The Naked Lie

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The Naked Lie

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.


Comments [66]

JoanKelly6000's picture

okay I'm a jerk

But you have only yourself to blame - the whole imaginary girlcotting of my blog, accusations of never-commenting at yours (well-founded, but still) - so here I am with a comment for you.

Isabelle uses Botox.  Nobody over the age of 35-ish has ZERO frown line in between their brows, unLESS they have Botoxed it.  I should know, as I also use Botox there.  She may have wrinkles elsewhere on her face, but that frown-line-area is completely smooth. 

All of which is to say - I don't actually have a problem with you preferring Isabelle or wrinkles, I just like to report the news correctly from time to time where I see possible holes in it.  You're welcome.

SMBrown's picture

Photos lie

Botox?  Not necessarily.  Virtually all photos of celebs these days, even so-called 'candid' ones, are retouched, so basing such conclusions on photos is risky at best.  Also, I have a friend who's in her early 50s with a similar complexion and bone structure--and no frown or brow lines!  Though she does have ample crow's feet, thank god!

JoanKelly6000's picture

Re-touching or Botox, either

Re-touching or Botox, either way, and your supposedly-not-a-Botox-user friend notwithstanding, the likelihood of Isabelle actually having that plump and smooth of a frown-line-area naturally, at 55, is slim. 

Erin Blackwell's picture

i just spent too much time on

i just spent too much time on youtube scrutinizing isabelle huppert videos for a good look at her forehead. question: with so many other apparent wrinkles, why would she chose to smooth and i assume immobilize the skin/muscles above her eyebrows?

JoanKelly6000's picture

Same reason any/everyone else

Same reason any/everyone else who uses Botox there (forehead only) would, including me: it is one of the easiest ways to shave several year's off one's appearance without people automatically noticing you've had anything done.  You noticed the other wrinkles on her face, but not the lack-of-wrinkles in her frown-line-area.  The first time someone called my attention to her own Botox use-ery, that's exactly what she told me - people kept telling her how great she looked, and strangers guessed her to be younger than she was, even though she still had all the rest of her wrinkles at 40, including around her mouth and her crow's feet, and no one ever could figure out what her "secret" was (god I hate that phrase - the actual "secret" to staying young-looking is to die and then bring time to a standstill so's you don't rot).

It's the same for me - nobody believes me when I tell them I get my forehead/frown area Botox-ed, and I do tell every/anybody who tries to tell me how much younger I look than my actual age.  People think Botox makes you Joan Rivers-ish so they never think you've had it if you look merely frown-line-less.  It's too subtle to register.

Also, please give your commenters my regrets, and to yourself as well, if I sound snappish.  I have some kind of flu (I'm hoping it's Swine!) and it's making me 50% c-word today and yesterday.

Erin Blackwell's picture

would your avatar like some

would your avatar like some candy?

JoanKelly6000's picture

That's my niece in her

That's my niece in her librarian-disguise.  I love her so.

Erin Blackwell's picture

did you know "nepotism" also

did you know "nepotism" also means "excessive fondness for nephews" but there's no corollary for nieces? not that your fondness is excessive, given the instigatrix

JoanKelly6000's picture

a) not surprised that the

a) not surprised that the ladies have been left by the wayside yet again and/but

b) I say there's no corollary because fondness for one's niece(Drunk is a force no mere word could describe.  This particular niece's willingness to wear lens-less glasses for my and my twin's amusement is the least of her charms.  So you can imagine.

Erin Blackwell's picture

nagging pays off

jk6k, thanks for the expert opinion. 

p.s. the imperceptible-to-you girlcott was not imaginary-to-me. thanks for encouraging interblog tantrums with your placating visit yet contrarian comment.


JoanKelly6000's picture

I like "jk6k" is it okay if I use it?

Just for accuracy's sake, everything except bullshit me-related stuff has been imperceptible to me for the last couple weeks.  Basically unless you were hurting my feelings or causing me physical pain (I'm looking at you, effers-who-were-jerks-in-last-couple-weeks and then own-body-that-had-bad-cramps-and-now-flu), I haven't known what the eff one way or the other.

Please extend my apologies to your readership for the bad-cramps overshare.

