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Friday April 20, 2018
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Steroids, The Price You Pay

Written by Michael Sztym
Hits: 15740

Steroids, The Price You Pay

I remember plainly the exact moment I decided to start not only trying to be "huge" but to use steroids.

I was 26. I'd been divorced about a year and had suffered the cost of my emotional upheaval. I went from a slightly doughy 225 down to a lean, unhealthy 184. Still, even with the loss in size I was excited about being so lean for the first time in years.

A friend and I had been going out in an attempt to get me out of my post-divorce funk and I found it fun, though unfulfilling. It seemed I didn’t have what it took to attract women. I was too honest, too plain, too "ordinary".

One night we were at a local dance club. I was at the bar ordering another in a string of long islands when I met a girl. She was pretty. She was blonde, she was in shape. She was everything I wanted - or at least thought I did. We talked and laughed a bit and I thought we'd connected about as well as you could in a smoky, dark bar full of drunk people. I left her with her friends to go tell my friend about her. I was so elated. I thought I'd finally met someone worth my time.

I turned to my friend and said "tomorrow you tell me how much I need to give you to get me a good cycle. Tomorrow I start getting huge."

As I described her to my friend he glanced out across the dance floor, pointed rather reluctantly and said "her?". I looked out and saw her jackin some dude up like she was gettin paid. He was big, About 240, maybe 250 and stood about 5 foot 8, maybe 5 foot 9. He wasn’t much to look at facially, but he had impressive bi's and killer shoulders . . . and she was so into him. He stood there in his white v-neck undershirt and tight jeans, looking as though this was just another day to him. He didn’t see the wonderful woman I'd met earlier, just a piece of ass to be claimed and discarded. And she seemed fine with that.
Side Effects of Steroids I wanted that attention, that attraction. That was it. That was the moment I decided that I couldn’t get to where he was without taking a step into the dark side. And strangely that didn’t bother me.

Up until then I'd been training naturally (I can post some pics if'n ya want me to) and I'd made some progress but nothing compared to the juicers in my gym. In fact some of the guys I'd been bigger and stronger than had surpassed me because of their gear use. I had stuck to my guns and tossed out all the stereotypical arguments against gear but standing there, that night, and seeing this great girl fall for a physique over substance was the final stroke. I turned to my friend and said "tomorrow you tell me how much I need to give you to get me a good cycle. Tomorrow I start getting huge."

He questioned my intentions and my motivations as any good friend would. But since he was on I felt he should just shut-up and get me the same gear he was using. In retrospect I should have taken his cue as a sign that maybe I should rethink things. I was blinded by desire and drunk on lust. I wanted to be so much more than I was that I didn't stop to think about the fact that maybe, to the right person, I was already enough.

Thus began a decade + long affair with steroids. For as much as I ever gained from gear, gear cost me more.

I sit here today sterile, incapable of giving my wife the one thing she wants more than anything: a child. Sure, she plays it off as though its not that important but I see her eyes when she watches TV and see's women giving birth in TV shows. She's too loyal and too classy to let me know outright how disappointed she is but I can tell.

If I could go back in time and give myself some advice I'd have told me to wait. To be patient. To train diligently, to eat right and to be thankful to be healthy rather than roll the dice with my health.

At my best I topped the scales at a lean 274/278. I had big legs but never in proportion to my torso. My triceps were always bigger than my biceps. I could never have competed and won. So at best I was just a big guy at the bar. While that did get me a short stint as a bouncer which gave me many good stories to tell and a respectable list of women whose bed I shared, none of it was worth the inability to give my wife a child.

If I could go back in time and give myself some advice I'd have told me to wait. To be patient. To train diligently, to eat right and to be thankful to be healthy rather than roll the dice with my health. My blood pressure when not on my medication is enough to send most e.r. docs into a frenzy, my sperm count is lamentable and my gyno would make any 14 year old girl jealous as all hell. I've got hair growing where no man should have hair and more joint aches and pains than I can tell you about.

All in all I did myself the greatest injustice imaginable by turning to the darkside. Its just not worth it.

No matter who you are, no matter how hard you train, no matter how much you love to train you will, at some point come to a crossroads in your life where lifting and being huge take a backseat to just being there for your loved ones - who don’t really care what kind of shape your in or how shredded you are. For them, like my daughter for example, its more important that I'm there to share in her life than whether or not I have 21 inch arms and a visible 6 pack.

All you youngins out there that are doing your research and contemplating making the jump from natural lifter to gearhead take heed. While the gear will give you speedy results the price for those results is too great to bear. One day you'll look back, as I'm doing and realize the mistake you've made.

I'd do anything to spare you that realization. Take it from me. Learn from my mistake. Stay clean and just put in the work. Its worth it.


Always remember, slow and steady wins the day.

Michael Sztym, "Old Dawg"

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Written by Michael Crichton
Hits: 14707
Aliens cause global warming, by Michael Crichton

In this brief lecture by Michael Crichton, (author of Jurassic Park, Timeline, State of Fear and many other best selling novels), the author exposes the flawed premise behind the so called "consensus" in the theory of man made global warming. This text comes directly from the Michael Crichton website on the link below



If you are as tired of the political agenda and perpetual disinformation of the AGW community, then you need to read this.



By Michael Crichton
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
January 17, 2003

An historical approach detailing how over the last thirty years scientists have begun to intermingle scientific and political claims.

My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. Charting this progression of belief will be my task today.

Let me say at once that I have no desire to discourage anyone from believing in either extraterrestrials or global warming. That would be quite impossible to do. Rather, I want to discuss the history of several widely-publicized beliefs and to point to what I consider an emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science-namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy.

I have a special interest in this because of my own upbringing. I was born in the midst of World War II, and passed my formative years at the height of the Cold War. In school drills, I dutifully crawled under my desk in preparation for a nuclear attack.

It was a time of widespread fear and uncertainty, but even as a child I believed that science represented the best and greatest hope for mankind. Even to a child, the contrast was clear between the world of politics-a world of hate and danger, of irrational beliefs and fears, of mass manipulation and disgraceful blots on human history. In contrast, science held different values-international in scope, forging friendships and working relationships across national boundaries and political systems, encouraging a dispassionate habit of thought, and ultimately leading to fresh knowledge and technology that would benefit all mankind. The world might not be a very good place, but science would make it better. And it did. In my lifetime, science has largely fulfilled its promise. Science has been the great intellectual adventure of our age, and a great hope for our troubled and restless world.

But I did not expect science merely to extend lifespan, feed the hungry, cure disease, and shrink the world with jets and cell phones. I also expected science to banish the evils of human thought---prejudice and superstition, irrational beliefs and false fears. I expected science to be, in Carl Sagan's memorable phrase, "a candle in a demon haunted world." And here, I am not so pleased with the impact of science. Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.

But let's look at how it came to pass.

Cast your minds back to 1960. John F. Kennedy is president, commercial jet airplanes are just appearing, the biggest university mainframes have 12K of memory. And in Green Bank, West Virginia at the new National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a young astrophysicist named Frank Drake runs a two week project called Ozma, to search for extraterrestrial signals. A signal is received, to great excitement. It turns out to be false, but the excitement remains. In 1960, Drake organizes the first SETI conference, and came up with the now-famous Drake equation:

N=N*fp ne fl fi fc fL

Where N is the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; fp is the fraction with planets; ne is the number of planets per star capable of supporting life; fl is the fraction of planets where life evolves; fi is the fraction where intelligent life evolves; and fc is the fraction that communicates; and fL is the fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live.

This serious-looking equation gave SETI an serious footing as a legitimate intellectual inquiry. The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. And guesses-just so we're clear-are merely expressions of prejudice. Nor can there be "informed guesses." If you need to state how many planets with life choose to communicate, there is simply no way to make an informed guess. It's simply prejudice.

As a result, the Drake equation can have any value from "billions and billions" to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion. Faith is defined as the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. The belief that the Koran is the word of God is a matter of faith. The belief that God created the universe in seven days is a matter of faith. The belief that there are other life forms in the universe is a matter of faith. There is not a single shred of evidence for any other life forms, and in forty years of searching, none has been discovered. There is absolutely no evidentiary reason to maintain this belief. SETI is a religion.

One way to chart the cooling of enthusiasm is to review popular works on the subject. In 1964, at the height of SETI enthusiasm, Walter Sullivan of the NY Times wrote an exciting book about life in the universe entitled WE ARE NOT ALONE. By 1995, when Paul Davis wrote a book on the same subject, he titled it ARE WE ALONE? ( Since 1981, there have in fact been four books titled ARE WE ALONE.) More recently we have seen the rise of the so-called "Rare Earth" theory which suggests that we may, in fact, be all alone. Again, there is no evidence either way.

