August 19, 2019

Am I the only one who is noticing that the TV talking-heads news shows are shifting their approach to...

... makeup? A month or so ago, I couldn't listen to what they were saying because I was exclaiming that they looked like they were wearing rubber masks. It was freaky. The skin did not look like skin. How did I know these were human beings at all rather than simulacra? But something seems to have changed in this past week. Maybe it's the summer heat and air conditioning doesn't work right anymore, but I've seen at least 2 shows with panelists gleaming as if they were sweating. Is this a deliberate reenvisioning of the best way to do makeup for high-definition television? The panelists convey reality more convincingly, and now I can't hear what they're saying because I'm talking over them about how they're all sweating, they're glowing, as if they are live, breathing, feeling human beings.

From the Wikipedia article "Simulacrum":
Simulacra have long been of interest to philosophers. In his Sophist, Plato speaks of two kinds of image making. The first is a faithful reproduction, attempted to copy precisely the original. The second is intentionally distorted in order to make the copy appear correct to viewers. He gives the example of Greek statuary, which was crafted larger on the top than on the bottom so that viewers on the ground would see it correctly. If they could view it in scale, they would realize it was malformed....
If we could see Jake Tapper eye-to-eye, we would realize... what?!
Postmodernist French social theorist Jean Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. According to Baudrillard, what the simulacrum copies either had no original or no longer has an original (think a copy of a copy without an original). Where Plato saw two types of representation—faithful and intentionally distorted (simulacrum)—Baudrillard sees four: (1) basic reflection of reality; (2) perversion of reality; (3) pretence of reality (where there is no model); and (4) simulacrum, which "bears no relation to any reality whatsoever."...  
A great topic! To be continued! New tag: "simulacra."
ADDED: Another makeup anomaly I've been seeing is what looks like painted-on lower eyelashes on men — something like what Twiggy did in the 1960s:



I don't think this is drawn on with eyeliner, Twiggy-style. I think it is added on within the computer. Look for these eyelashes, please, and let me know when you see them. They're freaky! I suspect the rubberized look I was seeing was also a computer manipulation.

71 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

Spelling minutia: " Pretense is preferred in American English, while pretence is the preferred spelling in most other varieties of English, including British and Australian English. Canadian English generally favors pretence over pretense, but the latter appears about a third of the time."

Crimso said...

They've been making shit up for decades. Nothing new.

Michael K said...

Stopped watching after 2016 election. Maybe they will be sane again in 2025.

henry said...

Simulacra would be an improvement over the creeps on TV these days.

Ann Althouse said...

Crimso, makeup and "making shit up" are 2 different things....

rhhardin said...

Simulacra is bottled baby milk.

Bob Boyd said...

Think twice about that journo-bot: She’s 120 pounds of dead weight. Carrying her around is a living nightmare.

buwaya said...

Maybe they are indeed being replaced by plastic simulacra.
They are cheaper and, perhaps, though it may be hard to credit, more precisely controllable.

The Autons from Doctor Who perhaps.

Nonapod said...

I've always assumed those studios are kept pretty cool due to the high power, hot lights. But if people are noticably sweating?

The HD era has been unkind to many TV personalities. If you look closely you can see people's age much more clearly. I've heard that there's basically HD makeup.

Although I prefer havey makeup to excessive plastic surgery, I agree that they've tended to go a little bit overboard with the caking on makeup.

rhhardin said...

Soft-focus HD.

Charlie said...

So is Trump the racist, white supremacist a simulacrum of the authentic Trump?

J Lee said...

Could be due to the pending 8K HDTVs, going up from the current 4Ks, which in turn were up from the previous 60hz/120hz/240hz HD sets. One of the original concerns with the arrival of HDTV was that lines, skin imperfections and other facial defects that didn't show up very well, if at all, on the old 480i sets would stand out in high-definition, so better work had to be done to cover those flaws up.

This might just be the updated version of that, where the 8K monitors already are in place at the networks, and they're showing off the flaws of the on-air talent and guests. So cover the problems with more and more makeup, until that's more of a distraction than the blemishes and the wrinkles.

hombre said...

You may be the only one here who is noticing because you may be the only one here who is watching those leftmedia pinheads.

Bob Smith said...

It’s been all about image since what? 1967?

hombre said...

Progress will be when Hollywood porn queens of all genders are all digital.

Crimso said...

'makeup and "making shit up" are 2 different things....'

You mean I was just making shit up in a pathetic attempt to be funny? That's so unlike me.

buwaya said...

Auton

My wife has the DVD collection with the original Auton episode.