Also, the whole needing-to-register thing was the hold up for me.  Rather, laziness was the hold up for me, commenting-wise at your blog.

Additionally, I think it's that I really loved Stone in "Casino" and also I have an unfair, mild bias against the French.  My contrarian comment should be viewed in that context.  Also the flu-inspired  c-word context.

Erin Blackwell's picture

i was totally unfair to la

i was totally unfair to la Stone. after i blogged, i watched "basic instinct" online. not only can/does she *act* she also has an intriguingly i dunno masculine vibe? asexual? grumpysexual, annoyedsexual vibe i never see in women onscreen. prelude-to-tantrum-sexual. so thanks for that corrective.

as for your "unfair, mild bias against the French" they'll survive.

camomileroses's picture

i'm over 50 but i'm not

i'm over 50 but i'm not really...i mean mm would be over 50 but she never will be, and i, too, am not over 50, and, yes, i know, i'm not concise in my appearance or i should say mm is not concise in her beauty...i, i.e., mm, am not terse or pithe, but i never intended to be.  quite the opposite, i luxuriate in my superlative beauty...what about you?  Wink

mm, i mean camomileroses

love all the synonyms.

"there will never be a technology more advanced than the human mind - fully engaged in the divine process of being. technology is a tool not a destination." me.

Tiff's picture


The French sometimes use English words that have a very different meaning to them than to most Anglophones. This blog is funny goes through some of them.

lmz's picture


Paris Match was called "Match" before WW2. It was the weekly sport magazine of "L'intransigeant", one of the most popular french newspaper in those years.

The new owner kept the title when he bought it in 1948. the word sounds like a slap to French ears. That's what he was looking for : "le poids des mots, le choc des photos".

French language has no accentuation. I think we use english words mostly cause of their sound.

Tiff's picture


That's interesting. Off to enjoy Paris Plage now....

Erin Blackwell's picture

merci, LMZ

merci, LMZ

Joanne Robertson's picture

Pet peeve ...

Isabelle aside ... (although her forehead is quite smooth for her age)

The actresses that are always held up as models for "aging naturally" or "gracefully" ... "real women" ... "with real curves"..."no frozen look for her" ... and the ones who say "I like to be able to show expressions when I act" etc ...

Every one of them, has had some kind of surgery! ... It's not hard to spot, if you look closely at their ears, jawline, forehead ... (or look at pics of them 20 years ago).

*cough* Kate Winslet *cough* Angelina Jolie *cough* Nicole Kidman *cough* etc ... and then there are the older generation actresses.

There's nothing wrong with plastic surgery IMO (I fully plan to have a subtle lift, when gravity takes hold) ... but when these women blatantly lie in interviews and mock others (who's surgery results were not quite as subtle as theirs) ... I lose respect for them.  Just tell the truth.

P.S  Yay! (If you choose to age naturally) ... and I think Sharon Stone is talented - she should work more.

Robin Rigby's picture

Some people do naturally age

Some people do naturally age well and look younger. I know that trait runs in my family. There's not a single person who's ever met me who believed me when I told them my age. Plus we all know there's certain things that will age a woman prematurely.

Anyhow, I'm posting because aren't we contributing to the rampant ageism in our society by talking about who's had work and who's using Botox, etc?

SMBrown's picture

Sorry but...

No way has Winslet had surgery--at least not for cosmetic reasons.  She's way too young.  Have a look at her in a recent interview on The Reader DVD--she's totally 'au naturel,' and looks it! 

And generally I think reports of 'work' are grossly over-exaggerated--unless you call airbrushing or professional make-up and lighting 'work.'

Steph's picture

Yeah I don't think lovely

Yeah I don't think lovely Kate has had surgery either.  She has certainly altered her appearance in recent years but I guess I can forgive that as losing weight and having teeth that blind you seem to be a pre-requisite for appearing in mainstream movies these days.  I hate the way looks are being homogenised....


SMBrown's picture

The rhinoplasty-obsessed out

The rhinoplasty-obsessed out there on the net contend that virtually every woman in the public eye has had her nose 'done.'  They show before-and-after pics that usually feature a badly lit 'candid' photo and little-to-no makeup as the before, then a perfectly posed red carpet pic, complete with flawless makeup and warm lighting (and often a spray-on tan) as the after.  

