Monday, January 21, 2008

Fat Actresses?

I first started thinking about this topic when I saw a magazine cover with a very cute Jennifer Love Hewitt in a black bikini declaring, "I'm not fat!" A little investigation online revealed these photos of Ms. Hewitt on a beach in Hawaii. Yep, those camera angles are pretty unflattering without airbrushing. But fat? No, she's not fat. She's probably pretty average for a woman her age. I think she looks pretty good in that bikini. Some of that is the advantage of age. I'm old enough now to appreciate just how cute most young women are. It really is a shame that youth is wasted on the young and judgmental.

One blog posted a picture of Hewitt from a Hanes underwear ad and commented on what a difference a few years makes. I'll bet you anything that the difference isn't the years but Photoshop and airbrushing. Even Cindy Crawford gets the full Photoshop treatment to smooth out wrinkles and shave inches off her thighs. There is hardly an image in a magazine or an ad today that isn't thoroughly altered to create an unbelievably perfect image of the subject. I once blogged about a time lapse video of a Dove ad that showed the process in minutes.

What drove me over the edge and finally caused me to post this was a review of 27 Dresses, which contained this line "They’re no Hepburn and Tracy, but Heigl—her quivering double chin a welcome sight in a profession of dangerously low BMI—and Marsden skillfully find the believable traits in their characters and turn them into some semblance of adults." "Quivering double chin"? MEOW! HISS! That's got to be one of the cattiest comments in movie review history. I spent the entire movie wondering how anyone could ever suggest that a very attractive woman with a totally flat stomach, a 12 inch waste, and no fat could possibly have double chins and anything but a low BMI. (Well, maybe she has some fat, but it is all in the right places.)

Okay, maybe these actors and actresses bring some of this on themselves by helping to promote an unrealistic image of themselves. I'll bet they're not complaining when the director strives for just the right camera angles or the advertisers break out the Photoshop to improve their pictures. But the rest of us don't have to contribute to this unrealistic image of what people really look like.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ben Stein's Commentaries

I've long been a fan of Ben Stein whether it is his deadpan delivery in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" or his display of intellectual prowess on "Win Ben Stein's Money." He has degrees in economics and law and was a speechwriter and lawyer for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. These days you can catch him some Sunday mornings doing commentaries for CBS Sunday Morning, which may be my favorite TV show.

I always look forward to his commentaries. Probably because I find that I agree with him on most things. He has this uncanny ability to put what I'm thinking into words. Of course, he does it much more eloquently than I could whether it is a thank you to veterans, the Christmas season, or the arrest of Senator Larry Craig. (Seriously, don't the police have better things to do than hang out in men's rooms looking for ambiguous "signs" of homosexuality? And shame on the Republican legislators for their gutless response.)

This morning (Sunday, January 6, 2008) he put into words a common thought of mine. That is, that presidential candidates and politicians in general have a very inflated opinion of their own importance and ability to affect people's lives. Like I said, Mr. Stein was much more eloquent and less blunt than I just was. Most positive things in most people's lives (in fact, most things in most people's lives) occur in spite of the best efforts of politicians and not because of them. In Stein's view, the only people whose lives are really affected by politician's promises are the poorest Americans who actually depend on government programs. The only thing that really affects all of us is the ability of politicians to declare war. I agree. I've often felt that the U.S. President gets both too much credit and too much blame for the state of the economy. In fact, I believe that the U.S. economy is so huge that most effects of political meddling, good or bad, aren't seen until many years after the President who implemented them is out of office.

As for our day to day lives, it is our daily decisions and actions that determine the quality of our lives and not the politicians. I think they have more power to screw up our lives than they do to improve them. That's why I'd like to see even fewer laws, and a drastically smaller Federal government. If this is ever going to be a reality, people need to stop voting based on promises or the ability of the local politician to "bring home the bacon."

The transcripts of Stein's commentaries are posted on his website and videos of them can be found on the website for CBS News Sunday Morning. Unfortunately, Mr. Stein appears to be three months behind on his transcripts and the video is not yet posted. When the transcript or video for this morning's commentary is posted, I urge you to check it out.