This explains a lot, come to think about it. The interstellar lizards in human form was a pretty shit model. A gestalt consciousness controlling mindless plastic creatures- well, that sounds more like it.

Fernandistein said...

I enjoy misusing the word "simulacrum", and "simular", to mean something like "similar" because they're fun to say.

Canadian English generally favors pretence

Canadians are pretentious. Who knew?

Char Char Binks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistein said...

You mean I was just making shit up in a pathetic attempt to be funny?

That's my job. And shouldn't it be "making up shit" because split whatever-it-is?

rcocean said...

The Fox babes are pretty, but their war-paint is laid on so thick their lips can barely move.

Why don't TV news people just let it all hang out? We don't watch them 'cause they are pretty. Or most people don't. that was the network's big mistake. They went from talented - but ugly guys - like Conkrite, Smith, Huntley and Brinkley to "Pretty boys" like Brokow, Rather, and Jennings. rather was an airhead and Brokow wasn't much better. The only one with a brain was Peter Jennings, but even he wasn't up to the previous level. IRC, the 60s anchors were all former news guys who could write. Rather and the other 2 were just TV guys.

Carter Wood said...

Philip K. Dick, "The Simulacra," 1964.

https://theworlddickmade.com/the-simulacra/



Richard Fagin said...

Isn't is also interesting that the networks seemed to switch to the new "look" essentially at the same time? Their dishonesty seems just as coordinated with appearances as it does with the stories they broadcast.

rcocean said...

As stated, hi-def TV is to blame. Got to cover up those wrinkles and blemishes. They're under a microscope baby, and it needs a lot of makeup.

rcocean said...

"Canadians are pretentious. Who knew?"

Actually some of them are. Its the English strain. And the French affect (or effect?).
Pierre Trudeau was a perfect example. He considered himself the smartest man in North America, and looked down on the all the crass, dumb "Yanks". I hated his guts. David Frum is also Canadian. he tries to be pretentious, but he's too stupid to pull it off.

Annie C. said...

The Greek statue concept reminds me of something that has been driving me crazy lately. People whose heads are too big for their bodies. It started with Giada de Laurentiis, but I keep seeing more and more like that.

Maybe I'm supposed to look at them from below so they look correct.

Crimso said...

'And shouldn't it be "making up shit" because split whatever-it-is?'

Are you suggesting I don't talk real good?

rhhardin said...

Old photos of buildings are made so that all vertical lines in reality come out vertical on the picture, which seemed right to them. You have to go to some trouble to get that, namely keeping the film plane vertical and sliding the lens upwards (also staying vertical), instead of pointing the camera upwards. The billows camera made that possible.

To the modern eye it looks weird, the buildings are exploding outwards at the top.

Laslo Spatula said...

If they are on CNN, perhaps they are sweating their ratings.

I am Laslo.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

prep for deepfakes?

wild chicken said...

Still looks like soft-focus on Andrea Mitchell.

I demand equal access.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Fox babes are pretty, but their war-paint is laid on so thick their lips can barely move. Why don't TV news people just let it all hang out? We don't watch them 'cause they are pretty...."

I care about how people on TV look, but I think they look gross with the fakery. The computer manipulations (when I notice) are repulsive, but the makeup is revolting. And the awful fake hair. It's a healthy impulse to feel repelled by fakeness. That's the uncanny valley.

Now, what I would like to look at, on HDTV, is really beautiful, healthy, natural skin and hair. It's easy to glam a person up with a lot of makeup, and you can have something of an illusion of beauty, but take the makeup off and the person isn't so special. I would like to see people who really look great naturally, not because of perfect features, but because of health and excellent skin and hair. Within this idea of beauty, you could have a lot of interesting variety. The "Fox babe" look is not just fake, but it makes women look alike. It's boring (and repellent).

Narr said...

Simulacrap. Can't watch even the ones I like, for long.

I've been a low-level public figure in my day, and interviewed maybe eight or nine times by local or out-of-town newscritters. Almost every time, whether on location or in the studio, a makeup person has appeared without warning to put powder on me.

Speaking in public is not that difficult for me, but having close-in cameras and mikes is unnerving (and often hot) and I couldn't do it regularly.

Narr
Post-tensed

Narr said...

George Carlin mused on the awful possibility that, due to modern plastic surgery, the hot babe he was banging might really be a bowwow.

Narr
A man-curdling thought!

Laslo Spatula said...

The 'Uncanny Valley' is also the term for the groin area of post-surgery transgenders.

I am Laslo.

Unknown said...

Daniel F. Galouye is an undeservedly forgotten SF author of the 60s. He knew a bit about the subject.

Rockport Conservative said...

