by Andrea Elizabeth
With culture’s obsession with youth, what are aging pop stars supposed to do? Either somehow keep their youth by artificial means or go and hide until they die? After some pictures of Macaulay Culkin’s gaunt appearance made the rounds last weekend, I heard an interview where he said he’s become a recluse. Other stars like Greta Garbo also went underground after they started declining. Some famous people, like Roger Staubach, have been able to reinvent themselves to adjust to aging, but it seems a lot can’t make the transition to something less glamorous. Glamorous is too shallow a word. Popular, or more specifically, our culture’s idea of perfection is more accurate.
Before I criticize that ideal, I have heard from Orthodox the saying that “love demands perfection.” Yesterday I heard someone comment that they prefer to remember so and so how they were 20 years ago. Maybe it was about Bruce Springsteen at the Grammy’s. I think maybe it is mostly the public’s reaction to fading looks and talent that makes these stars hide. There is very intense negativity when someone gains weight, when their face sags, when their voice cracks. People don’t want to put up with it. And should they? If someone isn’t strong enough to keep up appearances, what should they do?
Accept a dwindling amount of admiration, I suppose. Admiration is a hard thing to handle in the first place. So should no one capitalize on their talents when they are blooming so as to prevent the inevitable decline? I don’t think so. They just need to be better prepared for that eventuality. Nothing lasts forever. And I don’t want to give advice on how they should redirect themselves.
May God have mercy on Whitney Houston’s soul, whatever the cause of her death.