Back in the sixties, SETI had its critics, although not among astrophysicists and astronomers. The biologists and paleontologists were harshest. George Gaylord Simpson of Harvard sneered that SETI was a "study without a subject," and it remains so to the present day.

But scientists in general have been indulgent toward SETI, viewing it either with bemused tolerance, or with indifference. After all, what's the big deal? It's kind of fun. If people want to look, let them. Only a curmudgeon would speak harshly of SETI. It wasn't worth the bother.

And of course it is true that untestable theories may have heuristic value. Of course extraterrestrials are a good way to teach science to kids. But that does not relieve us of the obligation to see the Drake equation clearly for what it is-pure speculation in quasi-scientific trappings.

The fact that the Drake equation was not greeted with screams of outrage-similar to the screams of outrage that greet each Creationist new claim, for example-meant that now there was a crack in the door, a loosening of the definition of what constituted legitimate scientific procedure. And soon enough, pernicious garbage began to squeeze through the cracks.

Now let's jump ahead a decade to the 1970s, and Nuclear Winter.

In 1975, the National Academy of Sciences reported on "Long-Term Worldwide Effects of Multiple Nuclear Weapons Detonations" but the report estimated the effect of dust from nuclear blasts to be relatively minor. In 1979, the Office of Technology Assessment issued a report on "The Effects of Nuclear War" and stated that nuclear war could perhaps produce irreversible adverse consequences on the environment. However, because the scientific processes involved were poorly understood, the report stated it was not possible to estimate the probable magnitude of such damage.

Three years later, in 1982, the Swedish Academy of Sciences commissioned a report entitled "The Atmosphere after a Nuclear War: Twilight at Noon," which attempted to quantify the effect of smoke from burning forests and cities. The authors speculated that there would be so much smoke that a large cloud over the northern hemisphere would reduce incoming sunlight below the level required for photosynthesis, and that this would last for weeks or even longer.

The following year, five scientists including Richard Turco and Carl Sagan published a paper in Science called "Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple Nuclear Explosions." This was the so-called TTAPS report, which attempted to quantify more rigorously the atmospheric effects, with the added credibility to be gained from an actual computer model of climate.

At the heart of the TTAPS undertaking was another equation, never specifically expressed, but one that could be paraphrased as follows:

Ds = Wn Ws Wh Tf Tb Pt Pr Pe… etc

(The amount of tropospheric dust=# warheads x size warheads x warhead detonation height x flammability of targets x Target burn duration x Particles entering the Troposphere x Particle reflectivity x Particle endurance…and so on.)

The similarity to the Drake equation is striking. As with the Drake equation, none of the variables can be determined. None at all. The TTAPS study addressed this problem in part by mapping out different wartime scenarios and assigning numbers to some of the variables, but even so, the remaining variables were-and are-simply unknowable. Nobody knows how much smoke will be generated when cities burn, creating particles of what kind, and for how long. No one knows the effect of local weather conditions on the amount of particles that will be injected into the troposphere. No one knows how long the particles will remain in the troposphere. And so on.

And remember, this is only four years after the OTA study concluded that the underlying scientific processes were so poorly known that no estimates could be reliably made. Nevertheless, the TTAPS study not only made those estimates, but concluded they were catastrophic.

According to Sagan and his co-workers, even a limited 5,000 megaton nuclear exchange would cause a global temperature drop of more than 35 degrees Centigrade, and this change would last for three months. The greatest volcanic eruptions that we know of changed world temperatures somewhere between .5 and 2 degrees Centigrade. Ice ages changed global temperatures by 10 degrees. Here we have an estimated change three times greater than any ice age. One might expect it to be the subject of some dispute.

But Sagan and his co-workers were prepared, for nuclear winter was from the outset the subject of a well-orchestrated media campaign. The first announcement of nuclear winter appeared in an article by Sagan in the Sunday supplement, Parade. The very next day, a highly-publicized, high-profile conference on the long-term consequences of nuclear war was held in Washington, chaired by Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich, the most famous and media-savvy scientists of their generation. Sagan appeared on the Johnny Carson show 40 times. Ehrlich was on 25 times. Following the conference, there were press conferences, meetings with congressmen, and so on. The formal papers in Science came months later.

This is not the way science is done, it is the way products are sold.

The real nature of the conference is indicated by these artists' renderings of the effect of nuclear winter.

I cannot help but quote the caption for figure 5: "Shown here is a tranquil scene in the north woods. A beaver has just completed its dam, two black bears forage for food, a swallow-tailed butterfly flutters in the foreground, a loon swims quietly by, and a kingfisher searches for a tasty fish." Hard science if ever there was.

At the conference in Washington, during the question period, Ehrlich was reminded that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists were quoted as saying nothing would grow there for 75 years, but in fact melons were growing the next year. So, he was asked, how accurate were these findings now?

Ehrlich answered by saying "I think they are extremely robust. Scientists may have made statements like that, although I cannot imagine what their basis would have been, even with the state of science at that time, but scientists are always making absurd statements, individually, in various places. What we are doing here, however, is presenting a consensus of a very large group of scientists…"

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let's review a few cases.

In past centuries, the greatest killer of women was fever following childbirth . One woman in six died of this fever. In 1795, Alexander Gordon of Aberdeen suggested that the fevers were infectious processes, and he was able to cure them. The consensus said no. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed puerperal fever was contagious, and presented compelling evidence. The consensus said no. In 1849, Semmelweiss demonstrated that sanitary techniques virtually eliminated puerperal fever in hospitals under his management. The consensus said he was a Jew, ignored him, and dismissed him from his post. There was in fact no agreement on puerperal fever until the start of the twentieth century. Thus the consensus took one hundred and twenty five years to arrive at the right conclusion despite the efforts of the prominent "skeptics" around the world, skeptics who were demeaned and ignored. And despite the constant ongoing deaths of women.

There is no shortage of other examples. In the 1920s in America, tens of thousands of people, mostly poor, were dying of a disease called pellagra. The consensus of scientists said it was infectious, and what was necessary was to find the "pellagra germ." The US government asked a brilliant young investigator, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, to find the cause. Goldberger concluded that diet was the crucial factor. The consensus remained wedded to the germ theory. Goldberger demonstrated that he could induce the disease through diet. He demonstrated that the disease was not infectious by injecting the blood of a pellagra patient into himself, and his assistant. They and other volunteers swabbed their noses with swabs from pellagra patients, and swallowed capsules containing scabs from pellagra rashes in what were called "Goldberger's filth parties." Nobody contracted pellagra. The consensus continued to disagree with him. There was, in addition, a social factor-southern States disliked the idea of poor diet as the cause, because it meant that social reform was required. They continued to deny it until the 1920s. Result-despite a twentieth century epidemic, the consensus took years to see the light.

Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology-until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees.

And shall we go on? The examples can be multiplied endlessly. Jenner and smallpox, Pasteur and germ theory. Saccharine, margarine, repressed memory, fiber and colon cancer, hormone replacement therapy…the list of consensus errors goes on and on.

Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

But back to our main subject.

What I have been suggesting to you is that nuclear winter was a meaningless formula, tricked out with bad science, for policy ends. It was political from the beginning, promoted in a well-orchestrated media campaign that had to be planned weeks or months in advance.

Further evidence of the political nature of the whole project can be found in the response to criticism. Although Richard Feynman was characteristically blunt, saying, "I really don't think these guys know what they're talking about," other prominent scientists were noticeably reticent. Freeman Dyson was quoted as saying "It's an absolutely atrocious piece of science but…who wants to be accused of being in favor of nuclear war?" And Victor Weisskopf said, "The science is terrible but---perhaps the psychology is good." The nuclear winter team followed up the publication of such comments with letters to the editors denying that these statements were ever made, though the scientists since then have subsequently confirmed their views.

At the time, there was a concerted desire on the part of lots of people to avoid nuclear war. If nuclear winter looked awful, why investigate too closely? Who wanted to disagree? Only people like Edward Teller, the "father of the H bomb."

Teller said, "While it is generally recognized that details are still uncertain and deserve much more study, Dr. Sagan nevertheless has taken the position that the whole scenario is so robust that there can be little doubt about its main conclusions." Yet for most people, the fact that nuclear winter was a scenario riddled with uncertainties did not seem to be relevant.

I say it is hugely relevant. Once you abandon strict adherence to what science tells us, once you start arranging the truth in a press conference, then anything is possible. In one context, maybe you will get some mobilization against nuclear war. But in another context, you get Lysenkoism. In another, you get Nazi euthanasia. The danger is always there, if you subvert science to political ends.

That is why it is so important for the future of science that the line between what science can say with certainty, and what it cannot, be drawn clearly-and defended.

What happened to Nuclear Winter? As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive; John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring.

A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened.

