Two Thousand Words
That was then:
They may not have had iPhones or 500 tv channels in every home, but they did have this: possibly the most beautiful woman to have ever lived. She’s still around and kicking up a storm on Twitter, but I want you to look at this picture. I want you to really see this beauty; not even see her as a person, but see her as a stunning physical phenomenon, like an earthquake or a sunset or a herd of wild horses at full gallop.
Elizabeth Taylor had the very best hair, makeup, and clothing experts to help package the whole, but what you see here? Was real. Think about it: this was all real.
What have we got now? This:
Technically perfect, but one gets the feeling if she got too close to a candle she’d melt. What does “beauty” mean when it’s presumably within the grasp of anyone with a good surgeon and a thick wallet? Or is beauty now the natural quality of having been born with a substrate (“face” or “body”) on which a surgeon can really do a great job? The time will come when a human will lose to an android or a hologram in a beauty pageant, but by that time will we have enough moral high ground left from global warming on which to stand up and say it’s wrong? Particularly in light of the fact that the beauty pageant industry arose out of the eugenics movement.
Oh, of course it did.
I’m not usually so ramblingly self-indulgent in this “philosophy and sociology of celebrity” blog, but this post was inspired by a picture of Elizabeth Taylor that shocked me into the realization that:
1) Good God, she was unspeakably beautiful, and
2) if she were starting out today, they’d tell her to get a nose job.