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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I am Spartacu--I mean, Renee Zellweger

The post in which I wimp-out of playing God. Scrolling through my facebook feed today, I feel like God must feel. Bombarded by the wants and needs of a world in crisis. Disgusted by the wrongness of it all. It’s overwhelming, and I don’t even know where to start to make it less alarming. No matter how much I go around “liking” all the good things on facebook, nothing seems to change. I probably should just stop reading the feed entirely.
     But I can’t. As Leonardo DiCaprio observes to Kate Winslet as she dangles from the rail of the Titanic, I’m involved now. I’m going to have to dive into freezing cold water, risk skin-piercing pain and save my facebook friends by talking them back onto the ship. (Yeah, yeah. I know it’s going to sink anyway. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.)
     We’ll start out small.....with
Item 1:
...Renee Zellweger’s appearance. I often wondered what happened to her. Kind of figured she got fed up with the Hollywood scene of ageism and gender discrimination and took off to lead a more fulfilling life. Like Ben Affleck when he pulls into Matt Damon’s driveway in Good Will Hunting only to find his friend MIA, I noted her absence and smiled a sappy smile, thinking, “Good for her. She’s meant for better things.” Then I looked wistfully off toward Harvard or Princeton or whatever college was in Good Will Hunting.
      A few male stars have likewise disappeared from the face of the earth at one time or another. Their absences haven’t been lost on me, either. It just seems like they always come back, tail between their legs. I respected Rene for actually sticking to her decision. She stayed away.
    Imagine my vexation when she reappears in order to attend the Elle Women in Hollywood event and starts all this buzz about appearance. Stop being so stupid, everyone! This shouldn’t even be on my facebook feed. Or God’s. Or anyone's. Just walk away, Renee. (I've always wanted to say that!)
      Rene Zellweger looks different in part because it’s been ten years. It can’t be entirely plastic surgery. Plastic surgery makes you look more like the Hollywood norm, not less like it. She left to avoid having to live up to this ideal and looks exactly like what she is—a woman living an ordinary life at 46. It’s Hollywood’s vampiristic refusal to age that has our perceptions all skewed and unhealthy. The people who stayed in Hollywood are the ones with addictions to Botox and Photoshop.
     Besides, Rene insists she’s happy. Shouldn’t that be all that matters? The thing is, we’ve been raised to believe happiness is this miracle elixir that will make you forever young. Truth be told, happiness doesn’t affect one’s appearance at all. You can be plain and ecstatic or drop-dead gorgeous and a miserable jerk or any combination of these elements: ugly/happy, mediocre/happy, miserable/ugly, mediocre/ugly….Urgh, my brain hurts. Quick! Let’s get the GWH math genius on it. *Matt scrawls out every variation on the nearest chalkboard while we check out this official statement.*
     I’m sorry if you are having a hard time coping with this “transformation”. No doubt your horror stems from the suspicion that if it happened to Rene Zellweger (and It here means the normal aging process), it will also happen to you. Guess what? It will. Your one saving grace is that your demise won’t be plastered all over facebook, inspiring dialogues that strive to negate all the positive changes you’ve made in your life. Sadly, she is used to it.
     In conclusion, let’s analyze a scene from Good Will Hunting: Ten Years Later (Trust me, it’s in the works) A wizened Matt Damon shows up at the local bar to meet Ben Affleck for a drink. Matt mentions he’s recently gained tenure as a professor of mathematics. The puckish, youthful Ben chugs down his beer and belches, saying, “Jeez, that’s great, Matt. But you look like shit. If you ask me, you probably would’ve been way better off staying in town and laying bricks for a living.” Ben flexes his Batmanesque muscles and slaps Matt on the back. “It’s okay, buddy. I’m buying the next round with my union overtime.” The prosecution rests.
     Item 2: This

Holy shit! I wish I were that articulate at 15. I wish I were that articulate now. I wish I knew whether or not Rene Zellweger was that articulate (or that I knew anything at all about her current life besides that everyone thinks she looks bad—or not bad, different, which we all know means bad). I wish young girls would be perusing the Mighty Girl web site right now and modeling their vocabs after this young woman’s instead of scouring Instagram for dorks to model their priorities and bodies after. I wish.
     Item 3: Gamergate
Is that a thing? Upon reading a grim article, I conclude it is a thing and a deadly one at that, resulting in ugly threats and the attempted stifling of female empowerment. And in this spot I was about to render an insightful article on this issue. Unfortunately, people tell me this issue is dead. Gamergate is no more, which brings up another bad thing about God’s facebook feed. By the time He gets to the bottom of it, there’s something more important drawing his attention right back to the top. An unending loop of need and life. Man, it sucks to be God. Once again, Thank God I’m not.


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