The Stallone Syndrome: Aging Gracefully or Not?

If there’s one thing about celebrity in the internet age it’s the fact that people are more disposable and interchangeable as ever. Celebrity was always youth driven to an extent but there was still room for finely aged talent. You might not be as explosive or fresh but you learned things along the way that more than compensated for that with experience and development as an artist. Nowadays, people are fighting age tooth and claw. So much for the notion of aging gracefully.

The thing is we’ve got so a lot of technology being refined to the point of art to support these endeavors. Photoshopping and photoshopped are now accepted as a verb and adjective. Plastic surgery, medicine, and natural therapies are all being refined to the point of art where new technologies and insights are giving us new ways to trick the clock.

Of course, the catch is you need to be rich to enjoy these things and the sad reality is that it still requires a LOT of work and always will. In fact, I’d say this is the full-time job of most celebrities: “staying young and attractive”. The downside is we all die anyways and the fact that these experiments can go horribly wrong if you take the wrong advice or do a bad “procedure”.

Then of course there’s the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll route to premature aging but that’s another story or maybe a footnote.

It also doesn’t help that the hottest industry, IT, is really youth driven as well. Combine smart kids that grew up on the internet with the cheapest entry costs of any industry and you have youth worship to the hilt.

Unsurprisingly enough, this youth worship meets precisely at the intersection of IT and celebrity worship: the celebrity gossip blogs. Stolen images with snarky captions are a guilty pleasure of mine and it’s easy to see how such publishing platforms take celebrity and youth worship to new heights.

The unfortunate thing about all this is you can use all your money to look younger than your peers but you will never have that “hotness” quality and it’s a fine line even for the actually young. Lindsay Lohan still has it despite her drugged out escapades while Britney Spears clearly lost any chance of redemption. Of course, there are many who manage to stay hot for a remarkably long time like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Madonna (though she’s showing mileage lately), Janet Jackson (pre-nipple malfunction), and others. The rest have photoshop.

Of course, the new frontier may some day be to freeze our moving images in whatever form or level of hotness we’d like but I doubt any technology can capture the ethereal nature of being young and hot simultaneously. At the end of the day you can try to keep that carton of milk fresh for as long as you want but fresh milk is fresh milk.

Sometimes I wonder though if the seemingly extended youth we see is correlated to the prolonged mental immaturity we see in people who should be “good adults”. For those who yearn to really relive youth there’s always grand children and the phrase, “when I was young”.