Brad Dourif’s Hair

I recently watched a video on youtube in which actor Brad Dourif talks about his hair transplant.

There are several uncomplimentary, undignified cuts to a closeup of his hairline during the interview.  The piece was obviously concocted as an advertisement for the doctor or clinic which performed the procedure.

I have mixed feelings about cosmetic surgery. On the one hand, I think it is pure vanity. Ideally, it would be better for us to accept the indignities and problems of old age, as these make us more human and, to use a cliché, “build character.”  On the other hand, even at age 44, I can see how frail our egos are and how hard it can be to deal with the realities of aging.

As I watched the video, I felt bad.  I like Brad Dourif.  I admire him.  He is a talented actor and an intelligent man.  While his performances can be over the top,  they can also be sublime.  It is too bad that he has been typecast.

I like him.  And it made me a little sad and disappointed to see his reaction to his implant. I would like to think he was above such things, but he is not.

The video made me ask myself, “Well, who is?”

You can see, if you watch it, that he is happy and proud of his results.  He was ashamed of his receding hairline, and now he is not, because it is gone.  He repeated lines which I suspect were fed to him by the clinic.  He claims that he thinks he is getting more roles and that appearance is important for an actor.  I am sure those considerations are true, but those reasons, I think, serve to hide the real reason he had the procedure: ego and vanity.

I think I am too idealistic, and in being too idealistic I am judgmental.  They are both bad things.

So, we are human.  Because we are human we are imperfect.  We are vain.  We have fragile egos.  We care more about superficial things in daily life than the deeper values which should really matter.  We take action to improve our appearances, while we do little to fundamentally improve ourselves and our world.  Trivialities preoccupy us.

So, that is the way it is.  Perhaps it is a mistake to think by having one we deny ourselves the other.  Perhaps it is possible to be flawed and noble at the same time? Perhaps a preoccupation with our petty human flaws (ego, vanity, jealousy, gossip, etc.) is just as bad as (or maybe worse than) a preoccupation with our appearance?

I guess I never considered it that way, but it’s true.  I think being too idealistic is a way of being petty.