What, then, can we say were the lessons of Nuclear Winter? I believe the lesson was that with a catchy name, a strong policy position and an aggressive media campaign, nobody will dare to criticize the science, and in short order, a terminally weak thesis will be established as fact. After that, any criticism becomes beside the point. The war is already over without a shot being fired. That was the lesson, and we had a textbook application soon afterward, with second hand smoke.

In 1993, the EPA announced that second-hand smoke was "responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults," and that it " impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of people." In a 1994 pamphlet the EPA said that the eleven studies it based its decision on were not by themselves conclusive, and that they collectively assigned second-hand smoke a risk factor of 1.19. (For reference, a risk factor below 3.0 is too small for action by the EPA. or for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example.) Furthermore, since there was no statistical association at the 95% confidence limits, the EPA lowered the limit to 90%. They then classified second hand smoke as a Group A Carcinogen.

This was openly fraudulent science, but it formed the basis for bans on smoking in restaurants, offices, and airports. California banned public smoking in 1995. Soon, no claim was too extreme. By 1998, the Christian Science Monitor was saying that "Second-hand smoke is the nation's third-leading preventable cause of death." The American Cancer Society announced that 53,000 people died each year of second-hand smoke. The evidence for this claim is nonexistent.

In 1998, a Federal judge held that the EPA had acted improperly, had "committed to a conclusion before research had begun", and had "disregarded information and made findings on selective information." The reaction of Carol Browner, head of the EPA was: "We stand by our science….there's wide agreement. The American people certainly recognize that exposure to second hand smoke brings…a whole host of health problems." Again, note how the claim of consensus trumps science. In this case, it isn't even a consensus of scientists that Browner evokes! It's the consensus of the American people.

Meanwhile, ever-larger studies failed to confirm any association. A large, seven-country WHO study in 1998 found no association. Nor have well-controlled subsequent studies, to my knowledge. Yet we now read, for example, that second hand smoke is a cause of breast cancer. At this point you can say pretty much anything you want about second-hand smoke.

As with nuclear winter, bad science is used to promote what most people would consider good policy. I certainly think it is. I don't want people smoking around me. So who will speak out against banning second-hand smoke? Nobody, and if you do, you'll be branded a shill of RJ Reynolds. A big tobacco flunky. But the truth is that we now have a social policy supported by the grossest of superstitions. And we've given the EPA a bad lesson in how to behave in the future. We've told them that cheating is the way to succeed.

As the twentieth century drew to a close, the connection between hard scientific fact and public policy became increasingly elastic. In part this was possible because of the complacency of the scientific profession; in part because of the lack of good science education among the public; in part, because of the rise of specialized advocacy groups which have been enormously effective in getting publicity and shaping policy; and in great part because of the decline of the media as an independent assessor of fact. The deterioration of the American media is dire loss for our country. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?

And so, in this elastic anything-goes world where science-or non-science-is the hand maiden of questionable public policy, we arrive at last at global warming. It is not my purpose here to rehash the details of this most magnificent of the demons haunting the world. I would just remind you of the now-familiar pattern by which these things are established. Evidentiary uncertainties are glossed over in the unseemly rush for an overarching policy, and for grants to support the policy by delivering findings that are desired by the patron. Next, the isolation of those scientists who won't get with the program, and the characterization of those scientists as outsiders and "skeptics" in quotation marks-suspect individuals with suspect motives, industry flunkies, reactionaries, or simply anti-environmental nutcases. In short order, debate ends, even though prominent scientists are uncomfortable about how things are being done.

When did "skeptic" become a dirty word in science? When did a skeptic require quotation marks around it?

To an outsider, the most significant innovation in the global warming controversy is the overt reliance that is being placed on models. Back in the days of nuclear winter, computer models were invoked to add weight to a conclusion: "These results are derived with the help of a computer model." But now large-scale computer models are seen as generating data in themselves. No longer are models judged by how well they reproduce data from the real world-increasingly, models provide the data. As if they were themselves a reality. And indeed they are, when we are projecting forward. There can be no observational data about the year 2100. There are only model runs.

This fascination with computer models is something I understand very well. Richard Feynmann called it a disease. I fear he is right. Because only if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen can you arrive at the complex point where the global warming debate now stands.

Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?

Stepping back, I have to say the arrogance of the modelmakers is breathtaking. There have been, in every century, scientists who say they know it all. Since climate may be a chaotic system-no one is sure-these predictions are inherently doubtful, to be polite. But more to the point, even if the models get the science spot-on, they can never get the sociology. To predict anything about the world a hundred years from now is simply absurd.

Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn't know what an atom was. They didn't know its structure. They also didn't know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS… None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn't know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it's even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They're bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment's thought knows it.

I remind you that in the lifetime of most scientists now living, we have already had an example of dire predictions set aside by new technology. I refer to the green revolution. In 1960, Paul Ehrlich said, "The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ten years later, he predicted four billion people would die during the 1980s, including 65 million Americans. The mass starvation that was predicted never occurred, and it now seems it isn't ever going to happen. Nor is the population explosion going to reach the numbers predicted even ten years ago. In 1990, climate modelers anticipated a world population of 11 billion by 2100. Today, some people think the correct number will be 7 billion and falling. But nobody knows for sure.

But it is impossible to ignore how closely the history of global warming fits on the previous template for nuclear winter. Just as the earliest studies of nuclear winter stated that the uncertainties were so great that probabilities could never be known, so, too the first pronouncements on global warming argued strong limits on what could be determined with certainty about climate change. The 1995 IPCC draft report said, "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced." It also said, "No study to date has positively attributed all or part of observed climate changes to anthropogenic causes." Those statements were removed, and in their place appeared: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on climate."

What is clear, however, is that on this issue, science and policy have become inextricably mixed to the point where it will be difficult, if not impossible, to separate them out. It is possible for an outside observer to ask serious questions about the conduct of investigations into global warming, such as whether we are taking appropriate steps to improve the quality of our observational data records, whether we are systematically obtaining the information that will clarify existing uncertainties, whether we have any organized disinterested mechanism to direct research in this contentious area.

The answer to all these questions is no. We don't.

In trying to think about how these questions can be resolved, it occurs to me that in the progression from SETI to nuclear winter to second hand smoke to global warming, we have one clear message, and that is that we can expect more and more problems of public policy dealing with technical issues in the future-problems of ever greater seriousness, where people care passionately on all sides.

And at the moment we have no mechanism to get good answers. So I will propose one.

Just as we have established a tradition of double-blinded research to determine drug efficacy, we must institute double-blinded research in other policy areas as well. Certainly the increased use of computer models, such as GCMs, cries out for the separation of those who make the models from those who verify them. The fact is that the present structure of science is entrepreneurial, with individual investigative teams vying for funding from organizations which all too often have a clear stake in the outcome of the research - or appear to, which may be just as bad. This is not healthy for science.

Sooner or later, we must form an independent research institute in this country. It must be funded by industry, by government, and by private philanthropy, both individuals and trusts. The money must be pooled, so that investigators do not know who is paying them. The institute must fund more than one team to do research in a particular area, and the verification of results will be a foregone requirement: teams will know their results will be checked by other groups. In many cases, those who decide how to gather the data will not gather it, and those who gather the data will not analyze it. If we were to address the land temperature records with such rigor, we would be well on our way to an understanding of exactly how much faith we can place in global warming, and therefore what seriousness we must address this.

I believe that as we come to the end of this litany, some of you may be saying, well what is the big deal, really. So we made a few mistakes. So a few scientists have overstated their cases and have egg on their faces. So what.

Well, I'll tell you.

In recent years, much has been said about the post modernist claims about science to the effect that science is just another form of raw power, tricked out in special claims for truth-seeking and objectivity that really have no basis in fact. Science, we are told, is no better than any other undertaking. These ideas anger many scientists, and they anger me. But recent events have made me wonder if they are correct. We can take as an example the scientific reception accorded a Danish statistician, Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist.

The scientific community responded in a way that can only be described as disgraceful. In professional literature, it was complained he had no standing because he was not an earth scientist. His publisher, Cambridge University Press, was attacked with cries that the editor should be fired, and that all right-thinking scientists should shun the press. The past president of the AAAS wondered aloud how Cambridge could have ever "published a book that so clearly could never have passed peer review." )But of course the manuscript did pass peer review by three earth scientists on both sides of the Atlantic, and all recommended publication.) But what are scientists doing attacking a press? Is this the new McCarthyism-coming from scientists?

Worst of all was the behavior of the Scientific American, which seemed intent on proving the post-modernist point that it was all about power, not facts. The Scientific American attacked Lomborg for eleven pages, yet only came up with nine factual errors despite their assertion that the book was "rife with careless mistakes." It was a poor display featuring vicious ad hominem attacks, including comparing him to a Holocaust denier. The issue was captioned: "Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist." Really. Science has to defend itself? Is this what we have come to?

