I'm writing this in my pajamas, even though I'm alone in bed at the tail-end of a hot flash and the double-paned windows, a real luxury in San Francisco, keep out the fresh Pacific breeze.
Some people are naked in much more public places, where you can see, if not them, their glossy simulacra. Sharon Stone bares her tits on Paris Match. I don't know why it's called "Match," since that doesn't mean anything in French but the French people have this alarmingly endearing habit of taking American words whole-hog into their language, I guess the way we use ambience.
What can I say about Stone's bones? They're covered with lean, toned flesh and alarmingly symmetrical, hemispherical mammaries. She looks like a white Grace Jones, like David Bowie got in there somehow. I'm not sure why that's interesting, why it's cover-worthy, who cares, except she, her cosmetic surgeon, and the airbrush industry get to flaunt their wares.
What exactly are Sharon Stone's wares? Haven't a clue. She's been in some films, I think I saw one, famous for the beaver or crotch shot, a nanosecond of her recrossing her legs during which Michael Douglas realizes she's not wearing knickers, and the legendary faux-beaver the prop department cooked up for her, which once caused me to watch and rewatch the nanosecond, trying to see the thing. You can watch the whole friggin' film here.
Sharon Stone recrosses her legs in Basic Instinct (1992).
The difference between the thing and the simulacrum is the difference between art and life, reality and reproduction, culture and nature. That's show biz, that's Hollywood, that's propaganda, it's a lie. Depending on how the misinformation is deployed, people can get themselves in a passel of trouble. Like believing Ronald Reagan would make a good president. Don't let me get myself started.
Sharon Stone on the cover of Paris Match is... make-believe of a curiously vapid kind. After the shock, if it is one, as suggested by the cover line, "J'ai 50 ans, et alors?" — "I'm 50, so what?" — what remains? You scrutinize body parts, skin surface, think, Fuck, she's 50? And then... then you think how much better Isabelle Huppert looks, six years further down the road, not just because you can see her wrinkles, but because Huppert can act.
Isabelle Huppert presiding over Cannes Festival jury, age 55.
Huppert is an artist and her body and face are formed by her aesthetic discipline, her job, her avocation, her sine qua non — that without which she wouldn't be what, who, she is. Huppert didn't do what Deneuve did: chase the superficial perfection of smooth skin way past the age-appropriate date. Don't get me wrong. I adore Deneuve and I count her as a great actress, almost even more for her choices of role than strictly speaking for her emotive prowess. With Deneuve, the genius of her performing is almost entirely negative, in what she withholds. Huppert, the next great French simulator of bourgeois immorality, also withholds but simultaneously lets you spectate the withholding, the process itself, by a kind of yogic dilation, an intense relaxation allowing the voyeur access to her internal functions. To mess with her naturally aging skin surface would mess with that transparency, an aesthetic crime.
Sharon Stone, as far as I can tell, has nothing to tell us, on the surface or beneath, other than, Hi, I'm Sharon, give me a job, look how I look, so much better than every other human my age. It doesn't really matter she's got a toned instrument because wtf's she going to do with it that could make me care one way or the other? She doesn't do what Grace Jones does, not that I begin to grasp just what magic that strange goddess performs. Her aura alone is creation enough.
Grace Jones does "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)," circa 1981.