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Willie Nelson: Model Celebrity

Bob Jagendorf, flickr Creative Commons

Of all the reasons there are to admire Willie Nelson, and there are a slew of them, at the top of my list is his appearance. Willie is wrinkled, you might even say creviced. Bags beneath his eyes as big as baggies of pot. Eyelids that droop lower than a rapper’s sagging pants. A generous nose, as big as Texas. His trademark long pigtails - as grey-white as a dusty, Panhandle, August afternoon.

Especially in Hollywood, but also in the music world and, for that matter, the political world, many public figures just can’t let themselves age gracefully. The economics of their chosen professions, have taught them that we, the adoring public, only reward the beauty of youth. So they cycle through decades of face-lifts, tummy tucks, implants, and Botox injections.

We love them for it and reward them handsomely. Until we start to notice that the procedures and the makeup aren’t working so well. Then we admonish them for looking weird, snicker and roll our eyes at the latest “gotcha” photos in circulation.

They are trapped in the pathos of celebrity hood. Sad figures who are in a constant battle with nature, with time and with gravity. They cannot go with the flow because the flow is toward celebrity falls. Maybe on this Mothers Day we should take a moment to admire the stately, un-Hollywoody beauty of our mothers’ faces. They were gradually etched with the lines of concern, fatigue and stress, from raising loved ones like you and me. Celebrities (except Willie Nelson) pay millions to have such lines deleted. The very lines that make mothers more beautiful.

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.