Sunday, 12 October 2008

Crimes and Misdemeanours

My Dearest Darlings, I in my immense and un-ending wisdom have an affection for simpler times when a star was a star, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and the like had a certain allure and mystery that is no longer plausible in today’s media saturated world.

The legends of the past stood for moral superiority, whether they were indeed morally superior is immaterial, their infidelities and social errors were masked by ‘The Studio’ machine. Within Hollywood circles all sorts of gossip and rumour mongering oiled the passages of the back lots. Though at the time you knew nothing of it, all that mattered was that their image remained intact, flawless and perfect. Subsequently the truth has been revealed about the true lives of Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson and Marylyn Monroe etc. But it is not the pill popping child stars, the reported child abuse, the closeted homosexuals or the drug induced suicides I promote, the hypocritical moral confinement of the golden age of cinema is not what I champion. It is their mysterious existence that I believe you yearn for without realising.

It is true that these Icons of yesteryear represent an era of political intolerance; before feminism, before equal rights before your minorities were rightly championed these stars represented something that has almost completely gone; mysterious awe inspiring and magnificent Glamour. Outside of the studio that so oppressed the delicate psyches of the Icons of the thirties and forties the modern star has ‘thrown the baby out with the bath water’ the welcome revolution and freedom to manage their own careers has developed the antithesis of that era of haughty aloofness that captivated the masses.

The flip side of the extreme secrecy of that time is the modern pathological ‘over-sharing’ that is so prevalent with the Lindsey Lohans and Britney Spears of the world who now spew the vomit of their debauched lives into your media saturated eyes. Their meteoric rise and inevitable spiral out of control is unavoidable. The new generation happily reveal their naked freshly waxed genitals to your paparazzi; they make video recordings of the most private inter-personal relationships which then ‘mysteriously’ flow into your in-box or roll onto your news-feeds.

At one time the reporting of even the slightest peccadillo would endanger the career of an Icon now it appears to be a rite of passage. When Jane Fonda was arrested in the seventies the scandal reflected the generational mood for political activism. Ms Fonda represents the final generation of the famous who utilised their celebrity to challenge the status quo, it was her commitment to the anti-war movement that apparently got her arrested in 1970 an activism demonstrated in the below police mug-shot. Now the only cause your stars endorse is the ‘right to party’ and to drive home afterwards.

Heather Locklear may represent an older generation than I refer to here but the coverage of the story is typical of your time. When Ms Locklear was recently arrested for driving ‘under the influence’ her police mug-shot appeared everywhere it remains to be seen whether her problems will be overcome or perhaps reinvigorate her fading career. Robert Downey Jr has a veritable collection of these mug-shots; despite this his return to his previous acting glory this summer has it could be argued benefited from his dalliances with the law his ability to recover and re-establish his career has established that you’re happy to forgive and forget.

You may think that the disgraceful site of a once preened and glamorous celebrity being denied the usual privilege of make-up artist, tungsten lighting, and post production digital enhancement would be a harrowing experience for any star. Though this aesthetic is the de rigueur for Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and the like, this new generation are only too happy to exploit your tendency to excuse the occasional mishap. You need only examine the precocious smug expressions on the faces of these starlets to realise the cynical exploitation and flirtation with law-breaking that will later be packaged, marketed and sold to the scandal obsessed, a nauseating decline from the aspirational beginnings of stardom.

Long gone are the days when stars stood for anything other than excess and debauchery. Perhaps it is the over saturation of publicity that is responsible, once a modern starlet’s favourite colour has been ascertained and their current perfume promoted there is nothing left for them to say, these stars have no curiosity, no interest, no passion they are simply vacuous pretty shiny-ness which they cynically hope to deepen with a dark criminal lustre summed up in the law enforcement mug-shot.

Unfortunately the coverage of decline and subsequent recovery is typical tabloid fodder, one that you lap up with glee. The prurient microscope that presently dominates is now all encompassing, the era of mystery departed. This craving for every detail, every minute speck of knowledge of the lives of others has eradicated the belief that you can be better than you are, moral lethargy has become the norm. Restraint and temperance is no longer celebrated all is explicit full-frontal hedonism, no consequence, no responsibility, an inevitable downward slump to unedited unadulterated celebration of the vacuous.

Much Love as always Ms Coco LaVerne x