26 July, 2012

Dummies, Torture, And Cute Guys

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Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

Dummies, Torture, And Cute Guys

When I sat down at the bookstore to write today, there were several books and magazines left abandoned by the last occupant. So often the case, I tend to look at the books and magazines to get a sense of who the person was in an odd kind of Rick Deckard picking up a fish scale ("That no fish. That snake!") kind of way. The three things resting on this table today were "Catholic High School Entrance Exams for Dummies," US Weekly whose cover story is "100 Cutest Guys," and "The Illustrated History Of Torture." Yeah; I came up with nothing about the long gone stranger either. Meanwhile, there's a dame with crooked words tattooed on her shoulder sitting near me who is photoshopping a photo of a woman, which is very distracting. An odd day at its beginning.

This surely is a strange combination of things, and I think before I start today, I'm going to smoke a cigarette. I'll be right back. OK, I'm back and recharged. Now, in the collection of seemingly unrelated books left at this table, I am wonderfully distracted by one of them. No, it isn't "Catholic High School Entrance Exams for Dummies." I am a catholic, and I completely understand that sometimes you need a manual to decipher some of the weird shit we do. Of course, I think the For Dummies books have greatly increased their target audience just by virtue of their being published. My distraction was also not "The Illustrated History Of Torture" because, yes, I've read that book. And yes, it was pretty dope. No, cats and kittens, my distraction was the Us magazine with the "100 Cutest Guys" on the cover. And no, Dan and Gavin; my distraction was for different reasons than you're thinking.

To be fair at the jump, I didn't look through the magazine. I just looked at the cover which featured maybe six or nine photos of cute guys. What struck me right away was that they all look exactly the same. Well, not exactly, but the group on the cover could all be used in a police line up if one of them murdered someone. They all had very soft features and this whimsical kind of wonton blankness in their eyes. And there was some pouting which really makes me smashy. People need to stop that pouting shit. It's really awful. But their similarities struck me. They were so closely congruent that it seemed as if each was a carbon copy of the next, slowly degenerating into something slightly different by the sixtieth copy of a copy of a copy.

I thought to myself, "Boy, I sure do have a stack of DVDs I need to watch." Then I thought, "I haven't had that taco with the Dorito for a shell yet." Then I thought, "What am I reading into this magazine cover?" I decided to write about the last one.

Now, stop me if my knee is jerking too much. I know that the popular conception of beauty has a duplicate feel to it. All the dames have the same look on their faces; all the dudes have this soft, slightly unmasculine look to them. They are all copies of one another which then creates a trend of aesthetic that persists for a little while until someone ripples the water with something slightly more unique, which slowly then becomes the trend of aesthetic. See also; 1950s models vs. 1990s models. But I'm not talking about trends; I'm talking about the 100 cutest guys.

Cute is a different word. It changes things. Cute has this Tiger Beat kind of thing going on that is equal parts creepy and very descriptive. Harrison Ford (see how I said Rick Deckard earlier and Harrison Ford now? Man, I'm good.) is not a cute guy. He's a handsome man, attractive and sexy, but cute? Probably not. Cute is different, and maybe because I'm a dude, it's a creepy descriptor. But I look on these cute guys and try to ascertain what cute is by the similarities among them. Sadly, it is easier to see what they are not than what they are.

What they aren't is common. Which, of course, is part of their celebrity. What they aren't is on the flange of the bell. They are all in the center of the bell, the comfortable, and approachable yet remarkably fair and pouty painting of male celebrity. What they aren't is modified or aesthetically unique. What they aren't is handicapped. What a second, why would I mention that? Hey, A. Robert; that seems like a pretty absurd leap of logic there. Is it?

We like to see people who are like us, don't we. We like to see celebrities who embody what we are and share our sensibilities. In the mod community, or more accurately the alt culture community, I dare you to tell me that you weren't excited about the mainstream success of someone with the aesthetic of that coroner broad on that cop show. You know, the gothy dame with the pigtails and dark makeup. What show is that? Well anyway, you get the point. Here we have an alt culture aesthetic in a mainstream and successful program (so successful that I can't remember the name of it, I suppose) representing a sect of society with which we can identify. Also, her alt lifestyle only slightly plays a role and isn't the center of it, which is nice. There are other examples, but you kids are smart enough to get the point. We like to see people like us. People like me are crippled, wheelchair bound, or infirm in some other way. I want to see that in celebrity, and the children on this cute guys cover are not that.

I'd like to see a celebrity who is in a wheelchair, and not a celebrity whose celebrity is manifested from his disability. There are those wounded warriors (which is a great program to which you should donate) or Paralympic athletes who get some screen time, but I'd be pressed to not say they are famous not first because of their heroic or athletic accomplishments (as they ought), but rather because of their leglessness or chair boundness. Made up words are fun. Maybe I'm picking fly shit out of pepper here, but wouldn't it be nice to see a crippled celebrity who is lauded only for the merits of his craft rather than the pity of his chair? I can't think of one.

I'm not saying that any of these angel faced tarts on the cutest guys list doesn't deserve to be there. I'm sure by the criteria set forth by the brilliant writers of Us, they fit perfectly. I would just like to see something different celebrated not for its difference, but rather because of its natural and inherent beauty regardless of bell curve's center line. I don't want to see a modded celebrity on a 'bad boys' list solely because of his mods. If he killed someone or beat a hooker to death, then yeah; put him on that list. But just by virtue of his modifications, he doesn't belong by my counts. I'd like to see a mentally handicapped person lauded for his talents rather than pitied for his strife. I'd like to see a physically crippled person on a list like that because of that person's merits. Geri Jewell is a good example. Do you know who she is? If you're a fan of the HBO program "Deadwood" you do. She is an actress with cerebral palsy. She played the character Jewel on "Deadwood." The character is a gimp (which is an appropriate term given that the show is set in the old west), and Geri Jewell plays the character as any other actress would. It happens that the producers hired an actress with cerebral palsy to play the role. Her performance is outstanding, and though yes, she probably got the job in part because of her disability, her acting supersedes that, and she becomes an actor only; not a disabled actor. We need more Geri Jewell's on the list because she is a beautiful actor. Oh yeah, and she has a disability too.

I'm being a needy cripple a little bit today, but I think you see my point. Seeing celebrities who embody and represent that which you are is important for your belief that what you are is seen as beautiful and accepted. Whether your brain is banged up, your spine is a mess, your face is pierced, you kiss other boys or girls, or something hidden behind years of taught repression like anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. Real OCD, kids; not like, 'OMG, I'm so OCD about watching America's Got Talent!' I mean Howard Hughes shit. It helps to make people feel as if they belong, and sometimes (most times) people like me can feel as if you're performing off of the stage and in the corner, misrepresented and whose importance is overlooked or forgotten. It happens to all of us, doesn't it. If we let this erode our beauty, then we're in trouble. But if we allow it to bolster our beauty, then we grow in strength. Of course, the way our celebrity centric society machines along, we would like to be represented by a famous person in order to confirm what we think. Who knows; maybe you're that famous person who just isn't famous yet. Stay beautiful, kids.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. I've always been ”cute”. I used to resent it.
    I think I would question OCD or anxiety in the public eye and probably have a sense of jealousy over a treatment that would help make it happen. Great concept...just not sure how people would really feel to have ”normies” on screen.