Thursday, August 10, 2006


I get very frustrated (read: I'm a snob) about people who don't know that photos lie. Photos do lie, photography is the most mercurial medium in the world. One knows this, especially if one 1) works with photos for a living 2) has spent any time in the world of the personal ads, and I do both. Photos can do whatever you want them to, bless them. They are driving the bus.

In addition, as a generally emancipated fat girl of some empowered variety, I tend to be sensitive about beauty norms and have (this also sounds snobby) something of a genuine disconnect between what I'm told is pretty and what I find pretty. That's probably true for everybody, but I like to think that my own tastes at the least are a little more rounded, flexible, adult, thoughtful, fully-formed, observant, questioning than others. Maybe. All I know is that in order to get to the point where you like and appreciate yourself as is in this world as a big girl, you have to travel a long long road filled with a rainbow of human differences that are hard to ignore.

So I get very frustrated with people who are incredibly harsh (or alternately worshipful) about public figures and their looks--"She's SO ugly"--"He's SO handsome"--"oh SHE doesn't deserve to be a celebrity" kinda goes the subtext blah blah--especially when they start judging bodies and body parts in a way that make it clear they're not seeing past what's presented to see what things really look like--and that it doesn't matter the way they think it does anyhow. If you look, really look at a photo of somebody who at first glance "looks fat" because the image doesn't quite fit What We're Used to Seeing, you can parse it out, you can see what's really going on, how that person might look in front of you (probably not fat). For instance.

Having said all that -- this really is the most massive rationalized apologia on earth -- there are a few actress/actor types out there that just make me think...ARGH! Stop trying to tell me they're beautiful! They're not! They're dogs! Gah! A big part of this reaction is because contemporary beauty icons are shoved down our throats in ways that make the Photoplay layouts from the 40s look like serious journalism: everybody is so coy, so mugging, so heavily made-up and costumed, so worshipped, so Paris Hilton looking over her shoulder, as she clearly practiced in her bedroom for years. Cute cute coy coy on/off. And really skimpily-dressed on top of it.

But I can't help it...I can't stand Jennifer Love Hewitt! I think she's a dawg. She ain't pretty, she's skinny as a pole, her face is horsey, she can't act, and she mugs for the camera with this sweety-sweet smile that would look over-the-top and preening on a much prettier person who, in fact (I guess this is the point), wouldn't preen like that. Are disproportionately big boobs that important? I don't know. And who cares. And shouldn't I be cheering her for (what is in effect) actually not conforming to some of the strictures of our beauty mythology (even though I think people think she does)? I dunno, but I hate women who simper. Hrmph.


Elaine Stritch was wonderful and a little frighteningly hyper but who cares on Chicago Tonight last week. I don't get the appeal of John Calloway--I don't entirely dislike him but his demeanor is really bizarre--herky-jerky--randomly intense--and the sword-battle of those two sure was very weird. He was *not* the right audience to bring out the best in her, but it didn't matter. The best bit was when she sang her opening number from her was so easy and beautifully listenable and kinetic. I love the way she uses her voice, the way going from speaking to singing all the pitches and melodies and runs start to stand out more--all the subtleties and changes from verse to verse, the easy way she wears it all. She is one totally cool chick, I *wish* I could be that charismatic and storytelling and oh-my-dear at any age. Dammit, I want to hold forth in the Carlyle too. Wish I coulda gone.

She reminds me a little of the kind of women my friend Heather wrote about really well in this blog entry--I *love* those people who are never seen without their _____ (Chanel intercrossed C tortoiseshell cuffs; big glasses; bright lipstick, whatever--Elaine's becoming really known for that white shirt.) I always really admired that kind of eccentricity, wanted to be a Carrie Donovan or Diana Vreeland or Fleur Cowles or Coco Chanel type who was known for their signature something or other and paid her maid to iron her $5 bills. I think it's one reason I love Edward Gorey so much--his eccentricity was cut wonderfully from that cloth, with his fur coats, African rings and tennis shoes.


The E! television network continues to roll around in its own filth. Last night on their news the same people who were in their lead stories were reported in a later story as the celebrities America was the most sick of in a poll. Right. It's alllllll good. And last week on a particularly bad newsday from the Middle East as an attempt to describe the current spate of popular 'happy' songs by girl singers (Jessica Simpson's new single, Fergie's, whatever), the E!anchor said that maybe it reflects the happy state "we're in right now." As a country. Hmmm. HHHHMMM.

I am craving CREPES SUZETTE. Made in a lovely slow old-fashioned way, with silver spoons to fold the crepes and sugar cubes rubbed on oranges to pull out their oil. Yum.

The other day I wondered: I wonder if the whole Mel G. hoo-ha is a test? A plant? A giant experiment so that Mel can feel smug and never be hounded again once it's all revealed?

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