(Long Island, NY) I had one eye on the Oscars, one ear on the phone, and my spleen on full-vent mode Sunday night. A friend had called to ask me about a million questions, the first being what I thought of Alan Arkin edging out Eddie Murphy for Best Supporting Actor.
“Well of COURSE Arkin was going to win. He played a cantankerously funny, tell-it-like-it-is senior-citizen drug-fiend. People are still washing the taste of Eddie Murphy’s done-before-a-million-times-and-still-not-funny Norbit out of their mouths.”
My friend tried to remind me that Murphy was up for Dreamgirls, but I brushed her off. “Doesn’t matter. They might have watched the first movie, but every time you see Murphy’s face lately, all you can think about is Norbit. And that’s not something you want running around in your skull all day.”
She admitted that I had a point. I tried to hang up at that stage, because this column needed writing, but no dice. We talked about a few more Oscar-related nonsense and somehow the subject of high definition TV and DVDs came up. My friend asked me what I thought of the recent ABCNews.com story about how high-def was affecting the porn industry.
I laughed and laughed. See, according to the ABCNews report, high def is a little too revealing for the tastes of some in the biz; every flaw, every wrinkle, every…everything is now revealed thanks to the visual clarity and quality of high definition technology.
“Well, my dear, you for one ought to be happy about that report.” I said, once I regained my breath. She took a wounded tone as if I’d somehow insulted her. Was I accusing her of being a prude? Or an ultra-feminist? Or both?
“No, no, no. None of that. The implications of that news report are staggering. Don’t you realize that all those exposes about the modeling industry and their starvation-thin models have finally come home to roost? High def is going to destroy the porn business, and the modeling industry. Or at least change it back down to something a little more realistic.”
My friend has always spoken out against what she calls “starvation culture”. But she thought I was nuts, and told me so. She didn’t get where I was coming from yet.
“Are you watching the Oscars? Look at all those actors and actresses with their face lifts, their liposuction, their starvation diets. When things go high def across the board, you’ll be able to see in digital clarity just how fake it all looks.”
A light came on for my friend.
It probably does sounds a little nuts until you think about it. Ever notice that people who torture themselves with fad diets, crazy fasting, and excessive plastic surgeries get “that look”? You know what I mean. Stringy and lifeless hair, those dark circles under the eyes, that mysteriously receding hairline that is brought on by a particular cosmetic surgery procedure. High def will catch ALL of that.
My friend thought maybe, just maybe, it could become a triumph for the look of the “ordinary” person. After all, what can you do when the camera truly does show it all for the world to see? You either go even crazier to fix it, or you just accept…who…you…are.
I predict that after the first few unfortunate incidents involving crazy people trying to go to extremes to please the high-def cameras, we’ll have a sudden onset of reality. Perfection will become well-near impossible to convey on camera, and much less attractive.
Of course, the backlash could well be that people give up and go back to “regular def” but I somehow doubt it. Instead, I believe that technology will finally have given us a dose of reality for a change, instead of the manufactured one we currently deal with on a daily basis on the runway, in the movies, and on TV.
On second thought, they’ll probably come up with a special filter or video editing trick to hide the reality “just so.” All those dirty movie stars will have no problems continuing their careers until somebody decides they’re too old, out of shape, imperfect, whatever to hide on-camera anymore.
But that will create a whole lot of work for thousands of paparazzi everywhere. They’ll all be eager to catch the stars as they really look in “unflattering” high-def. The haggard, worn-out rockers after a grueling video shoot, the runway model after a long night of fashion show prancing. They’ll all look as tired as they feel, and the
paparazzi’s unflattering high-def cameras will catch it all. Imagine the 5,000-year old looking Justin Timberlake, versus his Mount Olympus godlike perfection on the Grammy Awards. People won’t know what’s real anymore, and what’s fake. With a little luck, the injection of reality will give the whole culture a nudge towards something less perfection-obsessed.
At the very least, I hope it makes “average-looking” a bit more hip. Who knows, the “overworked writer” look might actually come into style one day, if high def does what I think it’s gonna do.
I can’t wait to be fashionable for once.