Monday, February 13, 2006

Mashed Mack truck lips

It was an enchanting Winter wonderland here on the East coast this weekend. Yesterday, I woke up to see that we'd gotten 18 inches of snow from the sixth largest snowstorm on record and the worst since the winter of 1996--a storm I remember well as I got stuck on a Long Island railway station waiting for a train to Manhattan for hours because my boss at the time decided to be magnanimous and close the office 'early,' which in actuality was only about an hour earlier than the usual knocking-off time.

We went over to L&L's for dinner on Saturday night. Lynne had created a Julia Child dish--a medley of beef, pork and kelbasa done in a mustard cream sauce that was absolutely delicious--to try out her new oven that, due to its stash of buttons and lights, more resembles an Airbus cockpit when the kitchen lights are dimmed. Afterwards we settled into watching a movie; out of a choice of four, we agreed upon an offering called The Island. It was set forty years in the future and the kindest thing I can say about it is that it is atrocious. A majority of mediocre sci-fi movies dealing with clones follow the same well-trodden story and this one was no different. Moreover, insults to an audience's intelligence were added into its threadbare plot for good measure because, obviously, the producers in conjunction with a part of corporate America had concluded the special effects would be a perfect opportunity to do some sublimal advertising, the emphasis on advertising not subliminal; thus, we had to endure numerous images of Microsoft's butterfly and logo because all computer systems were controlled by MS, Mack trucks at high speed, and an assortment of GM and Chrysler (300s) cars in hot pursuit.

Due to the film's lack of 'compellingness', I found myself concentrating more than is usual on the physical characteristics of the cast, specifically the women, and as I did so, the preponderance of Mack trucks led to an unexpected connection. Simply put, what is it about Angelina Jolie's plump (and gorgeous, it must be said) lips that has so many young female--and not so young--actors and wannabees running to their cosmetic surgeons in order to be butchered so that their mouths appear as if they've been driven over and squashed by laden trucks. The kindest thing I could say about one character's mouth is that it reminded me of Bart Simpson's wife's mouth when she's utterly baffled about something silly that Bart has done or said.

I must confess to having also recently noticed this curious form of butchery on the telly show Dancing with the Stars, a popular program developed over here from the BBC original. There's one women whose re-sculpted mouth is far sadder than any of the better Shakespearean tragedies. She's pretty and a lithe dancer, but one's eye is continually drawn to the wrinkled, overly fleshy mouth that not even abundant lipstick can correct. When she smiles--and naturally she does often--one side of her upper lip rises at the same rate the other side plummets, and the final effect is such that one could well believe she'd careened during the dance into a solid wall and they'd edited out the faux pas prior to broadcasting. Vowel delivery remains wholly unaffected, strangely.

So to all Hollywood ladies and wannabees, please know Ms. Jolie has beautiful lips, beautiful and alluring, but do NOT try to emulate them by having massive collagen injections or whatever potions are used under the mistaken assumption that you, too, will have a similarly alluring mouth. Do not re-sculpt under any circumstances because, just like an artificially created male cleft chin, the result is consistently unnatural...and worse, in the case of lips, scary to children. Children find such lips cute on Miss Piggy only.

Yes, I understand fully that Goldie Hawn sported them on The First Wives Club. But, though Hollywood is notorious for its excesses, surely you did understand that Goldie did this as part of the plotline...for a laugh. Her actual lips remain fully untrampeled. As trailblazers and creators of fads, those of you who've already succumbed, I urge you to disregard the opinions of your friends and smile as you take a good, honest look in the mirror, I mean a really honest look, and then, for the sake of American culture and the twenty and thirty-somethings of middle America who adore you to the extent of emulation, be the heroes you are in your screen roles and admit your dreadful mistake. Seek the aid of your shrink if it proves too difficult, but please relinquish your Hollywood career and seek some kind of back-office job...or possibly agenting. In addition, all Americans satisfied with their body bits will also be most thankful for your generosity.

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