That sweating could be makeup as much as anything you've seen. In May I attended a party with a Valley girl from the 80's. Her makeup was shiny, oily and very unflattering. My granddaughter, who knows her well, explained to me it was the latest fad in California. All that madness eventually makes its way west.

JAORE said...

Shep Smith is my least favorite Fox babe.

Laslo Spatula said...

When the world approximates a sixties underground cartoon it is a simulaCrumb.

I am Laslo.

tcrosse said...

The "Fox babe" look is not just fake, but it makes women look alike. It's boring (and repellent).

Catherine Herridge is the exception

Grand Beagle Fen said...

"Postmodernist French social theorist Jean Baudrillard - "

Postmodernist are a cancer on western civilization and should be eradicated wherever we find them.

Why are you quoting them? Might as well give Heinrich Himmler a platform.

"Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsf├╝hrer of the Schutzstaffel, and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust."




narciso said...

Baudrillard I remember for arguing the gulf war didn't happen, what do you think fen, Sartre stalin's slipper fetcher was in the same vein, derrida, was an apologist for faurisson, camus and aron, were the only useful ones in the mid 20th century, and jean Jacques revel afterward,

Rob said...

"as if they are live, breathing, feeling human beings"

That's precisely what they want you to think. See the final scene of the remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

Nichevo said...

Now, what I would like to look at, on HDTV, is really beautiful, healthy, natural skin and hair. It's easy to glam a person up with a lot of makeup, and you can have something of an illusion of beauty, but take the makeup off and the person isn't so special. I would like to see people who really look great naturally, not because of perfect features, but because of health and excellent skin and hair. Within this idea of beauty, you could have a lot of interesting variety.





As long as they're under 25. 30? 21?

Nonapod said...

I would like to see people who really look great naturally, not because of perfect features, but because of health and excellent skin and hair.

I tend to agree with you. I like watching good looking people. Since I don't actually get my news from TV, I don't put as much of a premium on the information that a TV news reader or commentator puts out in the first place.

When I watch TV news (which is rare), I only watch it as a curiosity, to gage how the stories are being presented. I find it interesting to see how the same event is interpreted in often conflicting ways by different outlets. I'm well aware that a large portion of what is delivered up has the mereist kernel of truth that's been wrapped up in BS. So from my perspective, the people delivering it may as well be naturally telegenic.

bagoh20 said...

Am I the only one who notices that there is a weird thing about faces. The face and the naked body often do not mach up, especially with age. Young people and beautiful people, like models seem to have a face that matches their naked body, but most regular people, especially with age have faces that look ridiculously unmatched with their bodies. The face usually shows the age less, and not just from makeup. If you see an older person naked, the face looks like it was just stuck onto the body as an after-thought, like an attempt to dress the thing up with a potted plant or something. Naked, I suddenly look 20 years older, but that's also when I act 20 years younger, so close your eyes and enjoy the ride.

narciso said...

Megyn before she went insane, was an incisive interviewer, and Gretchen Carlson was tolerable till she went woke and sunk the pageant,

Sydney said...

Twiggy eyelashes on George Clooney photos 2 and 3. Not present on first photo, though.

Yancey Ward said...

"but that's also when I act 20 years younger, so close your eyes and enjoy the ride."

So, bring a bag........oh, now I get it!

Sydney said...

Oh, wait. Yes, they are present on the first photo. Got out my glasses.

bagoh20 said...

Am I the only person who notices that a lot of news stories (approaching a majority) are nothing more than someone said something and someone else is or should be upset about it. They tell you that so and so said this, and guess what someone said in response! Usually it has no real news value at all. It's just people saying shit and doing nothing that affects anyone. The news is now 95% manufactured drama. Even when there is a real story like a mass shooting, all the news is about what different people said about it, usually by people who were not there, and have nothing to offer. Virtually none of it is new or surprising, and little of it means anything. I really don't care what people say about the news, tell me some news. I go blogs for the commentary on the news.

Carter Wood said...

Inspiration for the eyelashes? Clearly Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/clockwork_orange/pictures/#&gid=1&pid=n-240868

traditionalguy said...

Every human that is conceived is created as an individual with different features, including those many millions killed by Planned Parenthood for body Parts. Making people look parts in a play is Theater. And the dying fake news theater needs to look like an entirely new acting troupe.

walter said...

I highly doubt lower eyelashes being magically created by a computer..at least not in real time.

walter said...

bagoh20 ,
I've noticed the opposite in those who maintain fitness as they age.
Especially so in folks who have had a lot of sun exposure.

buwaya said...

