Models, actors, singers; famous personages, the rich, the powerful and the successful: mourn for them. Look at what daily damage is inflicted upon their shining visages! 

The defacement of models, actors, etc, by adding spectacles, scars, facial hair, boils, by blacking out teeth and shoving chewed up gum into their happy, caring, seductive eyes. On bill posters, in magazines; in bus stops, the underground, slowly dismembered in the doctor’s waiting room… Is not this defacement precisely an attack upon perfection? First and foremost; pure resentment: “I do not see why she, why he, why these people should be thus, thus and thus… How dare they smile down at me like that when I am not thus, thus and thus?”
It is all desire, all envy, and they all deserve everything they get. Except that no one ever admits to vandalism, this insignificant rebellion. Which is the more shaming? The compulsion to gouge, scar, smear and despoil, or having to admit to this compulsion?
Or are we effacing perfect parents? Does this manifestation of unconscious drives lead straight to iconoclasm? No one should bow down before idols. An attack on this mundane model (of reality) is offered up through the forcing of fissures into surface. Fissures through which the ‘reality’ of dental disaster, tissue stress, and optical ineptitude may be seen. No one bows down before bad breath. And so, to the vandal, the visceral pleasure of acting out resentment; the simple, unbound joy of being at one with fate, time, decay – triumphant, for a moment, over the vanity of perfection.

Original first published in Inventory: losing, finding, collecting. Vol.2 No.1 1997

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