will sing of. But for the most part we are satisfied to watch them suffer on screen.
Do we desire them in the flesh? Do we want to touch their abs? Ah, but then they might reach out and touch . . . our blubber. Better not. Better they stay in the screen, we outside. Those who dare cross the threshold, who seek hookers and rent boys and lap dancers, they cross the line, they tear through the screen, slide their penis into a stranger's mouth, come in their pants under a dancer's spell, allow their shamefully imperfect bodies contact with the perfect ones, the chiseled ones, the enhanced ones, the naturally beautiful ones.
But those who dare are but a few. Those who passively watch the screen are the many. See the beautiful warriors run, leap, fight. They are flawless. Punish them. Die, kids, die.