Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mea Culpa

I really shouldn't speak ill of the dead.

If I make this post about Elizabeth Taylor's public persona, and my reaction to it, is that okay?

I think Elizabeth Taylor was not a bad person, if for no reason other than her work on publicizing the AIDS crisis when so few other famous people would say anything.

I hear that she was a pretty good actress, too, though I'll confess that I haven't seen any of her work.

But one can't really say anything about her without commenting on Elizabeth Taylor the celebrity, Elizabeth Taylor the media sensation. And that part of her life leaves me cold.

For all that one hears about her being a great beauty, I must confess that when I first became aware of her existence, she seemed chubby, average-looking, middle-aged, and ridiculously haughty. Of course, in retrospect, haughtiness comes naturally when you know that you'll turn heads wherever you go. But I didn't know that then.

And as the premier Famous Person for decades, one of the first to be famous for being famous, Taylor represented a cult of celebrity that is a pestilence on our consciousness. Religion may have been the opiate of the masses in the nineteenth century, but in the twenty-first it's the obsession with fame. I'd rather pay attention to my own life than my fantasies of someone else's, but unfortunately I seem to be in the minority as far as that goes.


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