Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#ISTANDWITHCARRIE

NOTE: So, I first published this on my blog in July of last year. I soon deleted it, because (1) I wasn’t really keeping up the blog (as you can see) and (2) I felt like I might have gone over the top (me? THE HELL YOU SAY!). But given the OUTRAGEOUS nastiness that has been aimed particularly at Carrie Fisher in the media and its buck-toothed sistercousin from Deliverance (and by that I mean social media) since The Force Awakens opened, I thought I’d bring this one out of the mothballs and republish it here, because clearly, I didn’t go over the top. I understated the jackassery of internet paper tigers.

So, here goes. Take a trip in the wayback machine to July 2014:

 #ISTANDWITHCARRIE

For reasons best known to trash tabloid editors, Carrie Fisher turned up on the cover of the NY Post last week, giving me a reason to revisit this too-seldom used blog and share a bit of my patented outrage about the disturbing snarktasticness that has erupted on the interwebz about (1) Carrie Fisher's age and appearance; (2) Mark Hamill's age and appearance; and (3) Harrison Ford's age and appearance (see a trend here?) ever since it was announced rumored unofficially stated revealed by the actors themselves discussed that the three would be signed contracts might be are in negotiations to could star in be featured in cameo in may somehow appear in Star Wars: Episode VII, which will be released in May December 2015.

But let me tell you something about these three folks:

NO, NOT THE KARDASHIAN SISTERS. THE UBIQUITY OF THOSE THREE MAKES ME WEEP TEARS OF BLOOD, FOR PETE'S SAKE.

 I mean these three folks:


Awwww....there they are. Major childhood idols right there. The reason I started writing. The reason I love me some movies. The reason I have never found a real-life man who can compete with Han Solo (damn you, George Lucas). Yeah, sorry about that, Luke. I was a Han Solo girl through and through, which perhaps explains why I am still single, because in real life...they never sign up to be generals in the Alliance, do they?

And Princess Leia? Like many girls who were six in 1977, I wanted to BE her. Disney Princesses weren't so much of a thing back then (God help us, Princess Leia has now become a Disney Princess). A wise-ass princess with cruller hairbuns who was the boys' equal both with a blaster and a snotty comment, now SHE was a thing back then. If you think about it for a second, having that for a role model sure beats the heck out of Bella Swan and that horrific doofus of a 19-year-old character (Alexandra? Alhambra? Ali Baba?) whose name I can't even remember that we'll soon be subjected to in the film version of "50 Shades of Making Sex Boring."

Amazingly enough, both of the guys in Star Wars were romantically interested in Leia (until that unfortunate "sibling" thing) despite the fact that she was smart, confident, and able. Clearly, this was a different time in our cultural and dramatic history. Or maybe it was just because Leia didn't live in New York City. Not that I'm bitter. BUT I DIGRESS...

The point of this whole post is to try to avoid working this: There's been a whole lot of snark going around since these three have been rumored to be reprising their iconic roles from the "Original Trilogy" in what is being called the "Sequel Trilogy." Just a few examples below:


Now I'll admit, the bald Harrison Ford image made me snort a baked pita chip up my nose -- which, incidentally, is something you do not want to try -- the first time I saw it, perhaps because it conflicted so sharply with my childhood vision of Han Solo, although I have to say that Carrie Fisher looks pretty much like an ideal middle-aged Leia in that meme. The first meme is sophomoric and the last one is absurdly mean-spirited (and hey, meme-creator, nice to mispeell the nome of the pewson your triying to fat-shame. High five, loser).

Oh, and it doesn't stop there.

Here are a few other internet commenters:

Harrison Ford Begs Agents to Just Let Him Die Now - The Onion
Really, The Onion? Is that even funny? IMHO, that's just frickin' mean.
(DEC. 2015 EDIT: IN RETROSPECT, OUCH. REALLY, SERIOUSLY NOT FUNNY AFTER THE PLANE CRASH, ONION)

She looks awful for 57! We have eyes! - DD from USA, Daily Mail poster
Aww, that's lovely, DD from the USA. Next time, though, post a pic of yourself while criticizing so we can all have a go at you.