Rusty's picture

Lowbrow and I'm OK With That

Since I'm a 14-year-old boy when it comes to movies, I admit that I've loved Sharon Stone since Total Recall and Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead.

But If These Walls Could Talk 2 sealed my lifetime devotion. My favorite is the ending, but only the first Part is on YouTube:

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Erin Blackwell's picture

just watched the trailer for

just watched the trailer for TQATD. it looks faaabulous! and SS is so... her gender thing is wiggly. that's interesting. thanks for the sam raimi tip, bro!

Rusty's picture

You are welcome

But a warning — it was fun and visually interesting, but no Oscar contender.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Not2Taem's picture

I fell in love with Grace

I fell in love with Grace Jones watching Conan,

And then found she was so much more,

K I T's picture


im scared of her  all i need to see is her eyes and  ..... im gonna crawl behind the cough


Not2Taem's picture

Don't be scared.

Just cuddle up here on the couch and I'll keep you safe while we watch. Just don't lick yourself on my sofa.

Patrice Kamins's picture

formaldehyde beauty

Yes, there is a phrase that states god gives you the face you're born with and you create the face you end up with.  Scary when you don't know what has transpired throughout the last 50 years because they've been erased!    I actually think she looks fantastic and it may just be the reality of today that we continue to "youthenize" ourselves to death.

SS did start out as a model so there is an imprint about perfection, symmetry as a means to an end.  But really, it would be great if we could accept true beauty, not the dare I say male homosexual view of classic beauty.  Obviously, Ms. Paglia would have a lot to say about this . . .

If Sharon is smart enough to know what she is doing, kudos to her.   Otherwise, she's whitewashed her brain along with her smile lines!

Always the provacatrice, Ms. Blackheart!





minniesota's picture

Air brushing

I just looked in the mirror at my 50+ age face and think I could use some air brushing.

Sharon Stone perhaps would have made different choices regarding her approach to aging if she didn't live and work in La La land. I hope for heartier roles for all actresses.


Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Not2Taem's picture

Leave your mug alone!

It has character.  Glasses

LongBeachDogLover's picture


Unfortunately, it's the public that places the value of 'commercialized beauty' on actresses. And consequently, rarely on male actors. It's a societal issue... not so much an 'actress' issue. 

Sharon, as other individuals who's career takes them before the camera, must be cognizant of everything that the public will criticize. It's unfortunate, but as a female actress matures, the good acting roles diminish and the opportunities that come with the 'new' roles no longer compliment their abilities.

I know that most actress despise, with a passion, airbrushing and botox. Unfortunately, it's a part of the reality that they live with in 2009....

Sharon is an intelligent, deep and compassionate woman. Her family, and her privacy, mean the world to her....she is by no means a 'Hollywood' diva, or beauty queen.

She is actually a very 'normal' woman who - unfortunately listens to advice of her agents and managers.... for that I will fault her. She certainly didn't need to do a magazine cover like this...


Erin Blackwell's picture

remember what bette davis and

remember what bette davis and joan crawford went through to get a job? great actresses, who could've been doing what british actresses do at their age, which is supporting roles in decent films. instead they descended into... the GROTESQUE! which is a perfectly honorable genre... but...

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I so agree with you Erin.....

I adored how Katherine Hepburn allowed herself to grow into such a beautiful, and simply elegant woman as she matured..... She certainly never appeared to be lacking fabulous characters to play as she aged. I think that I may have appreciated her as she matured, more than the younger Katherine Hepburn....


Patrice Kamins's picture

vintage champagne

I think the cover is great, but if we're looking at the larger picture, we continue to support a false reality.

No one, not even Ms. Stone (or Madonna in that obscenely airbrushed LV ad) looks like that.  If we would look at it as an art project, it'd be cool.   As something to aspire to, not so much . . .

If she is as intelligent as she claims to be, she must be aware that supporting/condoning/placating that system is only going to make it worse as she continues to age.    It's a matter of short term gain vs. longterm progress and how much you want to stick your neck out.