When Lomborg asked for space to rebut his critics, he was given only a page and a half. When he said it wasn't enough, he put the critics' essays on his web page and answered them in detail. Scientific American threatened copyright infringement and made him take the pages down.

Further attacks since have made it clear what is going on. Lomborg is charged with heresy. That's why none of his critics needs to substantiate their attacks in any detail. That's why the facts don't matter. That's why they can attack him in the most vicious personal terms. He's a heretic.

Of course, any scientist can be charged as Galileo was charged. I just never thought I'd see the Scientific American in the role of mother church.

Is this what science has become? I hope not. But it is what it will become, unless there is a concerted effort by leading scientists to aggressively separate science from policy. The late Philip Handler, former president of the National Academy of Sciences, said that "Scientists best serve public policy by living within the ethics of science, not those of politics. If the scientific community will not unfrock the charlatans, the public will not discern the difference-science and the nation will suffer." Personally, I don't worry about the nation. But I do worry about science.

Thank you very much.
Michael Crichton


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Freakery, Freaks, and Bodybuilding: An Essay on Human Marvels

A research article by Brad Johnson in which I am quoted and used as a reference:

Bodybuilding Freaks

Statement of Interdisciplinary: My Major is Psychology, and I used this as a main discipline of this paper.  In addition to this, I also used History which can bee seen in pages 1-11, Biology/Anatomy on page 18 dealing with steroids, Literature on pages 20-23, and Photography on pages 22 and 23.

            Freaks, people who somehow differ from what society deems as the norm, have been around since the beginning of time.  They come in all shapes and sizes, and in all races, nationalities, and genders.  They have been exploited by many and viewed with amazement by all.  Seen as both corporeally and culturally different, they make up a unique middle ground between human and animal, male and female, fat and skinny, and so on.  This essay focuses on both freaks of the past and the present by summarizing a collection of essays by Rosemarie Garland Thomson entitled Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, an analysis of Freaks (a 1932 film directed by Tod Browning), and a discussion of bodybuilding as a modern day freak show.

Rosemarie Garland Thomson starts her book entitled Freakery with an introduction that covers the history of these so-called ‘freaks’ and how the view of them has changed through the years.  The term freak is a loaded term, and what I mean when I use this term is peoples who are seen as different in society, not better or worse, just different.  Freaks have existed since the beginning of time.  In the Stone Age, “cave drawings recorded monstrous births,”[1] and there were stories of the one-eyed monster Polyphemus, and Goliath the giant, who was defeated by David in biblical times.  “Clay tablets at the Assyrian city of Nineveh describe in detail sixty-two of what we would now call congenial abnormalities.”[2]

            Even from the beginning of time, these freaks proved profitable.  Nobility in Egypt, Rome, and Europe “kept dwarfs and fools as amusing pets.”[3] For some time, these freaks were displayed in taverns or on the streets, but that changed in the nineteenth century.  After this time, they were displayed in circuses as sideshows, and people would come from all over to see these amazing freaks of nature. 

            Next, Thomson introduces freak discourse, which is how the freak’s body is seen over time and how these freaks are pictured.  Here, she makes a reference to freaks as similar to both women and slaves.  “Like the bodies of females and slaves, the monstrous body exists in societies to be exploited for someone else’s purposes.”[4] 

            During the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, Americans flocked to freak shows.  One of the most popular ones was P.T. Barnum’s American Museum.  As a sideshow to his circus, he had freaks such as bearded women, midgets, the wild men of Borneo, fat ladies, living skeletons, and many more.  There are four narrative forms to produce freaks.  The first is the lecture.  Next are fanciful accounts of who these freaks are and the stories of their lives.  After that comes the costuming.  “An animal skin wrap, a spear, and some grunting noises made a retarded black man into the Missing Link.”[5] Finally, drawings and pictures of these ‘freaks’ were used. 

            To exaggerate the freakishness of these modern-day ‘monsters,’ when pictures were taken, those who were using these freaks for profit, would often put one extreme right next to the other to show the huge contrast.  For example, next to a fat woman they would put a living skeleton, or next to a midget, they would put a giant.

            This idea of exploiting freaks to gain profit from became known as ‘enfreakment,’ a term coined by David Hevey.  It was once very widely used in the United States.   

            Freak shows were once very accepted in the United States, and along with being accepted they were also very popular and profitable.  A person traveling by might have heard, “Step right up…see the most astonishing aggregation of human marvels and monstrosities gathered together in one edifice.”[6]

            All together there are four types of freaks that would be at these freak shows.  The “born freaks” who were people born with a physical disability such as armless and legless wonders or Siamese twins.  Then there are “made freaks,” who do something to themselves.  An example of this is people who cover themselves with tattoos.  Then there are “novelty acts” where these freaks might swallow swords.  The final type of freaks are really not freaks at all, they are called “gaffed freaks.”  These are people who impersonate freaks, or try to be freaks.  They are phonies.  An example is people who try to be armless wonders by tucking their arm inside their shirt.

            These people live a lived inside their own community of freaks and consider people who are not ‘freaks’ to be outsiders.  They “developed a unique language, lifestyle, and insiders’ secrets, and contempt for those who were outsiders.”[7]  They didn’t take offense to what people called them because they didn’t take it seriously.  “Their main concern was to make money.”[8]

            Most of the time these freaks were badly misrepresented.  They had fabricated stories about who they were and where they were from.  This was done to make them more exotic to the people who came and saw them.  There were two ways that freaks were presented: the exotic mode and the aggrandized status mode.  “In the exotic mode, the person received an identity that appealed to people’s interest in the culturally strange, the primitive, the exotic.”[9]  In the aggrandized status mode, they made these freaks superior by making them royalty, and they used prestigious titles such as King and Queen.

            In his chapter, Gerber talks a lot about the question of choice.  Did a lot of these freaks have any other choice but to join the freak show?  One person said that it was either that or he had to go on welfare.  This is not much of a choice.  Because he was a freak, he wouldn’t be able to get another job, so he really had no other choice but to join a freak show or go on welfare.  Gerber also speaks about dignity.  The dwarfs that are used in dwarf bowling or dwarf tossing, can they have any pride or dignity? 

            Grosz begins her essay by explaining what a freak is.  “The freak is thus neither unusually gifted nor unusually disadvantaged.  He or she is not an object of simple admiration or pity, but is a being who is considered simultaneously and compulsively fascinating and repulsive, enticing and sickening.”[10]  There is a duality that draws us to these freaks, it both astonishes us and repulses us all at once.  She describes these freaks as ambiguous because they live in the middle ground between human and animal, between the living and the dead, and between one sex and the other.

            Grosz then focuses on two types of freaks: conjoined twins and hermaphrodites.  She explains the many types of hermaphrodites and how they came about.  Along with this we find out that the way hermaphrodites are presented at these freak shows is by dressing the freak in half male clothing and half female clothing.

            After this Grosz discussed Siamese twins (conjoined twins).  In the late 20th century there were only two fates for conjoined twins.  Separating them would most likely result in death; living a life in seclusion was an alternative to being looked at and treated disfavorably.


Part 2 of Freakery begins with Chapter Five, written by Paul Semonin.  It begins with discussing the idea of ‘monsters’ in early modern England.  ‘Monsters’ did not mean big and scary creatures that went around destroying property or eating sheep.  In fact, it did not mean anything like that at all.  “The term ‘monsters’ applied to many types of exotic exhibits besides those natural abnormalities that fell into the category of monstrous births.”[11]  So not only is the word ‘monster’ used to describe those with physical abnormalities, but it is also used to describe many exhibits with which people were unfamiliar.

            Royalty used these freaks or ‘monsters’ to entertain them at the courts, but this royalty was not the only group to be entertained by them.  The wealthy paid to have them brought to them for private shows, and these freaks also entertained at taverns and coffeehouses. 

            Chapter Six, written by Edward L. Schwarzschild, discusses Peale.  This man “often presented death as a ‘freak of nature.’”[12]  Peale felt that he could have command over death.  He wanted to tame death and put it on display at his museum.  He even wanted to preserve Benjamin Franklin’s body, as a way to defy death.  The painting of his wife with their dead daughter was so powerful that he had to keep it behind a curtain.  

            Chapter Seven, by Eric Fretz, talks about the exhibition of freaks during the nineteenth century.  He compares the freaks that are being exhibited to the values of the American middle class, at that time.  “The public selves on display became ideological mirrors that reflected the values of a developing American middle class by confirming notions of success, otherness, and, in some instances, blackness.”[13]  So in a way, these freaks represented the American middle class in the nineteenth century.

