A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Sonnets on Demi and Ashton

Let's see what light Shakespeare's sonnets can shed on the very public relationship of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

As many of us are unwillingly aware, Demi Moore is a fading Hollywood actress of enduring energy and ambition. Her husband is a young man named Ashton Kutcher. Mr. Kutcher has his own hit television show, Punk'd, based on the playing of practical jokes upon people of minor celebrity, accompanied by his own marginal film career (his breakout role was as Jesse Montgomery III in the movie Dude, Where's My Car?). Demi and Ashton met in April, 2003:

"…Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green."

The couple teeters on the edge of the spotlight of respected celebrity (in whose charmed circle Ms. Moore once stood beside her fame-burnished ex-husband Bruce Willis), while enjoying a parallel spotlight of tabloid celebrity that in many ways burns brighter. Mr. Kutcher was voted #1 on Teen People's list of the most powerful young people in Hollywood. His wife, though, would not have been an eligible candidate. She is fifteen years his senior, sixteen for the months between her birthday in November and his in February:

"When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silvered o'er with white…"

Perhaps that is unfair. The love Mr. and Mrs. Kutcher feel for each other is something we on the outside must not attempt to judge, even as the couple invite us to speculate upon it. It is thus not for us to know whether, by capturing Mr. Kutcher's youthful passion, Ms. Moore will be able to extend his affections into her own old age. And while appearance often plays a role in the birth of romance, it is wise to recall that the mating of souls is the true business of love:

"To me, fair friend, thou never can be old,
For, as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still…."

The Kutchers' marriage thus remains a private matter between the two lovers. True, Mr. and Mrs. Kutcher sold their wedding photos to OK magazine, and there was a dispute over whether they reneged on a promise to forward the fee to charity ("Kutcher and Demi Moore have lashed out at reports they failed to fulfill a donation promise to a charity, insisting where they choose to give their wedding photo fee is no one's business") (Dwellers means people who suck up to; Pitiful...spent means people who thrive on a pitiful ambition, and spend or exhaust everything in longing for whatever they're longing for):

"Have I not seen dwellers on form and favor
Lose all, and more, by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savor,
Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?"

But again, why judge?

In those decades when she was cast in the lead in such feature films as Ghost, Disclosure and G.I. Jane (all prelude to her most recent performance in Fright Pack: Man's Worst Friends) Mrs. Kutcher, or Ms. Moore, was famous for her assertiveness in salary negotiations, at one point nicknamed "Gimme Moore." Well, it can be no easy thing to be so lavishly praised and applauded in one decade, only to find one's audience distracted by other, fresher faces in the next. Meanwhile it is doubtful that anyone would inquire deeply into the age of Bruce Willis' current girlfriend or wife. So should we be all the more consoled to learn that she has found a true and enduring love at this vulnerable moment (stars means fortune; Whilst I...honor most means while I, barred by fortune from such public triumph, take unnoticed joy in what I honor the most...):

"Let those who are in favor with their stars
Of public honor and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlooked for joy in that I honor most."

"That I honor most," of course, being her Mr. Kutcher. Well, I come neither to praise Ms. Moore nor to bury her, but just to have a little fun on a Thursday evening. And on reflection, perhaps tonight I had better direct some of Shakespeare's advice less on the Kutchers and more toward myself:

"They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces…."

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