(The following is another “note” from my personal Facebook page, one I wrote in June of 2015 after randomly coming across this article online. Suffice it to say I had been reading a good bit of David Foster Wallace at the time. — MNW)
As the woman featured in the article says, it is not unusual for a person’s appearance to change significantly between the ages of 16 and 27.
But because she was a well-known character (apparently) in a well-known movie (or series of movies; I have never seen any of the movies from the series in question, so I don’t know if she was in one or more than one of said movies), her physical appearance, at least as it appears to be to all of the fans of this movie (or series of movies) has (had?) attained a sort of psychocontextual stasis in the minds and/or collective unconscious of the fans of the movie and/or series of movies in which this woman played what I assume to be a significant role. As I mentioned I have never seen any of the movies in this series, other than a few minutes here or there when this or that (and it seems like maybe more than one at a time) cable network(s) was/were showing movies from the series in question. And I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what was going on in these few minutes I saw, but to be fair I kinda got the impression that if I had read the books this series was based on, these nonsensical few minutes I had seen might have made sense, if only in an overly contrived and (at least to me, remember what opinions are like) uninteresting sort of way.
This woman — who like all of us is a biological entity which ages and changes over time — was associated with a character from a movie (etc.) that has become ingrained into the minds and/or collective unconscious of a significant percentage of the general population. This significant percentage of the general population, however, has a static (in that their only identification with this woman is limited to however much screen time she was given in the series in question, etc.) mental image of this woman, one which is not realistic, considering that the image or visage or whatever of this woman changes not only over the period between ages 16 and 27, but also on a daily basis, often fluctuating between opposites with regard to this or that physical trait.
This fluctuation is not gender-specific or even species-specific. Men also change in appearance over intervals of time, as do all other animals, as do all other plants, as do all other living things.
So it may or may not be expected, within the conscious and/or subconscious mind of a moderately evolved and therefore self-aware organism, that a psychocontextual (I just made that word up, as far as I know) sort of “stasis” might be something to be desired.
Like how a photograph — even a duckface selfie — which captures and holds the image of a self-aware organism in a digitally encoded image file, one that can be retrieved later and looked upon as a yardstick of progress, or proof of success, or growth (in either the “physical changes that occur between the ages of 16 and 27” or “I was not as good of a person then that I am now” or vice-versa or in any other sense) is really just a representation of one temporally frozen (“static”) moment, but somehow it acquires a psychocontextual life of its own, in the form of memories associated with it.
“I was never happier than I was in this picture.”
“This picture was taken during a very dark period in my life.”
“I can’t believe I paid money for that shirt.”
Et cetera ad infinitum.
We want to hold on to things we love.
Such as the character this woman portrayed.
Why is “The Internet Going Crazy” over what this woman looks like now?
Because to the internet, this woman is not a biological organism subject to the everyday changes biological organisms undergo, to the internet, this woman is a series of images, quotes, and interviews and whatnot.
Seeing her appearance change, such as it did — even though this change is not in any way unusual for any biological organism to undergo over the course of eleven years — creates cognitive dissonance in the minds of the people who recognize (or apparently don’t recognize) this woman from her appearances in the series of movies mentioned earlier.
What do you think? Is psychocontextual stasis something to be desired, or something to be avoided?
A: that is something to be desired
B: that is something to be avoided
C: it may be necessary to strike a balance between “psychocontextual stasis” and its opposite, whatever you want to call it
D: I don’t understand the question
E: get out of here with that, who the hell cares?