            The next chapter, written by Ellen Hickey Grayson, describes laughing gas demonstrations.  These ‘freak shows’ did not focus on physical deformities, but rather, they exposed the inside traits that normally weren’t exposed, of those on stage.  She begins the chapter by explaining the history of the study of laughing gas.  Then she talks about these performances.  Both men and women were used in these performances, but there was a difference in how each were supposed to act.  The women “restricted their performances to moral virtue.”[14]  They accomplished this by singing or reading poetry or scripture.  However, some women didn’t do this and showed their inappropriate character traits, but after it they were criticized and humiliated.  Men didn’t have to worry about this as much as women did.

            After this, the power of photography and the callers who persuaded people to come into the freak shows were discussed.  Photography was critical to the survival and popularity of the freak show.  Before photographs, people were skeptical that these ‘freaks’ were not real, but after they saw photos of these freaks they weren’t so skeptical anymore and went to the freak shows to see them.  The rest of the chapter deals with how the callers got people to come inside to see the freaks.  These callers tricked people by using fake-ticket buyers (a worker would act excited and pretend like he was buying a lot of tickets so the rest of the crowd would follow him and buy tickets also) and they used short-changing techniques.

Chapter Ten discusses “What is It?” in P.T. Barnum’s Exhibition.  “What is It?” is also known as the “Missing Link” between humans and our primal ancestors.  Through the years that this exhibit ran, we know of at least two men who played the “Missing Link.”  The first was an actor named Harvey Leech.  Because of his body build (a large upper body and tiny legs) he played many ‘monkey’ chartacters on stage.  Because of this, he was perfect for the exhibit.  There was however a minor problem.  One day, a man looking at the exhibit recognized the actor.  Barnum let his “Missing Link” attraction die down for a bit while this problem was figured out.  Then, Barnum found another man to play “What is It?.”  His name was William Henry Johnson.  He was a mentally retarded black man from New Jersey.  This man fit the role well, Barnum thought.  People from all over came to see this act, but no one new what to call it.  Finally, Barnum used the term nondescript, “a person or thing that is not easily described, or is of no particular class or kind.”[15]  There was a shift in reception from him being a monkey-man with no feelings, to a human-like being with “bright and intelligent eyes.”[16]

            Next, freaks in Germany are discussed in Chapter 11.  This includes the “Aztec Children” as well as Krao the ‘Ape-Girl,’ and others.  Krao, was a typical Siamese girl who suffered from a disease, but she was presented as the ‘Missing Link.’  These Germans were obsessed with the idea of  ‘ape-people’ or Microcephalics and the idea of the ‘Missing Link.’  The chapter concludes with Lionel the lion-faced boy.  He was seen as a freak of nature because he was very hairy, much like a lion.  The difference between him and the ‘Ape-Girl’ was that he was shown as upper class in the way he dressed and by his poses.  He was raised on a pedestal, and the ‘Ape-Girl’ was lowered to sub-human, an animal.

            Chapter Twelve differs from the other essays because it is a chapter about a pair of freaks who made it big, and didn’t see their disability as a disability at all.  It is an uplifting account.  Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined twins who became vaudeville sensations and appeared in two movies.  At this time, there was the rise of the New Woman, a rise in thought that gave the women more equality with men, both in the household and in society.  These twins were very financially successful, and were seen as reflections of the rise of the New Woman.  This movement was not only about women’s equality, but also about them being independent.  The ironic part about this is that, while they represented this movement of independence, “neither Daisy nor Violet ever [were] ‘free.’”[17]

            The next chapter is about cuteness.  In this essay, the author uses both Tom Thumb and Shirley Temple as examples to convey his message.  Through this essay Lori Merish, the author, associates cuteness with powerlessness.  She argues that cute people aren’t as powerful as people who aren’t cute.  Even today, we hold this ideal true.  We say someone is “cute” if they say something naive.  We diminish these people as human beings by how they appear.  Many people feel that people who are cute, especially women, are small and slender.  We do not typically think of these people as powerful, we see them as cute. 

This next section begins with Europeans displaying foreigners in their freak shows.  White supremacy is reflected in Chapter Fourteen, by European entrepreneurs that owned freak shows.  They would claim to go into foreign lands and capture natives of those lands and bring them back to Europe.  Here, they would be put on display for all to see because they were different.  People would come from all over to see these so-called savage and untamed peoples.  The businessmen would show their superiority to these foreigners, who everyone felt were inferior, by locking them up and putting them on display for all to see.  They were using ethnological show-business to keep Africa as ‘the dark continent.’  One example of this was the Hottentot Venus.  She was put on display because not only was she African, but she also had a larger than normal rear end.

            Next, the inferiority of other exotic looking people and how western powers controlled them is discussed.  It was very easy for these people to control them and they started out by using them for education, or so the westerners said, but then they transformed that into entertainment.  Westerners began to exhibit these people because they were different from normal people.  But along with displaying them, they stripped their culture from them.  For example, some of these people didn’t wear clothes as a part of their custom, but our government said they needed to, so they forced them to wear clothes.  Westerners took over their lives.  Another example of this is in what they ate.  Some of these people ate dogs, but the government stepped in and said no.  They made them change their whole way of life so it was more like ours.  Once again, we show how superior white people are and the inferiority of those not like us.

            Chapter Sixteen summarizes Melville’s fiction in terms of freakery.  Melville tells a story about a man who wanted to go and study the Typee, as they lived in their own culture.  These people used tattoos as part of their custom.  The man saw these tattoos as making these people into objects, he saw them as almost sub-human.  Eventually, the Typee wanted to tattoo his face.  They were accepting him into their culture, but he said no.  He didn’t want to become one of them, he wanted to stay ‘superior’ to them.  He didn’t want to be compared with these freaks.  He was afraid that if he let them tattoo his face, then he too would be seen as a freak, and would not be accepted in his own culture.  Melville compared tattooing with cannibalism.  He said that tattooing was just as bad as cannibalism. 

            Finally, the last and most complex of the chapters in this section, Chapter Seventeen, is about the Circassian Beauty.  We see that she is supposed to represent both purity and virtue, but she ends up representing exotic sexual intrigue.  The first Circassian Beauty was rumored to be a Turk who was on display, but she may have been just a girl with bushy hair who came to Barnum one day looking for work.  From then on she became the Circassian Beauty.  Photography helped a lot in the advertising for this beauty.  Once people saw the photos they wanted to go and see her in person. 

            In this section there is a definite theme of white supremacy.  White people felt that we were superior to all other people in the world, wanting to capture and put on display all those that were different.  Freaks were inferior to white people.  

            In Chapter 22, Dennett argues that freak shows are still around, but they are now modified to today’s audiences.  In our age, there are a lot of daytime television talk shows.  We no longer have ‘freak shows’ or ‘dime shows’ where you were able to go into tents and view ‘freaks’ for a dime, because now this would be seen as distasteful.  But producers know that we, as humans, still have an urge to view these people we call freaks.  So they came up with a ‘tasteful’ way for us to view these people.  They came up with these television shows and talk shows where they would display all kinds of ‘freaks.’  A couple of examples she gives are Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Jerry Springer, and Oprah.

            Chapter 23 has a similar theme.  Weinstock argues that “the freak show may be all but extinct in contemporary America, [but] it remains alive and kicking on the big screen.” (328)  He goes on to talk about how Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation meet our definition of freaks.  They are freaks in space.  He argues that “ugly aliens are bad, [and] cute aliens are good (albeit still inferior).”[18]  He then states how the aliens are inferior to the ‘superiority of the white male hero.”[19]  After he talks about Star Wars he goes into Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Here he argues that the aliens in this show “can be divided into two categories: those races (generally depicted as “primitive”) that need to learn emotional restraint…, and those (generally technologically advanced) races that need to “loosen up.””[20]  He shows us how our freak shows have moved from the streets to the big screen in two movies involving extraterrestrials.

            We then move into a chapter dealing with Siamese Twins, a documentary.  We examine this documentary created for the PBS series Nova.  This film can be broken up into three sections: first, when the twins come to the United States.  Second, when they are being prepared for surgery, and finally when they get out of surgery and attending preschool.  This essay shows that although this documentary was meant to be for medical purposes, it also touches on the field of entertainment.  People were watching it because they wanted to see these freaks become normalized through surgery.

The following article discusses body building competitions as a kind of freak show.  Lindsay argues that there are limitations put on women during these body building competitions.  The judges, and the audience for that matter, don’t want women to have muscles that are too big.  They still want these women to possess some feminine qualities and characteristics.  This wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that there are no such restrictions on men.  This is an unfair gender discrimination.

            The final chapter in this collection of essays is about Michael Jackson.  Yuan argues that Jackson is more famous for his freakishness than his music.  Michael Jackson put so much into his appearance because he wanted to be different from everybody else, and that’s why he is famous.  Yes, his music was chart topping, but he really became popular for his freakish looks.

