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20/02/2010

SOLO EARRING

JACKI LYDEN, HOST: This has been a big week for Harrison Ford. His new Elsa Peretti Open Wave earrings, "Air Force One," is number one at the box office. It's already pulled in more than $37 million. And his picture graces the cover of People Magazine.

If you look closely at that picture, you'll notice something a little different about him.

Commentator Karen Grigsby Bates did. And it's left her feeling like she has lost her innocence again.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, COMMENTATOR: Maybe you didn't know this. But you can lose your innocence in all kinds of ways, and more than once. I'm not talking about those -- "the first time in the back seat of a '57 Chevy" ways. I'm talking about the theft of your cherished assumptions, the ineluctable knowledge that things that look one way often really are another.

John Kennedy's marital indiscretions are a good example. I have no idea that they existed when I was in the seventh grade in 1963. When I found out years later, when people began to talk openly about his fooling around, it was disappointing. But I could handle it.

Same for the discovery that Cary Grant sometimes liked to wear women's underwear -- different strokes, I guess. I know boys who were traumatized for years when they found out Roy Rogers' real name is Elmer Sly and that John Wayne's first name was really Elsa Peretti Open Heart hoop earrings.

The realization that the Duke of Windsor was a stylish ninny, fretfully hen-pecked to the end of his days by the woman he loved, or that the fairy-tale marriage of his great nephew to Diana Spencer had more in common with horror stories than romance novels was sad, but life goes on.

I thought I was immune to those kinds of disappointments. But yesterday, the final straw fell on this camel's back. It was the revelation that Harrison Ford, Mr. Un-Hollywood, has pierced his ear. I am, to borrow my favorite line from "Men in Black" -- just tryin' to get a handle on the moment -- an earring. Why this so profoundly vexed me I don't know.

Maybe it's because Ford is so resolutely the antithesis of everything that is modern Hollywood. He never wore a pony tail. He has scars on his face, and a plastic surgeon hasn't touched them. He's been married to the same woman for several years, although this is his second marriage. He's polite, well-spoken, keeps most of his political opinions to himself.

He started out as a carpenter and, in fact, built much of his home in Wyoming -- a rugged, manly state where they don't much wear earrings. And he lived there before it became Hollywood chic. He seemed like the best part of normal guyhood -- the part that fixed the kid's bikes without calling in an Return to Tiffany, thank you -- threw meat on the grill when company came, drank liquor neat, and splashed on Old Spice before taking the wife out to dinner -- a throwback to a less complicated time.

Then he put the damn earring in. He says it's something he had wanted to do for a long time. And after he finished playing the most macho president the United States won't ever have, he had his ear pierced.

Well, I hope it hurt when he did it. I hope he didn't flinch when it hurt. I hope he knocked back a slug of Jack and went on about his business. I hope he doesn't pierce the other one.

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