Pictures of 90’s television actress Lara Flynn Boyle surfaced again today. The one-time star of “The Practice” and “Twin Peaks,” as well as the ex-girlfriend of Jack Nicholson, has turned a body and face that used to look like this
into the image you see above.
When images like this surface, it’s a field day on the gossip blogs. People magazine posted the image with a zooming capability so we can get a closer look at the damage she’s done to herself, while Buzzfeed has posted a gallery of Lara Flynn Boyle’s face over the years. I have no doubt that the image is posted on 100 other gossip sites, as well. She’s a very easy target, and I’m certain that on one of our more cruel days here at Pajiba, we’ve exploited her (or someone like her) as well, so anything I write below can rightfully be accused of hypocrisy.
Still, it’s the culture we live in. Celebrities like Lara Flynn Boyle, Meg Ryan, or Mickey Rourke do horrible damage to their face through artificial means, and we — the ass blumpkins sitting on our couches sprinkled in Cheeto dust — are allowed to judge from afar. We are a cruel, bitter, and spiteful species, and celebrities are more than just movie stars — people that entertain us on the big and small screens alike — they are our Voo Doo dolls, famous people we stick our darts in to help us feel better about ourselves.
Sample comments re: the image above:
None of this, however, is news to any of you.
What I’m more interested in is not the way Lara Flynn Boyle looks now, but how it go so badly away from her. When I see pictures of Lara Flynn Boyle or Meg Ryan in their current state, I don’t feel venomous. I have no desire to make fun. I don’t want to giggle at the horror or run up and show my wife what a mess Lara Flynn Boyle has made of her face. What I feel is a sort of empathetic helplessness. I feel sad, not necessarily for the way Lara Flynn Boyle looks now, but about the circumstances that drove her to this.
Look: We all suffer bouts of insecurity. In fact, I think it’s that very insecurity that drives so many people to lash out at images like the one above, to laugh and mock and criticize. But we don’t have to suffer that insecurity in front of millions, at the pleasure of the paparazzi, fashion magazines, and mean gossip blogs (seriously, y’all: On our bitchiest days here at Pajiba, we’re not half as cruel as some of the gossip blogs I’ve seen). Compound that scrutiny with a bad self image, and you’re fucked, ladies and gentlemen. You are fucked.
I’m happily married, I have three kids, and I’m a fairly self-confident person. I don’t really have to impress anyone anymore, but even still, the amount of time I will reflect on a way a pair of pants might look, whether I should wear glasses today or contacts, or if I should grow a beard, keep the stubble, or shave preoccupies far more time than it probably should for a person in my station. I can only imagine what it must be like for Lara Flynn Boyle. It’s like my petty self-image concerns multiplied by a motherfucking million.
I can’t reverse my own aging process, but I do know if I ate a few huge meals and packed on a few pounds, I can eat less or exercise to remedy it. A bad haircut will grow out. I can change a pair of jeans. For the most part, I have some sense of control over how I look. Whether I actually exercise that control is another thing, but the option is there. For most of us, the option is there. A new body, a new image, better skin: Like the illusory hope of the American Dream, it’s relatively within our grasp: We can start a new diet. Monday is always around the corner. It’s that hope, whether realistic or not, that keeps many of us going.
That’s not the case for Lara Flynn Boyle, and that’s where my empathetic helplessness rises to the surface. Lara Flynn Boyle, bless her, is a lost cause. That nagging insecurity that led her to the very first procedure on her face has probably taken up residence in 90 percent of her brain by now. She may even still think that, “If I could just get this lifted, and this then tucked, and this moved over to here, then I’ll look 27 again, and my career will take off.” It’s not going to happen, and that realization — if she ever comes to it — may eventually drive her mad.
I hope she never arrives at that conclusion, that she always maintains the self-delusion that she can still fix herself. Inside of Lara Flynn Boyle’s brain space is the last place on Earth I’d want to be the day she lost that hope. It’d probably be nothing but sadness and defeat. That sadness and defeat will only be exacerbated because some dipshit with a camera catches her walking outside of a CVS, snaps her picture and posts it to People Magazine, where it’s picked up by 2,000 gossip blogs, and suddenly, there are 10 million strangers passing judgement on a woman who has already reached to the bottom pits of her despair.
We are a cruel fucking society.