Mark Hamill Totally Looks Like Jabba the Hutt - another Daily Mail paper tiger
Nope. Not seeing the resemblance. Outdoorsy guy in his 60s sans botulinum toxin (Botox, y'all), which is not a bad thing. Hey, JJ, give him a beard in Ep. VII and he's gonna be cute n a Sean-Connery-in-Indiana-Jones-and-the-Last-Crusade way.
(DEC. 2015 EDIT: AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW, JJ WAS LISTENING)

Now it's no big revelation for me to say that the anonymity of the internet is basically making all of us -- including me -- behave like, as the Muppet Show used to say, "pigs in space," or, as I like to say, "assholes in cyberspace." It makes me hope that there is an afterlife with one of those "life reviews" that people who've had near death experiences always talk about, and lotsa people are made to feel lotsa existential shame for their internet behavior.

But since I'm assuming that a lot of this nastiness is coming from my generation or the lovely (she says with gritted teeth) generation behind me, I'd like to point out an itty bitty factoid that the snarkalicious commenters seem to be missing:

YOU TOO WILL ONE DAY BE OLD.
YOUR BOOBS WILL SAG (Guys, hate to tell you, but this applies equally to you.)
YOUR NUTSACK MAY DROOP. (Live with it, because you won't be able to maintain an erection either)
YOUR MIDSECTION WILL BECOME ROUND.
YOUR LEGS WILL GET SKINNY.
YOUR HAIR WILL TURN GRAY.

AND THAT IS IF YOU ARE LUCKY. OTHERWISE, YOU'LL BE:


I MEAN:

And that right there, my friends, is the sum of your lack-of-options (and the carbonite isn't really an option, much as you may wish it to be). But I seem to have forgotten one more thing to add to the list above, and that is the fact that IF YOU'RE AN ACTOR WHO PLAYED AN ICONIC ROLE AND DARES TO REVISIT IT 40 YEARS LATER, YOU WILL BE SUBJECTED TO FAT-SHAMING, AGE-SHAMING, AND APPEARANCE-SHAMING BY YOUNGER GENERATIONS ON THE INTERNET, BECAUSE APPARENTLY THE NORMAL RULES OF TIME, PHYSICS, GRAVITY, AND BIOLOGY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO APPLY TO YOU. OR, IF THEY DO, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HIDE YOUR AGING FACE UNTIL YOU DIE.

Hold onto your seatbelts, folks in my generation. This paragraph is going to make you feel old, as well it should, to the extent my generation is involved in the age and appearance shaming going on in cyberspace. Here's the reality, gang: we are today as many years removed from the original theatrical release of Star Wars (38 years) as Star Wars was from GONE WITH THE FREAKING WIND (38 years). Scary perspective, no? Make you feel like you may be a little older than you'd like to consider yourself to be? Damn straight, sparky.  And frankly, it should. 

Because one of the incontrovertible facts of human existence -- even in a galaxy far, far away -- is aging. Apparently, from the tenor of the internet, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable did the movie-going public a huge favor by dying at sadly young ages and sparing us from having to see them aging onscreen, reviving past glories in the way that middle-aged (and older) men at baseball camps, middle-aged (and older) women wearing miniskirts to Duran Duran concerts (I AM NOT GUILTY!), and middle-aged (and older) couples buying red, convertible sports cars would never, ever try to do because, you know, we're just too mature for that.

 Can a 57-year-old Carrie Fisher not play Leia as a Senator (as she was when Star Wars began)? True, of course, that we don't have any older females in leadership positions in real life. Ummm...right?
(DEC 2015 EDIT: OK, I WAS WRONG IN MY GUESS. I STILL THINK SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SENATOR, THOUGH)

Oh...hi, gals.


Can a 63-year-old Mark Hamill not play a Jedi Master? Nope, nuh-uh, never seen an older religious leader. We usually prefer callow youth who have not come to terms with mortality. Oh, but Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama say hi.