            As a companion to Thomson’s collection, the movie Freaks describes life behind the scenes of the freak show.  It is a movie about romance and deceit, about friendship and spite, and about those with physical disabilities who were exploited at the time.  The movie was so controversial that it was pulled off shelves by MGM in 1932 and finally re-released in 1962. 

            This movie has a lot going on throughout, so I will analyze it by breaking it down into two halves, showing the strength of these freaks when they ban together.  “The first half of the film goes to great lengths to “normalize” the freaks,” says Joan Hawkins,[21] while in the second half we see these freaks turn and go on a murderous rampage.  At the beginning, our sympathy is directed toward the freaks, but once the shift happens, our sympathy is directed “away from the freaks and toward their intended victim.”[22]

            The first half of this movie attempts to normalize these freaks in terms of what society saw as normal and common at the time.  It is a plea to our senses to make these freaks seem like the rest of society.  This film does a good job at making these freaks seem like us on one hand, but on the other hand, the audience is still aware of these freaks disabilities. 

            The film shows the actors backstage.  Early on, we see Madame Tetralini, the freak show manager, taking many of the freaks out to play.  They are playing around, like children (which most of them are not) when two men approach.  At this, they run to Madame Tetralini for protection.  At this very moment you could see these freaks as normal children, doing what normal children do, playing around.  Also, when the men approach, they run to Madame Tetralini like normal children would do to their mother.  She then scolds the “children,” telling them that they need not be afraid, that “God looks after all His children.”[23]  This scene really attempts to make these freak children seem like normal children.

            Also, early on we see the conjoined twins Violet and Daisy marry two different men.  They are viewed by all as freaks, but here we see them both get married.  This is another attempt to normalize these freaks.  How can one be more normal than by getting married?  Soon after, Frieda is talking to Hans about the antagonist Cleo, and says to him, “To me you’re a man, but to her, you’re something to laugh at.”[24]  To Cleo, Hans is far from normal, he is a dwarf, but to Frieda he is a normal man.  The audience can feel her try to make Hans feel as if he did not have a disability.

            In addition to these examples, there are two “normal” people who seem to see these freaks as normal human beings.  Phroso, the clown, and Venus, the seal trainer, interact and talk to the freaks like they are just another person, like they are normal.  They don’t talk down to them or try to make them feel stupid, like Cleo does.  A good example of this is when Phroso is talking to one of the pinheads, and he tells her that he is going to buy her a hat when he gets to Paris.  It is a very caring scene where the audience can tell he doesn’t see her freak side, he just sees a normal person trapped in a deformed body.  Also, Venus talks with Frieda outside the trailers while Frieda hangs her laundry.  Here too we see that this “normal” person doesn’t seem to see Frieda as a freak.  She talks to her as friend.  All of these examples show how Freaks attempts to normalize these people during the first half of the film.   

While we see Freaks try to normalize these carnival people (freaks), we also see a shift from this normality to a portrayal as murderers.  Right after the wedding feast, there is a definitive shift from one to the other.  During this feast, Cleo poisons Hans in attempt to kill him so she can recover the large inheritance that is coming to him.  Soon after, the rest of the freaks realize what’s going on and know they have to do something or Hans is likely to be killed.  They ban together not only to protect Hans, but to punish Cleo for what she did.  As the freak show is traveling to another location, we see Cleo step into Hans’ trailer.  In his trailer are a few of his freak companions.  She says she is here to give him his medicine, but in reality, she is there to poison him again.  Hans asks for the black vile, and Cleo insists she doesn’t know what he is talking about.  She turns around and sees one of the freaks flip open a knife and another brandish a gun.  These freaks know she was going to poison him and they had to do something to stop it.  All of them chased her out of the trailer and through the woods with their weapons drawn.  While the freaks in Hans’ trailer were chasing Cleo through the woods, the other freaks had to do something about the other person in the plot to kill Hans, Hercules.  They found him outside one of the trailers and attacked.  He was injured by a thrown knife, and the rest of the freaks crawled under the wagon through the mud and rain to finish him off.  In the end, we can assume the freaks killed Hercules and turned Cleo into the “Chicken-Woman.”  Whether we are meant to think they actually mutilated her and actually turned her into a freak, or if it was just a hoax, they were able to demoralize her in some fashion.  Banning together, they were hell-bent on revenge. 

Remembering when Madame Tetralini had her “children” outside playing at the beginning of the movie, the freaks clung to the “big woman” for protection.  However, things changed because “the revenge sequence depicts a big woman who desperately needs protection from a band of marauding freaks.”[25]  They are no longer the ones who need protection, they are the ones attacking and attempting to murder both Hans and Cleo.  

            The biggest, most recurring theme throughout this film is the idea of togetherness and closeness.  The freaks shown in this film have a special bond to one another.  It is an extremely strong bond, and toward the end of the movie we see the idea of “offend one and you offend them all.”[26]  It is a bond that is so strong that they are willing to kill for each other. 

            Throughout the movie, there are freaks lurking behind corners or under trailers, watching each others’ backs.  They are little spies, looking out for one another.  We see this bond and closeness in the Wedding Feast scene.  All the freaks are off by themselves, Cleo and Hercules are there too, celebrating the marriage of their friend Hans to Cleo.  They are singing and dancing and having a great time with one another, but during the feast there is something that really shows the bond of these freaks and how close they really are to each other.  The freaks start chanting, “We accept her, we accept her.  One of us, one of us.”[27]  At this, one of the midgets gets up, while the rest keep chanting, and pours wine into a huge goblet.  While they are still chanting, he walks across the table, giving it to each freak to drink from.  They all drink from it.  Then he offers it to Cleo and she flips out, calling them nasty freaks.  It is a very powerful scene.  We can almost feel the bond of these freaks, in us, as we watch this.  The idea that they are all looking out for each other is prevalent throughout the second half of the movie, from the time Cleo really tries to move in on Hans, until he end.  They know that they are all in this together, to the end.  And if they don’t watch each others’ backs, then they will be picked apart one by one, much like Hans was before he understood what was going on.  

            By joining together, these freaks were able to accomplish their goal of getting back at both Cleo and Hercules for making a fool of and trying to kill Hans to inherit his fortune.  They were able to kill Hercules and demoralize Cleo, either by actually mutilating her or by making people think she is a freak.  Together they were a powerful force and were able to accomplish their goal, but if they had not teamed up, they would not have succeeded.  Earlier in the film we saw how one of these freaks (Frieda) tried to stop Cleo from hurting Hans, emotionally or physically, and how that worked out.  Cleo pushed even more, and this ended up escalating the problem.  Then, by bonding together, the freaks fixed the problem at hand.  We see how strong the bond is between these freaks and what they can accomplish as a group as opposed to as individuals.

A long time ago, freaks were seen on street corners and in traveling circuses, but there was a transition of freaks moving from that to the big screen.  In Freaks, we see these freaks making that transition, but now there has been another transition.  We no longer need to watch television or movies to see such freaks, we can find them walking down the streets and at our local gyms.  They are bodybuilders, the modern-day freaks.  Now, more than ever, self-made freaks walk around exhibiting their extraordinary ability to entertain and amaze.  They are professional bodybuilders.  These bodybuilders are seen not only as cultural freaks, but also one of the last corporeal freaks because of their larger than average muscle mass.

             Through the rest of this essay, I will explore how modern-day bodybuilders can be classified as freaks, both corporeal and cultural, and how men and women bodybuilders are to be seen differently by others.  In addition, I would like to touch briefly on the psychology of bodybuilding, and include the thoughts of bodybuilders themselves.

            It is important to distinguish bodybuilding from weight lifting.  When you bodybuild, you build up your muscles for display, not for use.  However, when you weight lift, you build up your muscles for use.  Football players exemplify this difference.  They do not want large muscles so they can show off, they want to be strong and have large muscles so that they can compete successfully.  So where does bodybuilding fit in our society?  Is it a sporting event, is it entertainment, or does it lie somewhere in-between?

For most of its history, bodybuilding “has occupied a curiously uncertain zone lying somewhere between sporting activity, entertainment, and erotic display.”[28]  While bodybuilding is a sporting activity, due to its very athletic nature, there have always been some underlying themes, such as entertainment, and eroticism, throughout its history.  When these bodybuilders compete, it is more than just showing the judges their bodies after all the hard work it took to get into that kind of shape, it is a form of entertainment.  They go on stage to show the audience and spectators their bodies; they want to give the crowd a show; they want to entertain.  Because of this, there have been rules in the sport of bodybuilding to keep the eroticism in the back seat as much as possible.  The men can not wear any sort of thong and are no longer allowed to turn their back to the crowd and touch their toes, a common pose.  These restrictions are in place to keep bodybuilding as closely related to a sporting event as possible

            What is normal in American culture in the 21st Century?  This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends upon who you ask.  For this essay, I will define what I feel is normal for American culture at this time on the topic of bodybuilding and will base all of my statements off of that definition.  Some people, both men and women, want to be in great shape and thus they lift and exercise extensively, where other people would prefer to just not worry about it.  There are, however, extremes to both of these, exercising and lifting until your health is at risk, eating yourself into obesity, or not eating at all.  Bodybuilders are men and women with very extensive muscle mass, and as a hobby or as their job, they lift huge amounts of weights for an extended period of time.   They spend tons of money annually on home exercise gyms, dieting supplements and pills, especially males, all to enhance the way they look. 

