Russian President Putin may be having an "I crap bigger than him," Jack Palance moment. On Jan. 5, 2013, in cringing contrast to images of President Barack Obama in Hawaii, not just playing golf but "agonizing over it," according to the Washington Examiner, Russians are being treated with photos of their president, Vladimir Putin vigorously hitting the ski slopes of Sochi.
Back in 1992, when Jack Palance stepped onstage in his tuxedo to accept an Academy Award, he looked down at his co-star in the movie, "City Slickers," and joked, "Billy Crystal... I crap bigger than him." He then dropped to the floor for some one-armed push-ups. Later when asked why, Palance merely responded, "Because I can." Palance was in his seventies and his stunt was said to have electrified Americans.
Putin is reported to be personally inspecting and verifying preparations for the opening of the Olympic and Paralmpic Games. For some that may appear to be the actions of a very hands-on, can-do president. Putin may be even more cocky after Forbes dropped Obama to the number two spot behind Vladimir Putin as the world's most powerful man.
One wonders if some Americans admire Putin, however grudgingly, and if Putin's displays make Russians proud. Putin receives his share of snarks from the American press each time he goes macho on camera. Over at CNN, on Jan. 3, 2013, the lede was scathing. "Russian President Vladimir Putin never misses an opportunity to show off his 'action man' credentials."
The same press attitude that is so quick to attack Putin has a field day with any alpha-male displays from American politicians, whether in walk or talk. Who can forget that the press piled on so heavily that former President George W. Bush ended up expressing public regret for his "bring 'em on" and "dead or alive" rhetoric? Bush was brutally pummeled by the press for those phrases as well as his "swagger." The Bush ranch in Texas was called a "prop."
If anyone personified and revived the image of "macho male," in the White House, it was President Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was photographed chopping wood with an ax, it was apparent this was a man who could handle the heft of an ax with as much ease as he could straddle a horse. However, even some in his own party found fault with him. When Reagan's papers were released, a memo from Reagan's presidential advisor, Elizabeth Dole, was discovered. Dole suggested that "President Reagan's image as a "man's man" was hurting him with women voters." Dole worried, "While this characterization has been helpful with men, it may have worked to his detriment with regard to women. An often-heard question is whether the president takes women seriously."
Perhaps this move towards neutering males is politically necessary to pave the way for a woman presidency, a way of leveling the image field. However, staunch liberal feminist, Camille Paglia recently warned, "It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be." In an article,"The Drudge Report: Matt immortalizes C. Paglia alongside C. S. Lewis," we learn Paglia disagrees vehemently with any unisex notion that women should be women and men should be girly. She thinks "It will be through the pure masculinity of can-do men, not uni-sex boys, that our failing economy would be rebuilt, even in the event of an economic apocalypse....Without men, real men, women would be up to their elbows in suds -- washing dishes."
In the meantime, while Putin is dealing with Olympic security, certainly bigger worries than winning a masculinity contest with Obama, alpha-males are still willing to dare the anti-macho political climate in America. From a link on The Drudge Report we learn martial arts expert and action-movie star Steven Seagal has announced he is considering a run for Arizona governor. Seagal has been deputized with sheriff’s offices in New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana and says he wants to increase border security.