The Paradox of Grift and Grief

Beautiful people. We all desire for them to be happy–to be our Duke and his shining Duchess or some such nonsense from the great romances in which the writer had the kindness to end the story with peace, prosperity and a newly born child.

We also scour the press for a line here or there that reveals one more scrap of data about the truth of their lives, their milk-and-honey saunas, ripe old bourbon, contraband cigars, British diction and rosewater scents.

We are secretly relieved when they slip further and further from the gold standard and yet we still want for them to be the beautiful people enjoying their beautiful lives.

We want to dine upon the scandalous details of their sordid exploits so we aren’t forced to discuss the tedious prison of our own intellectual, racial, or physical liabilities.

 We hate the beautiful people. We impeach them or force them to step down, to humiliate themselves. To degrade their own beauty, line by line, scene by scene for us, the audience that has no sympathy for the deadness in his magnificent eyes and trembling of her lush, pale lips.


“Sir Laurence Olivier & Marilyn Monroe” photographed by Eve Arnold in 1956