Archive for stardom

I Feel A Need

Posted in Scandalous! with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by AF

I’m quite possibly going to regret opening my big mouth here, but I was never one to do the expedient thing and  there’s something that I can’t get out of my head and it’s bugging me. Over at “Let’s Have A Cocktail” Jenny Mac wrote this post about something that was apparently in Vanity Fair and I’m confused by it. It’s about Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum and everyone seems to be up in arms about it. And the thing that bothers me most is probably the fact that I just don’t get it.

I should point out here that I’m not American (as I’m sure most people reading this will know), nor do I have a clue who Run DMC are (is?), or read Vanity Fair, so I am at something of a disadvantage in this. To be brutally honest, not only do I not know much about Ryan O’Neal or his daughter, but under normal circumstances, I could hardly care less about any of this.

And yet it’s bugging me. Why are people I regard as educated and liberal minded so incensed by this? If they are, then why am I not?

Okay, perhaps I should just recap what I know of this (which isn’t much). It seems that Ryan O’Neal was at the funeral of his long term lover Farrah Fawcett who died earlier this year. Now, he’s perhaps got a few drink related problems as (apparently) has his daughter the thirty six year old Tatum who someone commented looked ten years older than that. It seems that, briefly and rather clumsily he “hit on Tatum” when she came up to him at the funeral and flung her arms around him – apparently because he didn’t immediately recognise her, or did he and he was just joking (perhaps in poor taste)?

I agree that, on the face of it, that action sounds kind of gross to be polite about it. But is it? More to the point (in my opinion) why is it of concern to the rest of us? I don’t have any idea what this man’s relationship is with his daughter: Does he see her regularly? Has he seen her for years? Do they both even live in the same country? Had she just come out of rehab, or was she perhaps more than ready to go back in at the time?

What I do know is that he and Farrah Fawcett had a better relationship than many I know and that they were close; he had been a major strength to her during her long and very public fight against cancer; and they had stood together through an horrendously traumatic time whilst she, to be blunt about it, was dying and they both knew it.

I cannot imagine doing that! For that matter, I can’t imagine allowing anyone close to me to be involved in something that painful with me. So, whatever sort of a heel some people might think he is, or was, during this episode, I for one am more than prepared to cut the guy a little slack! So, he was probably drunk (out of his skull maybe – I know I might well have been in his situation). So, maybe it was in rather bad taste to supposedly hit on another woman at his lover’s funeral, but hey, which of us knows what instructions Farrah gave him? Like maybe “go out and get laid the day I die!” It’s not unusual for a genuine lover to say something silly like that.

However, we’re not talking here even about any serious approach as far as I’m aware – we’re just talking about a guy who was probably drunk, may have been stricken with grief and not thinking very straight and almost certainly not paying attention to the woman who approached him and who might well have been pretty unrecognisable at the time. On that point I should say that I’ve stood in a car-park full of people in the UK and not recognised my own daughter who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years – until she spoke at least – because boy, had she put on some weight at the time and I was, frankly, shocked! Heck, these guys might just have been joking around for all we know.

One last thing I’d like to say on this and then I’m going to shut up and try to forget it – Ryan O’Neal is, I believe of Irish descent and their idea (as far as I understand it) is not to mourn the dead, but to celebrate the fact that the person lived and mattered to us and I think that’s a very good way to regard Farrah Fawcett. So, I don’t think people should apply their particular conventions to someone else’s behaviour in a situation like this that doesn’t affect them directly – in this case, as far as I know, we’re not even talking about someone they know.

I apologise to all you ladies (and a few guys) who I might have upset by this little outburst. I might have got it wrong, in which case I’m sorry for that too. But just this once I really disagree with you all – not least because I don’t think it really matters a damn what Ryan O’Neal did or didn’t say, whenever it was – and Tatum O’Neal is, I’m sure, more than capable of putting him straight if he was out of order with her. They’re celebrities for heaven’s sake! Who cares?

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep – Is It?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by AF
Well, that’s what they say. Age is just a number too – with which, being ancient, I wholeheartedly agree 🙂

Actually, whilst a large part (though certainly not all) of aging is surely in the mind, beauty, or relative beauty, most definitely goes a hell of a lot deeper than the skin – bone structure, personality, muscular tone, general fitness and much more. However, it does all start with the leather bag you live in and many modern skin preparations do enhance the quality and appearance of your outer layers and many women in particular (but some men too these days) are beginning to find creams and potions that do make them look younger, brighter and more alive and attractive.

Many, of course, still say, “I am what I am and I’m not going to lie and hide my age.” That is indeed a valid point, but many women (and men too) are what they are through neglect, not simply through age! It’s not just their look either, in case some of you are getting ready to shout me down with claims that looks are a shallow way to judge a person. If your whole world revolves endlessly around diapers and kids spewing up then, after a while, you’re not going to be a very exciting person to be with, are you?

People (men and women) will undoubtedly treat you differently according to how you look and they’ll also treat you differently according to how you behave. But how you behave will be significantly affected by how you feel about yourself and that in part will be altered by how you look. The whole thing’s a vicious circle: looking good makes you feel you look good and gives you confidence and that makes you look a whole lot better which makes you feel better, which… Well, you get my point I’m sure.

