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Those of you unfamiliar with botulism may want to pay close attention, because as the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Botox as a temporary remedy for the lines in one’s face, people should have a better grasp of what they’re getting themselves into, no matter how latent. Botulism is, here I’m quoting from the ever handy Bantam Medical Dictionary, “a serious form of food poisoning from foods containing the toxin botulin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The toxin selectively affects the central nervous system; in fatal cases, death is often caused by heart and lung failure resulting from a malfunction of the cardiac and respiratory centers of the brain [emphasis original].”
No one is suggesting your central nervous system will shut down if you submit yourself to Botox injections. If the FDA gives it the thumbs up, all must be well. (Please note the deadpan delivery of what could only be called my sardonic wit, most humorous when you consider the failures of FDA approved products within the previous decade alone.) My points of contention are with those people who are this transfixed with their physical appearance, and the doctors who cater to this ridiculousness. Now, nowhere am I going to imply beauty is on the inside; that is a popular catch phrase made all the worse only because people believe it. Beauty, at least in the conventionally held definition, is purely cosmetic, and not bad to have. On the other hand, intelligence and character are functions of the mind, and those are all that matter. To my way of thinking, the world’s most beautiful woman is functionally useless if she can’t hold her own in a conversation about something deeper than the ending of Planet of the Apes. Botox won’t help the intellect, therefore it’s useless.
Bill O’Reilly covered this topic briefly on the April seventeenth edition of his show, the guests being a woman who recently had the procedure done and a quack – sorry, doctor – who caters to the ego who pays for these procedures. The woman’s complaint was, despite the fact she’s a very happy person, everyone always thought she was angry because of her frown lines, so she decided to change the misconception. Meanwhile, the good doctor’s failure to explain why this is a worthwhile medical journey was matched in its hilarity only by his rigid, Al Gore-on-the-campaign-trail-like demeanor. In a particularly brilliant exchange, O’Reilly advanced his opinion that Cher doesn’t get much acting work these days because she’s had so much work done on her face, it’s impossible for her to show emotion. As if that weren’t funny enough, O’Reilly contends Botox probably causes the same result and asks the woman to frown; she looked like Cher trying to frown. A very good laugh was had.
Why? Because considerations of Botox and other anti-aging procedures specifically defy what seems like a basic tenet of adulthood: you’re going to grow old, and in order to avoid becoming the sort of pretentious twit who panders to his vanity, you should accept the fact of growing older and do so gracefully. In order to grow older gracefully, one has to accept he has grown to begin with, difficult enough when you consider the majority of those paying for these procedures come from a generation who, at one point, legitimately believed it would be 20 forever, and bottomed out hard when they realized they couldn’t.
Should you ever find yourselves wondering why so many conservatives detest the modern popular culture, Botox and its cousins are the reasons. (Remarkably enough, if you’re looking for the reason a lot of these third world toilet countries hate us, these are also the reasons.) We are a people go generally blessed with the opportunities afforded us, we tend to go to illogical lengths in seeking those things not immediately made available to us. It’s not enough we have the longest lifespan of any civilized nation in World history, we have to postpone adulthood by invoking all possible measures; it’s not enough we have at our disposal the planet’s most amazing variety of doctors and specialized medicines, we have to inject botulism into our faces to get rid of frown lines for three to six months. What, is cancer cured? Did AIDS suddenly vanish? Did I sleep through some fantastic medical advance?
Someone will write and say aging is a state of mind and that you’re only as young as you feel. That’s fine, if you’re in your eighties. But people in their forties and fifties should have gone past the excusable trappings of youth and moved on to grander times in their lives, in which one influences younger people by the examples they set. (For example, no one has exemplified an easy transition into their fifties better than my father, and I will be taking his lead as the years pass.) One should always understand the difference between graduating into adulthood and graduating into maturity. Both conditions should be lifelong goals, but should also be taught by example. Grow up and grow old … and stop injecting botulism into your faces.
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Jul 20 2002, 13:34:23
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