And there's been a lot of questioning about what a 71-year-old Harrison Ford has to offer the galaxy far away, because, clearly, older men aren't rogue cowboys like Han Solo. Yeah, right, tell that to, you know, HARRISON FREAKING FORD.


And nothing, NOTHING warms the cockles of my bitterly post-ironic heart like the idea of a chubby and grey-haired Leia in Mon Mothma robes still in love with her aging scoundrel, General Han Solo. You hear me, JJ Abrams? You get the kids with all the pew-pew-pew and lightsaber duels, you get every living woman over 35 with this:


(DEC 2015 EDIT: DAMMIT, JJ, I REALLY WANTED THIS. YOU DIDN'T REALLY GIVE A CORELLIAN CRAP ABOUT WOMEN OVER 35, DID YOU? NO, I MEAN I REALLY WANTED THIS. MY FANGIRL HEART? BROKEN)

So feel free, JJ -- no, feel obligated, JJ -- to give us both the pew-pew-pew and the older characters if, you know, Hamill, Ford and Fisher actually are in the movie. Which can only happen, of course, if the New York Post and the Daily Mail don't make it their mission to humiliate and destroy Carrie Fisher first.

I'm loathe to describe what the comPost and the BM (sorry, DM...no, actually, right the first time) have "reported," in the loosest possible sense of reportage. But I'm even more averse to anyone googling and clicking through to those slimy pieces of worm-ridden filth, so, in a nutshell, they supposedly tailed Carrie Fisher for seven days, during which she turned up a few times at a sketch Hollywood apartment (the implication being that illegal transactions were occurring), and apparently they thought she looked chubby and sloppy. It seems, by the way, that the last part bothered him the most. (The takeaway: if you become famous, engage in illegal transactions and act bizarrely if you must, but for God's sake do not ever leave your home until you have applied a thick coat of makeup and flat-ironed your hair, because that shit's important, y'all).

 In any event, this "investigative reporting," landed Fisher on the FRONT PAGE of the comPost, looking worse for wear. Venezuela is erupting in riots, Putin is going all Sudetenland on Ukraine, our real unemployment figure -- you know, the one that doesn't get reported -- is like a thousand percent, and an actress who has not played a lead in a film in 30 years, who may (or may not) appear in an upcoming movie and may (or may not) be doing something crazy sketchy like buying pot in California (WHAAAT!)  is the subject of a week-long stakeout? This is how we now allocate our media resources? (DEC. 2015 ED: OH, AND SOME JACKASS AT THE POST WAS APPARENTLY AT IT AGAIN TODAY, WRITING THAT CARRIE FISHER SHOULDN'T ACT IF SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE CRITICIZED ABOUT HER APPEARANCE.  UM,  THAT'S NOT WHAT AN ACTOR OWES YOU, JACKASS AT THE POST. AN ACTOR OWES YOU ONLY A PERFORMANCE, NOT A CERTAIN "LOOK.")

 While we're at it, let's look at the human side of this story. Carrie Fisher's life, despite fame and fortune, has been no barrel of Hamlet-writing monkeys. She's been extraordinarily open over the years about her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder. So if she's fallen off the wagon, or is going through a manic or depressive episode, that's reason for sympathy and a tragedy for Fisher and her family, not a photo op. This was not Britney Spears walking into a crowd of paparazzi and shaving her head. This was a middle-aged woman being stalked.

 Fisher has also been very honest about the downside of playing one of the most iconic female roles in film history (and this was even before the downside included being stalked by bottom-feeders thirty years after your celebrity was at its height), saying more than once that she wouldn't have taken the role of Leia in the first place had she known the impact it would have had on her life and also commenting -- apropos of the present internet bitchery -- that she wasn't aware that wearing a metal bikini at 25 obligated her to look like that FOREVER or let people down.

 By the way, here's what they all looked like when filming The Empire Strikes Back:

I submit that most of us never dreamed of looking that good in our twenties and thirties. I, for one, would have looked like one of the dancing rhinoceri from Fantasia if in a metal bikini when in my 20s, and thus have no grounds to complain about anyone's appearance in their 50s, 60s, or 70s.