Susan Boyle as She WasAs an example, take the case of Susan Boyle. I know much has been said and written in the often spiteful media about Hollywood makeovers, how she was cracking up and all the rest. The fact is the woman is 48 years old, not 148! She was overweight, scruffy and without style and probably much guile either. Relatively unsophisticated, she was thrust into the limelight and the media pack got to work on her. However, the Hollywood effect has got to work on her too and, now more familiar with all the spite and the lies she needs to ignore, she does appear happy – I certainly hope so because she looks absolutely great and, naturally, she still has the superb singing talent that brought her to the notice of all of us in the first place.


Susan Boyle NowBefore anyone gets on their high horse and starts saying, “But that’s the point – she’s got a great voice, however she looks,” it’s NOT the point! She is a whole person, not just a voice and just maybe she’ll finally start to enjoy a full and exciting youth. It certainly looks that way because, to me, there’s now a radiance about her and that’s not from her skin’s tone either, it appears to come from inside…

Bloody good luck to her!

An Angel No Longer With Us

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by AF

Farrah Fawcett - IconFarrah Fawcett finally succumbed to cancer and died on the same day as Michael Jackson. Yet there the similarity ends. Whether you rate her as an actress or not (and she was one hell of a lot better than many people gave her credit for), you surely have to admire her courage as she let the cameras record her epic battle with cancer.

Of course, she’ll always be remembered best for her starring role in Charlie’s Angels in the 1970s and who can blame men everywhere for adoring her as she became a symbol of modern femininity for them and fed their fantasies of the new “perfect woman”.

However, it’s my belief that there was more significance in Charlie’s Angels and British shows like The Avengers than many realise. They might have been a bit short on plot here and there and some of the characters were rather two dimensional, but to me  they were all forerunners of the “Lara Croft Syndrome” that has more recently been epitomised by Angelina Jolie and even actresses like Michelle Pfeiffer in Cat Woman.

Farrah and BurtThe fact that the old style feminist movement failed abysmally to understand is that the conspiracy to keep women “in their place” was never a true reality for more than a few men outside of the boardroom. Whilst some Neanderthals did and do undoubtedly still think they could, can and should push women around, most real men see a fit and self-possessed woman as being sexy and desirable. PC attitudes that amount to “dumbing down” reality in the workplace and elsewhere to make things supposedly “equal” for women are frequently no more than window dressing and will always be resented by most men as “cheating” – thus they are generally somewhat counterproductive.

The world is the way it is, not as most of us would like it to be. There are always exceptions, of course, but those of both sexes who are fit, able and competitive will frequently be respected and more successful than those who are not. The fact that a fit, sassy and smart woman is usually also seen as sexy and attractive to many men is no accident, whatever the male public attitude may be when they’re in a bar with their pals – and I suspect it works the other way round too.

Long live the memory and legacy of such icons of feminine competence as Farrah Fawcett.

Vicarious Humanity

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , on June 28, 2009 by AF

My Microsoft thesaurus came up with, “explicit, shocking, sensational, vivid and juicy” as alternative terms for vicarious, but although it does often imply many of those things, I prefer the more traditional definition of “living life through someone else’s experience”. That’s certainly my meaning here…

However, all of those alternative expressions could apply to Michael Jackson in his life – and even in death. But the reaction of the public does in many ways also amount to millions upon millions of people across the world living vicariously (the way I mean it).

He was undoubtedly a very talented musician and a consummate showman, but I don’t understand all the morbid, feverish desire to grab at every lurid detail about his life and death. Do we ordinary folk live such empty lives as that? Do we have so little in our own lives that matters to us that we have to soak up every scrap of sensatonal information about an entertainer. Albeit, he was superbly skilled and very famous, but he was simply an entertainer none the less? The world would surely have been a duller place without him, but it would not have been significantly diminished without his existence.

The same might also be said of Farrah Fawcett who died on the same day, yet, by comparison, her death passed relatively unnoticed by much of the world. I see that as a real shame for, apart from the fact that she was a very talented actress (and a very courageous woman too), it is also true that she enlivened the fantasies of a very large number of men around the globe in the 1970s (including mine). I know which I think is the most important; which I value the most – watching Michael Jackson on TV spending more on a couple of hours shopping than I earned in several years, or drooling over what a stunningly beautiful, bright, sexy woman like Farrah managed to make me feel about life and love and most things in between. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

So, what is this preoccupation so many of us have with other people’s lives; with stardom; with celebrity? Does it really have intrinsic value of some kind, or have we perhaps been sold all this by the star-makers, the spin-doctors of celebrity? If so, are we therefore just the victims of some giant, Machiavellian marketing machine that seeks mainly to take our minds off of reality and the disgraceful behaviour of those with whom we entrust our welfare? Perhaps it’s even simpler than that and is nothing more than hype worked up to fever pitch in order to create huge wealth for those that manipulate it. If that’s so, then maybe we only have ourselves to blame and so many of us have been just plain gullible?

As with so much in life, I seem to be able see the questions … but answers? Ah well, now… That’s a different matter all together.