Now That Botox Is The New Normal, Normal Aging Looks Weird

A tale of two celebrity Instagrams

Nina Renata Aron

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I don’t often find myself on celebrity Instagram. It’s a bad neighborhood I try to stay away from — I don’t feel safe there. But this weekend I was visiting my 98-year-old grandmother and found myself anxiously scrolling a lot. Maybe it was the stark confrontation with mortality, something I’m not quite used to in this form. I would turn from a manual task, like fastening my grandma’s bra, helping her go through her iPhone contacts to delete the people who’ve died, or washing the breakfast dishes, and find myself in a kind of compensatory reverie, lost on social media for fifteen minutes, as though trying to even some imaginary scales, reset myself.

Doing this, I was reminded of a review of Richard Seymour’s The Twittering Machine that I read in Bookforum last year. The book and the piece, by Max Read, are about what’s driving our social media addiction from a psychoanalytic point of view. “What the Twittering machine offers is not death, precisely, but oblivion” Read writes, “an escape from consciousness into numb atemporality, a trance-like ‘dead zone’ of indistinguishably urgent stimulus.” We engage with it in order to manage the disappointments of the present moment, of the world we actually live in.

Anyway, I was in the dead zone a lot this weekend. I guess I needed to stave off excess awareness of death itself. I landed in two notable places in particular, two different planets, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them: Tori Spelling’s Instagram page and Justine Bateman’s Instagram page.

Both of these women have a special place in my heart for their roles in Beverly Hills 90210 and Satisfaction, respectively. (Most people know Bateman as the wildchild Mallory from the 80s sitcom Family Ties, but the 1988 cult film Satisfaction, about a girl band prepping for a summer competition, made an indelible mark on me.)

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Nina Renata Aron

Author of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love. Work in NYT, New Republic, the Guardian, Jezebel, and more.