The great advantage of monsters of this class is you need a minimum of costuming and special effects.
Makeup will do, if that. Which is why Doctor Who loved the Autons, as their production budget seems to have been a couple of quid at best.
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, either version, also are excellent examples of a low budget high concept SF flick.

walter said...

Maybe tools like the following will eventually work their way into live broadcast:
http://kerrygarrison.com/davinci-resolve-face-refinement/

I'm Full of Soup said...

"Maybe it's the summer heat and air conditioning doesn't work right anymore" Have you taken up using drugs Althouse?

narciso said...

yes the autons, that were brought back in 2006, when they brought back the series, a little too woke, if that term applied back then,

Amexpat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grand Beagle Fen said...

ADDED: Another makeup anomaly I've been seeing is what looks like painted-on lower eyelashes on men

Pay closer attention to the men in today's advertising. I see a lot of girly metrosexual types sporting beards to make them appear more masculine.

See, even Madison Ave misses The Duke.

Grand Beagle Fen said...

Noonan: A certain style of manliness is once again being honored and celebrated in our country since Sept. 11. You might say it suddenly emerged from the rubble of the past quarter century, and emerged when a certain kind of man came forth to get our great country out of the fix it was in.

I am speaking of masculine men, men who push things and pull things and haul things and build things, men who charge up the stairs in a hundred pounds of gear and tell everyone else where to go to be safe. Men who are welders, who do construction, men who are cops and firemen. They are all of them, one way or another, the men who put the fire out, the men who are digging the rubble out, and the men who will build whatever takes its place.

And their style is back in style. We are experiencing a new respect for their old-fashioned masculinity, a new respect for physical courage, for strength and for the willingness to use both for the good of others.


Ah, careful Peggy. That has all been rendered "toxic" now.

Delete your archives before the mob declares you a subhuman unperson deserving of whatever horrors they can imagine.

bagoh20 said...

"I've noticed the opposite in those who maintain fitness as they age.
Especially so in folks who have had a lot of sun exposure."
.

I agree. You see the mismatch in that direction too. In both cases, it's startling as it changes right at the neckline, like it's two different people.

Grand Beagle Fen said...

"Am I the only one who notices that there is a weird thing about faces. The face and the naked body often do not mach up"

I bet its due to facial moisturizers. Every woman Ive known uses them daily.

Narr said...

I looked older than I was when young, but now look younger than I am. I thank clean living, a good attitude, and a filthy mind.

My wife and I both (she especially) work harder at looking good and feeling good than we ever did before; it's worth it.

Narr
Baudrillard =/= SS

Ann Althouse said...

“Twiggy eyelashes on George Clooney photos 2 and 3. Not present on first photo, though.”

Thanks! That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you see the phenomenon because you watch the shows.

Since you watch the shows we don’t have to.

Blessings on you.

Ann Althouse said...

"@Althouse, you see the phenomenon because you watch the shows."

But I don't watch them. When's the last time you saw me tell you about what was said on a Sunday show? I really only sometimes see something Meade is watching, and he rarely watches. I get my news from the NYT website, the WaPo website, and a few other standard MSM things.

One reason I don't watch is that I am distracted into critique of the visuals, as this post shows.

J said...

Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" was Kubrick's idea of toxic masculinity before the concept was fully fleshed out.And he made him to have feminine features.D o images tell a tale that is not so.Yes images are models of reality.The closer to the real world the more functional.What does this say about Norah O,Savannah G,and Rachel M?Some are worse.April Ryan anyone?AOC is easily caricatured.Frederick Wilson does herself.Pelosi may have used way too much Botox.Seems to have going on for some time.Oh and the exact same disconnect between fantasy and reality was pointed out in a review of Norma Jean Baker I heard this week.

Jamie said...

They call that sweaty effect "dewy." You have a choice, in regular makeup, of "dewy" or "matte."

Ben David said...

Actually makeup for HD television is LIGHTER than traditional makeup because the camera has the resolution to reveal heavy pancake makeup.

Nowadays makeup for HD filming is lightweight, polymer based (rather than oil-based) and applied with an *airbrush* for thinnest coverage. Because it is not oil based, there is no need for heavy powdering to "set" the makeup - as for theatrical greasepaint or heavy foundation. The powder used is also microfine and dusted on just as needed to cut the shine.

My guess is that the artificial look is due to increasing adoption of real-time "wrinkle removal" software, which generally softens the image. This can yield a somewhat plastic effect, and may eliminate the small movements that animate the face.

The other option is that image compression is used to stream/broadcast in the HD format, which demands increased bandwidth for its hi-res images. Most compression software identifies static areas of the frame that need not be refreshed. This may paradoxically lose small detail or flatten areas without much movement.