And I think men  are subject to much of the same scrutiny, albeit not as extreme.  This is an equal opportunity nightmare . . .just do what I do, hide that painting in the closet!!!!





Erin Blackwell's picture

well, it *is* an art project

well, it *is* an art project but as french weirdo Orlan demonstrated, it's an art project constrained by the... patriarchy? shall we say? it's not a very original art project, due to the pressures of the market, which is utterly unfree. grace jones demonstrates an alternative universe in which art walks free. or bjork. but their domain's a bit different.

Kent Martin's picture

Hollywood Vs. Paris

Huppert is stunning!

The two actresses are emblematic of their environments. (Though Huppert is indeed a far superior talent). Stone is floundering in America's youth obsessed and superficial, commercial oriented market. While Huppert has flourished in much deeper roles in much more complicated, non-commercial films that get made in France.

Then again, we DO have the likes of Meryl Streep still going strong. IS it just a question of talent that transcends the surface?

Even if Stone is to be applauded for showing off at age 50. Isn't it interesting that the magazine is still a FRENCH magazine?!  America is so damn age-ist and sex-phobic!

SMBrown's picture


Stone was always doomed to flounder in America's youth-obsessed market because that's what she owes her prior success to--certainly NOT her acting chops.  Live by beauty, die by beauty.  I once saw a conversation in NYTimes Magazine between her and Lili Taylor (one of my fave indie actresses), in which Stone was exhorting Taylor to play on her looks more.  I might be wrong, but Lili Taylor could look like a cafeteria lunch-lady at 50 and she'll still have work. (Streep is just such an outsize talent it's difficult to use her in any comparison)

Fastgurrrl's picture

Kent, I agree, Isabelle is HOT!

I just googled her, and I'm embarrassed to say I don't think I've heard of her until now. Shy

Robin Rigby's picture

I'm sure I've seen other

I'm sure I've seen other films she's been in since I've seen literally hundreds, but the one that comes to mind that I love is "8 Women". It stars Deneuve as well and I just think it's a blast. I recommend it.

SMBrown's picture

Holy cow, Fastgurrrl, I'm

Holy cow, Fastgurrrl, I'm surprised you don't know her--I'm guessing (a bit), but I think you'd find her films hot as well.  I'm sure Erin could give you an ordered primer, but you absolutely must see THE PIANO TEACHER!

p.s. don't bother with any of her American-made films, just watch the French ones...

Erin Blackwell's picture

i'd definitely start her on

i'd definitely start her on something slower, like merci pour le chocolat. but maybe not. the thing that hooked me was her interview on the dvd of TPT. the way she talks about her role, the art of acting.

and as robin says, 8 Femmes is... OUT OF THIS WORLD! estrogen fest, a scripted pageant of french film femme fatales in neo-dior in highly saturated technicolory color... it makes me faint just to remember it.

Fastgurrrl's picture


I'll go rent it.

yonks's picture

I'm so glad, i meet her in

I'm so glad, i meet her in person, we had a meal (not the two of us alone unfortunately), she was very charming, she was very interested in my work and keep asking question about it.

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

SMBrown's picture

Elaborate please

Yonks, was this in France?  Do you remember what you ate?  Set the scene for me...

yonks's picture

Mais avec plaisir

It was in Montreal she was there to play Sarah Kane's 4.48 psychosis  and my cousins, Gerard Watkins was the second actor on the play , so he invited me for the play and a meal with the gang after the representation. i think she might have been interested in me because i had nothing to said about theater, she questioning me about my job, it was lovely.

 I only remember fresh oysters and white wine forgot the rest.

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

SMBrown's picture


Oysters??  REALLY??  That's just too perfect.

(also perfect that Huppert would choose a Sarah Kane play--she does love those tortured roles doesn't she?)

yonks's picture

you like oysters?

I've heard that its not a common plate in north america.


-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

SMBrown's picture


Oysters, more than any other food, are known for their aphrodisiac qualities here.

In the northeast they're fairly common, though they definitely take second-place to clams (I'm not sure about other parts of the country--perhaps some West Coasters can weigh in).

yonks's picture

Yeah the aphrodisiac vertue

Yeah the aphrodisiac vertue are a myth... oh, i forgot who i was talking to Wink

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-