PLASTIC PEOPLE FOR A PLASTIC AGE–OR–WHY WOULD YOU PHOTOSHOP A BEAUTIFUL PERSON

WARNING–THIS POST IS KIND OF A RANT

A tweet from @DepressedDarth caught my attention this morning, and then it angered me at so many levels.  But first, let’s get to the matter of DepressedDarth’s tweet.

It was a link to like.com that showed celebrities before Photoshop and after Photoshop pictures.   You can see all of them by clicking here.  After looking at the pictures, my first thought was this had to be bogus, so I went and trolled the interwebs and discovered that others had written about the same pictures.  A sample of this can be found at the this link on the Huffington Post.  So DepressedDarth was not peddling false information, but the people working the Photoshop certainly are.

CAN THE SMUG SMIRK BE PHOTOSHOPPED OUT TOO?
CAN THE SMUG SMIRK BE PHOTOSHOPPED OUT TOO?
pic from resources3.news.com

I would be far more forgiving of this if what the Photoshop pictures did was to remove a temporary blemish or to highlight a hair color or something minor.  People have that done all the time when they get their portrait made for Christmas cards or resumes and that is no big.  I don’t even think it is always bad to Photoshop–say, for a movie poster or something as long as it is not altering the basic characteristics of the individual.

However, this is not what the miracle of digital editing did to these pics.  In nearly ever instance the celebrity was made thinner and given bigger breasts.

The sampling was almost entirely of women, except for one I think of George Clooney, but his man-card has been in question ever since he made the worst Batman ever.

Most of these pictures were about the sexual attributes of women, and therefore it reinforces the misogynist view in our culture that women are nothing more than sexual objects to be oogled, and if they do not meet the standards of some sicko photo-editor, then just improve them.  Yuck.

I am a father to two daughters and it infuriates me that they may be getting the idea from media they are only of worth if they look like these women in the pictures, yet, ironically, these women don’t even look like these women in the pictures.  It is the creation of an ideal that is unattainable, and this unattainable ideal can only lead to doubt, insecurity, and dysfunction.

Then there is the lying aspect of it all.  One of the pics was of Beyonce and it commented on her baby weight being digitally removed.  Why?  Why would you hide and lie about the way the human body works?  Wouldn’t it be just be better for her to put a few more clothes on and take an honest picture instead?  Oh, wait, but that would not sell.  Another aspect of truth is the Madonna picture.  The actual photo makes her look like a used up meth addict who had burned her body out.  Then they touch it up and she looks young and fresh.  People should see the real one, because when you abuse your body and whore yourself out to celebrity culture, the result will be something truly monstrous.

A HARD LIFE?
A HARD LIFE?

BEYONCEGATE

beyonce-national-anthem-400x300
ANTHEMLICIOUS?

Beyonce faked the Star-Spangled Banner.

So they say.

I’m not a big Beyonce fan and I think her music–and her attire–is less than tasteful. However, the claims that she is a fake all seems specious to me. If you’ve ever had to perform anything outside in the cold in front of lots of people who are waiting for inspiration then you know the problems and complications that can evolve–often issues out of your control. I get that you might want to prefer perfection over authenticity. I get it. I completely understand.

What I can’t figure out is why people are so “outraged” over it. Really?

So Beyonce faked the national anthem. So what? Many of the same people who are upset about it also watch professional wrestling. Do they know that is fake too?

The world is filled with fakes. Donald Trump is a fake. Does that make all businessmen fake or even all of Donald Trumps business transactions fake? John Edwards is a fake. Does that make everything he says untrue? The Seattle Mariners last three seasons have been fake baseball. Does that make the major leagues fake?

I know lots and lots and lots of pastors who are fakes and phoneys. So do you. Does that make the gospel a fake?

I think there are a couple of things at play in the scuttle about BeyonceGate.

  • One, our culture is so toxic and sick that it stays in a perpetual outrage about something. The opinion makers of this world peddle in outrage because it sells.
  • Two, we are a performance culture. Above the content of the national anthem or the momentous nature of the event we hold the quality of the performance above all else. In the year 2013 style always wins out over substance.
  • Three, there is an undercurrent of hatred for successful people. No one is more successful than Beyonce so when she is less than perfect we ridicule. To keep this in the political sphere for a moment, many people voted against Mitt Romney precisely because he was so successful in the business world.

Beyonce is not a fake, even if she did lip sync the anthem. She is authentic and can really sing and she has the chops to prove it and has proved it. She is not the same thing as, say, Lance Armstrong who is a legitimate fake in what, might arguably be called a fake sport.

The real fakes in Washington D.C. have titles like Senator and Representative, not the performers at the inauguration.