Along with being seen as cultural freaks, these people are corporeal freaks.  Their bodies are, at the very least, very different from the average human beings’ body, not only in America, but all over the world.  These bodybuilders are the main consumers of anabolic steroids, which are used to increase muscle mass greatly in a short period of time.  In steroids, there is a lot of testosterone, which tends to increase male characteristics.  This means increased body hair, deeper voices, disrupted menstrual cycles (in women), and acne throughout the body.  Women bodybuilders, however, have also used these steroids, and male or female, it will still increase male characteristics.  Steroid use is very dangerous and can lead to liver and kidney failure, which can leave a person seriously injured or cause death.  A lot of bodybuilders use steroids in moderation, but obsessive bodybuilders are “prepared to endanger his (or her) life for the sake of putting another inch of muscle on the arms or legs.”[29]  This use of steroids is not normal in the 21st century, which makes the bodybuilder into a corporeal freak because of the steroids effects upon the body.

Of all bodybuilders, women seem have the most difficult time being accepted by society, because of how women “should look.”  The ideal for women is to be slim and trim with large breasts.  This is how most men, and some women for that matter, think women should be.  If someone deviates from that stereotype too much we begin to see them as a sort of freak, a kind of outcast.  On the one hand, there are obese women, and on the other hand there are bodybuilders. 

            In Iron Jane: Chopping Down the Muscle Myth, Dorothea Helms argues that female bodybuilders are anything but freaks.  When Lenda Murray and Diana Dennis, professional women bodybuilders, went onto a TV talk show, they had to “spend the entire hour fighting to defend their femininity and the right to carry their sport to the professional levels.”[30]  The audience and talk show hosts didn’t see them as feminine because of their looks, because of their muscles.  Helms makes the case that gaining muscles is hard work, and it is rewarding to them to see their hard work paying off.  “Muscles aren’t men’s territory,”[31] she states.  So why should female bodybuilders be viewed as unfeminine?  Unfortunately, our culture is filled with stereotypes, and the female body is idealized and stereotyped quite often.  Petite and slender is how most women are idealized, not strong and muscular. 

            Similarly, in an experiment performed by Harvey Freeman, a psychologist, in 1988, we see how women tend to be seen.  In this study, 70 college students (40 female, 30 male) were given three envelopes, each contained a picture of a woman wearing a bathing suit.  In each of these photographs, the face of the woman pictured was blanked out, so that they would not be judged on their facial beauty, but on their bodies.  One was a somatically attractive woman, one was a somatically unattractive person, and the other was a female bodybuilder.  None of them were flexing their muscles.  The subjects were asked to judge these women on their attractiveness, personal attributes, and their life success.  For attractiveness, the female bodybuilder was judged to be significantly less attractive than the attractive woman, but not significantly different than the unattractive woman.  The results also showed the bodybuilder as having significantly fewer socially desirable characteristics than the attractive person, but having significantly more desirable characteristics than the unattractive person.  Finally, the bodybuilder was “expected to have the same prospects for self-fulfillment as the high attractive stimulus persons and better prospects than the less attractive stimulus person.”[32]

            This study shows how female bodybuilders are viewed in a different light than other women.  They occupy a sort of middle ground between those we view as attractive and those we view as unattractive.  This brings me to the question of why do people decide to get into bodybuilding in the first place?  What makes them want to do this to themselves, and how do they feel about themselves?  Sam Fussell wrote an autobiography entitled Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder in which he admits, “the attempt at physical perfection grew from self disgust.”[33]  He continues to discuss why he became a bodybuilder, and the biggest other factor, along with disgust, was obsession.  He became obsessed with lifting and making himself feel better about himself and his body.

            Kerry Dulin also brings us into the mind of a bodybuilder.  He explains that while the majority of the population is concerned about their appearance, bodybuilders are obsessed with it.  They do not eat for pleasure, they eat what will help them improve their appearance.  Their diet is where the definition in their muscle comes from.  They tend to eat protein rich foods and stay away from carbohydrates. Many bodybuilders suffer from muscle dysmorphia, which is a perceived problem that makes them feel small all of the time (even though they may be enormous).  They need to be bigger to feel better about themselves, and so they continue to get bigger and bigger, but they never feel like they are big enough.  “I don't know that I have ever spoken with a competitive bodybuilder who has expressed satisfaction with his or her physique,”[34] said Dulin.  They reach for this goal they have set, but right before they reach it, their goal changes.  These bodybuilders feel like they are not where they want to be.  “We set an initial strength or physique goal only to decide that it is not enough as we approach it,” Dulin says[35].  Dulin has come to realize this fact, and thus also has come to say that it’s ok to stop changing the goals, stop raising the bar.  He says to look how far you’ve come and bask in that glory.  This is a problem that many bodybuilders have, they do not know to stop and enjoy what they have accomplished.  Instead they are too busy trying to attain their next goal.

            In addition to that, it is also interesting to learn that many bodybuilders were very little and puny as children.  They were teased for being small, and when they reached puberty began to lift weights as a result of this feeling of inadequacy.  This feeling can carry on throughout their lives, which leads them in their pursuit to get bigger and bigger.  Dulin reports that he knows many bodybuilders who won’t date or don’t have any social life outside the gym; their only goal in life is to get bigger.  By doing so, they hope to feel better about themselves. 

“The most characteristic means by which the twentieth century has filtered the visual world and rendered it intelligible has been the photographic image.”[36]  Bodybuilding is no exception to this idea.  We see photographs of both male and female bodies all around us.  However, much of the time, the female bodybuilder is seen in a different light than the male bodybuilder. 

 With the rise of photography, Americans see their ideal bodies on magazines, billboards, and anywhere else you can imagine.  For women, their wish is to be thinner, and this leads to problems such as anorexia and bulimia.  Men wish to be leaner with more muscle mass, which leads them to begin bodybuilding.  

*Fig. 1:  a picture of a female bodybuilder at a competition[37]

Look at the cover of a muscle magazine sometime.  You will notice there are rarely female bodybuilders on the cover.  Women are on these covers, but not female bodybuilders.  Typically, there are male bodybuilders, all greased and flexing, with an attractive, slim, big breasted woman on their arm.  Mixed signals as to how women are supposed to look are even on the covers of bodybuilding magazines.  When you do see female bodybuilders, although they have some manly characteristics, such as large muscles, many enhance their feminism with breast implants.  As females gain muscle in their chest area, their breasts decrease in size, and thus get breast implants so they can keep their feminine attractiveness.

Today's’ bodybuilders are looked down upon by their fans and the media if they decide to pose nude for photographs.  Many feel it is degrading to both the individual as well as to their sport.  Even still, many bodybuilders will pose nude to show off their perfectly sculpted body.  Having been around bodybuilders, I know how self absorbed they are with the way they look, and this is why they decide to pose nude, many feel their finely tuned bodies should be shown off.  Photographers want to do nude shots because they want to expose the male and female body and all of its glory.  They want to photograph them without the camouflage of clothes.

            Shawn Ray, a professional bodybuilder, feels the bodybuilding industry is “a strange industry for sure, mixed with X-convicts from dope dealers to gay and lesbian porn stars.  This sport has wife swappers, Nubian addicts, X-heads and schmoes who wrestle for money, we have them all.”[38]  He acknowledges his sport as a type of freak show.  “The thing that gets me about bodybuilding is that when I started competing, I didn’t sign up for this freak show, I just wanted to compete.”[39]

            In conclusion, the world of bodybuilding is in and of itself a human freak show, where men and women lift weights to gain massively large muscles to show off to the world.  These bodybuilders are both cultural and corporeal freaks because of their sheer size and extensive muscle mass.  Over the course of time, psychologists have tried to explain it and understand it and photographers have captured the human body in all of its glory in the pictures of the bodybuilders.  Through this paper we were able to look into the minds of a few professional bodybuilders, Dulin, Ray, Fussell, Murray, and Dennis, as they described their sport and the freakishness of it.  And in addition, we saw how male and female bodybuilders are seen and treated differently.  In the world of bodybuilding, all that matters is size and definition, and it dominates all that they do.

