02/05/2009 09:14 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Face Facts: Botox, Remakes, Faye Dunaway and the Boss

Every once in a while, you realize you're witnessing one of those crises in American colloquy that threaten the very fabric of society.

The Hilary Duff-Faye Dunaway tiff is one such event.

Still, let's see if we can turn it into a teachable moment.

The Duff/Dunaway dust-up erupted over the announcement of a Bonnie and Clyde remake, to star the scarily talented Duff in a role that earned the Oscar-winning Dunaway her first Academy Award nomination 40-some years ago. Informed of the project, Dunaway cracked, "Couldn't they at least cast a real actress?" Touche.

On the other hand, this came from an actress whose, shall we say, quirks have steered her career straight to supporting roles in cable movies with titles like Cougar Club.

Duff, apparently this generation's answer to Dorothy Parker, responded, "I might be mad if I looked like that, too." Meow, kitten.

The unkind thing, of course, is that Duff speaks a certain truth. Dunaway is yet another star who has let the fear of natural aging turn her to the sci-fi world of cosmetic surgery. This has given her face a certain computer-generated look - not quite real, not quite human. Put it this way: Dunaway makes Joan Rivers look normal. Or Cher.

The fear of aging is obviously a contagious condition in Hollywood, exacerbated by Hollywood's fear of age, period. The youth culture has imparted a Soylent Green quality to the way it treats actors who reach the age of 50. Except instead of turning them into food, we feed them to plastic surgeons, who transform them into syntho-youths, recognizable by the gray roots beneath preternaturally dark hair, and the unnaturally tight facial skin, just north of turkey-wattle necks.

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