Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Greatest Controversy Of All Time

I know, I know: I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve skirted the issue so assiduously that no Gentle Reader could be blamed for thinking that I fear to address it. And to be candid, it’s a blockbuster, the sort of thing that really deserves front-page, above-the-fold treatment...that is, if the entire edition isn’t reserved for it, as would be right and proper.

But really, friends, I’m only one lonely voice in a vast landscape of opinion mongers. Why should it matter that I prefer to address less momentous subjects, topics where my opinions are less likely to call down fire from the sky? Can’t I be allowed to enjoy an occasional refuge in inconsequentiality? Must I forever be on the front lines of opinion-editorial, each and every day fearlessly exploring the ramifications of the seminal events of our time, as if I cared nothing about the galactic total war one of my carelessly phrased opinions might some day ignite?

Sigh. It does appear to be a law of the universe that the wicked shall know no rest. So once more, your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus will gird up his loins, buckle on his sword and heft his spear, and march toward the sound of the guns. And what fusillades they are, Gentle Reader. The Sturm und Drang over this one is enough to make Patton wet his pants. Hell’s endlessly clanging bells, Achilles and Odysseus would try to hide behind each other and Aeneas would run screaming for his mommy.

So here we go:

Was it naughty of Jennifer Lawrence to take
(or allow to be taken)
nude photos of herself?

Uh, no. Though allowing them out of her exclusive personal possession was surely unwise.

Look here. I noticed a few things a long, long time ago:

  • Each of us has a body.
  • Identical twins excepted, no two bodies are alike.
  • Some bodies are really, really attractive.
  • Men love to look at attractive women; women take some, albeit somewhat less, pleasure from looking at attractive men.
  • Certain female celebrities enjoy the natural assets, time, incentive, and financial resources required to look especially good.
  • Men especially like to look at, and to fantasize about, such female celebrities.

Now, as it happens, Jennifer Lawrence has a singular sort of appeal. She’s beautiful, beyond all dispute. But she’s also, for lack of a better term, down to earth. Her Kentucky origins, her many interviews, the opinions she’s expressed, and much else about her suggest that here, at least, we have a young woman to whom there’s more than just makeup and memorized lines. Add to that the extraordinary, screen-dominating presence she’s exhibited in Winter’s Bone, the Hunger Games movies, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. It’s next to impossible to look away from the screen when Jennifer Lawrence is in the picture. I can’t think of another contemporary actress of whom that could justly be said.

Angelina Jolie is beautiful, but she’s also a
Scarlett Johansson is beautiful, but she’s too heavily booked...not to say “exposed.”
Mila Kunis is beautiful...well, kinda-sorta, anyway...but she looks better clothed. Trust me on that.
Christina Hendricks is beautiful, but you’d absolutely drown in that cleavage.
Kim Kardashian...wait, what am I thinking?

Jennifer Lawrence seems to have skirted all those demerits, at least for the present. If she stays in touch with her “roots” – not easy when you live in Los Angeles, have already won two Oscars, and have become the most sought-after actress in the world – perhaps she’ll remain unspoiled.

I have a hard time faulting her for perhaps wanting her current beau – who is that, pray tell? I hate him passionately without even knowing his name – to have a couple of snaps of her in the altogether, to remind him of her when circumstances temporarily part them. Not to mention that it’s possible that such photos are useful for costume fittings and such. For all I know, every actress has to submit to that ordeal.

Still, it’s an old (by Information Era standards) maxim that should you ever allow yourself to be photographed unclothed, that photo will eventually make its way to the Internet. So there’s a risk in permitting it – and a bigger risk in not binding everyone involved with contracts, blood oaths, and mystical geases never, ever to allow such photos to escape their wholly private clutches. When the photos in question are those of the most sought-after actress in the world, who also happens to be young, sweetly beautiful, and heavily promoted for a motion picture coming soon to a theater near you, you can bet your next orgasm that they’ll be the focus of a quest that would make Frodo and Sam look like pikers on a weekend jaunt.

Glory be to God, Gentle Reader! I’ll guarantee you that the number of horny young (and not so young) men who’ve pursued those photos, and the accompanying fantasies, exceeds the male population of California...because the entire male population of California is part of it, and they’re not alone.

What we have here, in short, is a case study in inevitability. Beautiful, highly promoted, widely admired young celebrity allows (or is required to permit) nude photos to be taken of her; rumors of the existence of said photos begin to circulate; legions of (ahem) admirers search for them; inducements are offered to persons who might have access to them; technology gets into the act; and the rest just pops out of a slot.

No, I haven’t seen the photos. I have no idea whether they’re relatively pedestrian and stoic, or highly seductive and risque. It doesn’t matter. Our beloved Katniss Everdeen hasn’t committed a felony, nor does she deserve the thundering condemnation that’s already resounding in some excessively bluenosed circles. Though if I were the one responsible for their disclosure to the world, I wouldn’t risk allowing her to get anywhere near me. She’s reputed to be very good with a bow and say nothing of her prowess with a shotgun.

As a parting gesture of contrition for evading this controversy for so long, and as an expression of my admiration, here’s my favorite photo of Jennifer Lawrence:

She seems happy. Are you?


Adrienne said...

Didn't read the book. Didn't see the movie. Barely knew who she was until this little kerfuffle over the photos.

That being said, I must now ask why you would love that photo of her? The dress is a horror that does nothing to flatter her.

I can understand a juvenile searching for the photos. But a grown man looking for photos that were stolen? Let's not forget that part. The photos were stolen.

Off topic, buuuuuut when you mentioned "girding your loins", I first read that as grinding your loins. Ouch!

Francis W. Porretto said...

I like the photo because she looks like she's sincerely happy and having a good time, in contrast to most publicity shots of celebrities. Nor do I think the dress is all that unflattering, but de gustibus non disputandum est. As for "the book," if you mean the Hunger Games trilogy, treat yourself. It's almost as good as my novels.

Backwoods Engineer said...

Fran, I loved the Hunger Games books. Read all of them. A couple of times.

But, I am sorry to inform you: they are NOT as good as your novels! I have seldom been as challenged to correct my thinking while being absolutely ENTERTAINED as when I read your novels.

But thanks for being humble. It's part of why I like your persona, such that I know it.

Adrienne said...

What engineer said...

P.S. The dress is ugly. Ask your wife. She does, however, look happy.

Dystopic said...

I, for one, would have no issue with drowning in Christina Hendricks' cleavage, save that my wife might murder me for the trouble.

But as to your central point... some celebs have managed to avoid nude picture troubles, despite the near-epic quests to obtain them. Jennifer Lawrence is guilty of only one thing here: trusting Internet security.

I don't know why she, or any other celebrity for that matter, would use any storage solution connected to the Internet. Every day major websites are hacked. Getting into common Cloud storage is absurdly easy. It's probable, given what I do in my day job, that -I- could do such a thing. Child's play, really.

It's the equivalent of leaving copies of the pictures in an unlocked car with a sign that says "please don't steal these."

Maybe now people will realize that online storage is a terrible idea for anything that you actually want secured. Then, perhaps, some good will come of all this.