            Through this essay we have seen the freak in many lights by summarizing Thomson’s book, the movie Freaks, and looking at a modern marvel, the bodybuilder. We examined them from when they traveled with dime-shows and were shown on street corners or in taverns, to present-day freaks.  They exist both as the cultural and as the corporeal freaks still today.  Over time, our perception of the freak has changed from when they were once locked in cages and shown to paying crowds, but even today, we still have the concept of the freak: someone who differs from what our society sets as the norm.   


[1] Rosemarie Garland Thomson, “Introduction: From Wonder to Error- A Genealogy of Freak Discourse in Modernity,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 1.

[2] Thomson, 1.

[3] Thomson, 2.

[4] Thomson, 2.

[5] Thomson, 5.

[6] Robert Bogdan, “The Social Construction of Freaks,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 23.

[7] Bogdan, 25.

[8] Bogdan, 35.

[9] Bogdan, 28.

[10] Elizabeth Grosz, “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 56.

[11] Paul Semonin, “Monsters in the Marketplace: The Exhibition of Human Oddities in Early Modern England,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 69.

[12] Edward L. Schwarzschild, “Death-Defying/Defining Spectacles: Charles Willson Peale as Early American Freak Showman,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 83.

[13] Eric Fretz, “P.T. Barnum’s Theatrical Selfhood and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Exhibition,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 105.

[14] Ellen Hickey Grayson, “Social Order and Psychological Disorder: Laughing Gas Demonstrations, 1800-1850,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 115.

[15] James W. Cook, Jr., “Of Men, Missing Links, and Nondescripts: The Strange Career of P.T. Barnum’s “What is It?” Exhibition,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 147.

[16] Cook, Jr., 154.

[17] Allison Pingree, “The “Exceptions That Prove the Rule”: Daisy and Violet Hilton, the “New Woman,” and the Bonds of Marriage,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 177.

[18] Jeffrey A. Weinstock, “Freaks in Space: “Extraterrestrialism” and “Deep-Space Multiculturalism,”” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 333.

[19] Weinstock, 333.

[20] Weinstock, 335.

[21] Joan Hawkins. “ “One of Us”: Tod Browning’s Freaks,” in Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 267.

[22] Hawkins, 269.

[23] Hawkins, 268.

[24] Freaks, dir Tod Browning, Metro-Goldwin-Mayer Pictures, 1932.

[25] Hawkins, 269.

[26] Rachel Adams, Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001), 62.

[27] Freaks.

 [28] Kenneth R. Dutton, The Perfectible Body: The Western Ideal of Male Physical Development (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1995), 260.

[29] Dutton, 280.

[30] Dorothea Helms, “Iron Jane: Chopping Down he Muscle Myth,” Herizons, no. 07117485 (Spring 95): 9. Ebsco Host, MasterFILE Elite, (12 October 2004).

[31] Helms

[32] Harvey R. Freeman, “Social Perception of Bodybuilders,” Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology 10, no. 3(1988).

[33] Dutton, 282.

[34] Kerry Dulin, “The Psychology of Bodybuilding,”<> (14 October 2004).

[35] Dulin

[36] Dutton, 321.


[38] Shawn Ray, “A Fly on the Wall,” (14 October 2004).

[39] Ray





Adams, Rachel. Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001.


Bogdan,  Robert. “The Social Construction of Freaks.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 23-37.


Cassuto, Leonard. “ “What an object he would have made of me!”: Tattooing and the Racial Freak in Melville’s Typee.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 234-247.


Clark, David L. and Catherine Myser. “Being Humaned: Medical Documentaries and the Hyperrealization of Conjoined Twins.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 338-355.


Cook, James W. Jr. “Of Men, Missing Links, and Nondescripts: The Strange Career of P.T. Barnum’s “What is It?” Exhibition.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 139-157.


Dennett, Andrea Stulman. “The Dime Museum Freak Show Reconfigured as Talk Show.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 315-326.


Freaks. Dir Tod Browning. Metro-Goldwin-Mayer Pictures, 1932.


Fretz, Eric. “P.T. Barnum’s Theatrical Selfhood and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Exhibition.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 97-107.


Frost, Linda. “The Circassian Beauty and the Circassian Slave: Gender, Imperialism, and American Popular Entertainment.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 248-262.


Gerber, David A. “The “Careers” of People Exhibited in Freak Shows: The Problem of Volition and Valorization.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 38-54.


Grayson, Ellen Hickey. “Social Order and Psychological Disorder: Laughing Gas Demonstrations, 1800-1850.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 108-120.


Grosz, Elizabeth . “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks as/at the Limit.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 55-66.


Hawkins, Joan. “ “One of Us”: Tod Browning’s Freaks.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 265-276.


Lindfors, Bernth. “Ethnological Show Business: Footlighting the Dark Continent.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 207-218.


Lindsay, Cecile. “Bodybuilding: A Postmodern Freak Show.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 356-367.


Merish, Lori. “Cuteness and Commodity Aesthetics: Tom Thumb and Shirley Temple.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 185-203.


Ostman, Ronald E. “Photography and Persuasion: Farm Security Administration Photographs of Circus and Carnival Sideshows, 1935-1942.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 121-136.


Pingree, Allison. “The “Exceptions That Prove the Rule”: Daisy and Violet Hilton, the “New Woman,” and the Bonds of Marriage.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 173-184.


Rothfels, Nigel. “Aztecs, Aborigines, and Ape-People: Science and Freaks in Germany, 1850-1900.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 158-172.


Schwarzschild, Edward L. “Death-Defying/Defining Spectacles: Charles Willson Peale as Early American Freak Showman.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 82-96.


Semonin, Paul. “Monsters in the Marketplace: The Exhibition of Human Oddities in Early Modern England.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 69-81.


Thomson, Rosemarie Garland. “Introduction: From Wonder to Error- A Genealogy of Freak Discourse in Modernity.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 1-19.


Vaughan, Christopher A. “Ogling Igorots: The Politics and Commerce of Exhibiting Cultural Otherness, 1898-1913.” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 219-233.


Weinstock, Jeffrey A. “Freaks in Space: “Extraterrestrialism” and “Deep-Space Multiculturalism.”” In Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body, ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York University Press, 1996. 327-337.


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Web Based Communities:

A Feasibility Study for the Natural Bodybuilding Community


DATA ANALYSIS - Continued - 4

Data Limitations


 The Internet is in a continual state of flux with literally thousands of new sites appearing daily and many discontinued sites being gleaned from the database. With the number of web pages in the multiple billions, one can only draw a line when considering the depth of a search. It is inevitable that online communities have been missed, some of which may have been favorable to the Natural Bodybuilding Community. Considering that search engines return results based on relevance however, the field depth of 100 returns per keyword query would seem sufficient for our purpose. Another limiting factor lies in the fact that search engines, including Google, occasionally change their logic algorithms prior to re-indexing the web. This process sometimes referred to as a “dance”, can have a dramatic effect on search engine placement. The Lift for site has seen its relevance for targeted keywords move from the top ten results to literally off the search engine map after a dance.


Possible Errors and Omissions


 After the initial search for Web Based Communities which used ten different combinations of keywords, additional bodybuilding communities were discovered by the writer in subsequent searches. Rather than using keyword combinations, the writers’ intent was to locate websites in which his articles have been plagiarized or posted. This search resulted in the discovery of several additional online communities for the interest of bodybuilding, all of which however catered to the Enhanced Athlete. It is likely that additional online communities in the interest of Natural Bodybuilding could be found using different keyword combinations. Rather than discovering a community presence by accident, the targeted keywords chosen for this study would seem to be a practical and reasonable approach.

Data Reliability


 All data presented in this study was current at the time of research and has not been misrepresented in any form. The writers’ personal views as expressed in this document were supported with substantiating documentation.


Significant Findings


 Due to his experience as a bodybuilding competitor and author, the writer has been a moderator, and posting member of multiple online bodybuilding communities. Prior knowledge suggested that a significant imbalance in community membership was to be expected. The magnitude of the imbalance however, with less than 1% of current community membership falling to the Natural side was not anticipated. This study has shown that successful web based communities do not happen by accident, but are the result of advanced planning and architecture of the online environment. It is possible that the magnitude of the imbalance owes itself in part to poor planning on the part of community developers.


 It was also interesting to note that the ABA (American Bodybuilding Association), which claims to be the largest sanctioning body for drug tested competition, does not offer online community to its members. No statistical documentation could be found on the ABA website by which to validate this claim ( Mirroring the IFBB, the ABA’s highest level of competition is titled “Natural Olympia”, which the ABA states is the “Pinnacle of Natural Sports”. It seemed unfortunate therefore, that competitors and members of the ABA cannot find online community under the umbrella of their sanctioning organization.

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