 But think about it for a minute: constant judgment because you don't look like 25-year-old you. Add to that constant judgment the need to take psychotropic medications for a medical condition and which have a reputation for causing significant weight gain, total strangers from all over the world shaming you, AND, if media outlets are to be believed, a request from Disney that you lose weight for the film.

 I gotta tell you, whether or not Carrie Fisher is doing something crazy like smoking the wacky weed (WHAAAT?), were I in those circumstances, I would be snorting coke while getting a colonic while running fifty miles on a treadmill for eight hours a day and eating nothing but air until around 5pm, when I'd be so pissed off and starved that I'd turn into the Incredible Hulk, storm into the nearest Walmart, plop (literally, due to the colonics) in the baked goods aisle, and eat every goddamn YoYo, HoHo, and Snowball in the joint. Drake's would be my bitch. (Okay, Drake's is already my bitch, but that's a story for another day). And I don't even have a diagnosed mental illness yet (seriously, as you can tell from this post, it's obviously there, it's just not diagnosed).

But one thing is inarguable: People -- both the old media, and the new media, and the wanna-be media like me -- are behaving ABOMINABLY toward these three actors (particularly the woman, shocker) about this film. And I think I'm pretty accurate when I say these folks have done nothing wrong. They have not peed in anyone's cornflakes (except, maybe, Richard Dreyfuss' cornflakes). They have not killed your Golden Retriever. They have not spoiled the The Sixth Sense (the kid sees dead people, folks, and Bruce Willis is dead. And Crying Game? She's a man, baby [DEC 2015 EDIT: AND IN THE FORCE AWAKENS...OK, I WON'T. BUT IT'S BEEN TWO WEEKS AND I'M LOSING PATIENCE, JUST SEE THE DAMN FILM]).

All they've done is given innumerable people aged fifty and under immeasurable happiness dating back to their childhood and continuing into their adulthood. Their greatest sin appears to be daring to show their age on a movie screen.

So here's what I hope for them and for Episode VII:

 I hope Carrie Fisher is well and healthy and, if not, the people who love her help her become healthy, happy, and more badass than ever. And when Episode VII rolls around, I hope a sixtyish, chubby Leia is QUEEN OF THE FREAKING UNIVERSE;
(DEC. 2015 EDIT: OK, I GUESS GENERAL OF THE UNIVERSE KIND OF WORKS. BUT WHY SO MUCH PAIN, JJ? WHY NOT QUEEN OF THE FREAKING UNIVERSE? WHY NOT HAPPY WITH HAN? I NEED QUEEN OF THE FREAKING UNIVERSE!!! AND I NEEDED HAPPY WITH HAN!!!)

 I hope that Mark Hamill still has the infectious joy he always seemed to have about the Original Trilogy (I get the feeling he's a nerd too). And I hope that in December 2015, 63-year-old Luke whips out his saber (yeah, I went there) and out-Guinnesses Alec Guinness while out-Poping the Pope. (DEC. 2015 EDIT:WELL, WE'LL JUST PUT A PIN IN THIS UNTIL 2017. BUT  PLEASE DON'T ALLOW HIM TO OPEN ANOTHER JEDI SCHOOL. THE LUKE SKYWALKER ACADEMY FOR KIDS WHO DON'T FORCE GOOD WAS CLEARLY A FLOP)

I hope that Harrison Ford finds that lopsided grin that made us all fall for him and remembers that there's a lot to like about the character of Han Solo. And when it's time to play THE MAN one more time, I hope he shoots first. And second. And keeps on shooting. And I hope he doesn't get that death scene he always wanted in Jedi.
(DEC. 2015 EDIT: WELL, DAMMIT.  DAMN YOU TO THE NINE HELLS OF CORELLIA, JJ AND KASDAN. GRUMBLE.)

But mostly, I hope that Disney goes rogue and makes major merch tie-ins with Viagra and Geritol, just to piss off the eternal youth brigade. Because, I assure you, in the immortal words of Master Yoda: 

"When AARP you join, look as good you will not. AND WHO CARES."

Maybe that's not quite what Yoda said. But it's close enough.