song – retouch me (for britney spears)
August 17, 2007
[splashcast SEHU7455VW SBMT7330VF]
so, this whole britney spears magazine thing. as reported in page six:
“As Page Six reported more than a month ago, Spears walked out of a shoot for the perfume’s ads before decent shots were taken. But that hasn’t stopped Elizabeth Arden’s marketing campaign for the scent.
“She looked amazing, but she left the shoot three times in a state of distress before driving away for good,” our source said. “They had decent shots of her face, but not her body, so the art director made the stylist – a cute girl name Kylie Cavaco – get in Britney’s clothes and pose.
“They are superimposing Britney’s head on Kylie’s body. Kylie has the body Brit used to have, not the one she has now.”
and what’s the big deal? in movies this happens all the time, you know, body doubles. that’s not some industry secret, that’s public knowledge. i’m sure everyone remembers that classic episode of “friends” where joey gets hired to be al pacino’s butt double in a shower scene but gets fired from the job. in a movie this an accepted thing, you don’t even notice it. so why is it important now? because instead of just retouching, it’s a different person grafted on? whatever, elizabeth arden had to fit britney into an image like fitting a too big ass into a too tight pair of designer jeans. they did what they had to do and i respect them for it. no one wants to see ugly in a magazine ad.
every week there’s some feminist blah blah attack on how magazines retouch photos and how it’s evil and how these are not real women, they are fake (i had a long argument with a girl at a party about this once and she just kept drunkenly repeating the phrase “girls in magazines are not real”, which has a sort of beautiful weirdness to it, like, they’re not real, are they robots or something?) and really, come on, what person does not know and get all this by now? who has not internalized this knowledge? like, six year olds, maybe? it’s the same reason i think we should plug all the money that gets blown on d.a.r.e. and anti-smoking campaigns and programs into something important, like say, cancer research, because there’s not people in this country anymore who don’t get that smoking is bad for you, it’s just a known fact, and all the faux-hip “truth” ad campaigns aren’t going to change their minds.
people buy glossy magazines because they want to look at glossy people. i’m sorry, the cover of a magazine should not ever have an ugly person on it, unless they like, cured cancer or stopped the war in iraq, and even then, make-up, hair, wardrobe, fix them up as much as you can and then retouch the hell out of them. i love women and the way they look and they don’t have to look like a magazine cover to get me all hot and bothered, because they are three dimensional people with depth and souls and personalities and women in magazines are two dimensional images. of course they’re not “real”; they’re not, they’re representations of reality, and if i learned anything in four years of art history and literary theory it’s that a representation can’t equal the thing represented, it’s always a distortion.
so, to get back on topic, if i was ever on in the first place, i think it’s perfectly acceptable for britney to have a body double for magazine photos, and i think any other celebrity (male or female) who doesn’t feel they’re looking up to snuff, maybe haven’t been hitting the gym lately, that they should get a double too. this is how we can employ all the poor starving actors in los angeles, by allowing them to become simulations of slightly more succesful actors. maybe through the act of their bodies’ performance, their minds will learn too.
the song above is one i wrote today about the magic wonder of photo retouching. it was inspired by the britney thing, in an attempt to be hip and topical like that spank rock “lindsay lohan” song, except not as clever or good or hip or anything. but it is summery and breezy and smooth as sea foam and has a spoken word philosophy section at the end.