samedi 14 décembre 2013

Celebrity Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong And The Dark Side Of Fame

By Mickey Jhonny

The popular phrase`plastic surgery` can be seen as a peculiar one. There are a couple of possible interpretations of it and, indeed, probably this melding of meanings explains something of its popularity. What I'm thinking of is both the implication of plastic as a chemical-based material and also plastic in the colloquial sense as cosmetic, superficial, or artificial. A suggestion of something fake at its core.

Plastic, the chemically derived product, certainly is used often enough for such surgeries. Defining the surgery in this way is though a bit dubious, as it is not the ideal material. Skin grafts taken from other parts of the body are the preferred option when possible. So this name is a little misleading.

The persistent popularity of that idea, though, probably has something to do with the more insidious implications of the other meaning of the term plastic applied to such surgery. Yet, the truth is that most reconstructive surgery is not done for cosmetic reasons. And yet, somehow, the notion lingers. Something about the association of such surgery to celebrities perceived as clinging on to past beauty and glamour draws so many of us to a judgment which invites the term to roll glibly off the tongue. A kind of subtle disapproval pervades the use of this term, as we raise a leery eyebrow in regard of those celebrities that employ such surgical methods. When we observe celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong we're seeing more than just the outcome of a failed operating procedure.

We are so intrigued by the image of the great who have fallen; the rich who apparently couldn't find a competent surgeon; the beautiful who paid the price for their devilish deal with the surgeon`s scalpel. It's almost as though ee gain some payback for the years of our inferiority-in-admiration, to coin an awkward phrase, when the tables are suddenly turned and those whose beauty once made us look like munchkins now has them looking like the frogs. Indeed, princes and princesses into toad, the fairy tale in reverse for celebrities, would seem to be the moment of redemption and vindication for many of us.

Or, to put it another way, slightly more stylized, those who live by beauty, die by beauty. Metaphorically speaking, of course! It may be the ultimate poetic justice.

But wait, consider a further possibility. Maybe there's something even more sinister and dark at the heart of it all. This possibility was brought to mind recently when recalling that popular FX television show of the beginning of the century, Nip/Tuck. If you're unfamiliar with it (shame on you), it told the story of a couple of superstar plastic surgeons to the rich, famous and beautiful. Interestingly, though, the pilot episode of that show was not focused on the rich, famous or beautiful, but rather on a mercy mission to save a man with a horribly disfigured face.

There was though a troubling twist at the end of the episode. Only once the procedure was complete did the surgeons discover that their patient was in fact a pedophile. Unwittingly, with all the best of intentions, they had eliminated the one obstacle which had previously stood in the way of his ability to lure innocent children into his devices. A dark story line it was indeed. And, wouldn't you agree, an intriguing choice for the inaugural episode of a series primarily focused on the rich, famous and beautiful clientele.

I find myself wondering if that story captures some primordial suspicion about plastic surgery: do we suspect, even if only unconsciously, that such surgery is an exercise in duplicity? Is something that is true, yet darker, being concealed? Even possibly something sinister? It may well be that the fascination with celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong does tap into just these kind of primordial suspicions. The dark intuition that a deep ugliness is being concealed. That the princess or prince has always been a frog and only now we have the opportunity to see the truth. And someone is trying to hide the truth.

Am I making too much out of this? Possibly, but I think it's something worth reflecting upon. That the fascination with celebrity plastic surgery gone wrong says something about the very concept of celebrity and about us.

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