Friday, July 3, 2009

Our real-world Atrocity Exhibition

At Balladrian, "Michael Jackson's facelift," after Princess Margaret's.

“The relationship between the famous and the public who sustain them is governed by a striking paradox. Infinitely remote, the great stars of politics, film and entertainment move across an electric terrain of limousines, bodyguards and private helicopters. At the same time, the zoom lens and the interview camera bring them so near to us that we know their faces and their smallest gestures more intimately than those of our friends.

Somewhere in this paradoxical space our imaginations are free to range, and we find ourselves experimenting like impresarios with all the possibilities that these magnified figures seem to offer us. How did Garbo brush her teeth, shave her armpits, probe a worry-line? The most intimate details of their lives seem to lie beyond an already open bathroom door that our imaginations can easily push aside. Caught in the glare of our relentless fascination, they can do nothing to stop us exploring every blocked pore and hesitant glance, imagining ourselves their lovers and confidantes. In our minds we can assign them any roles we choose, submit them to any passion or humiliation. And as they age, we can remodel their features to sustain our deathless dream of them.

In a TV interview a few years ago, the wife of a famous Beverly Hills plastic surgeon revealed that throughout their marriage her husband had continually re-styled her face and body, pointing a breast here, tucking in a nostril there. She seemed supremely confident of her attractions. But as she said: ‘He will never leave me, because he can always change me.’

-- JGB

See also Michael Jackson's science fiction paperback selection.

No comments: