The following review of Cher's televised tour is a good overview of some of the cosmetic surgery being performed these days. Orwell mentions "synthetic faces" in 1984 and it seems we're going there step by step.

If all 'divas' were like this, I'd call off my jihad
Cher gets full marks for being smart, funny AND entertaining
Scott Feschuk, National Post, April 10, 2003

When it's Cher's Farewell Tour, you just have to watch. Besides, there's always the chance someone in the audience will be grievously wounded by incoming sequins. Lee-Anne Goodman is Ontario bureau chief for The Canadian Press. On Tuesday night, we watched Cher: The Farewell Tour on NBC. Lee-Anne was in Toronto; I was in Ottawa.

LG: Ah, Cher. I remember her back before the nose job, before the teeth were capped, back when her face was her own and she had better abs than Shania Twain. Back in the days when she'd hoist little Chastity on her hip to say goodnight at the end of The Sonny and Cher Show and her loathing of Sonny was palpable. In fact, people even used to tell me as a little girl that I resembled sweet Chastity ... dear God I hope I don't resemble her now. But I digress. While we could be watching the brilliant Six Feet Under right now, how could we help ourselves? This farewell show will clearly be a feast for the senses!

SF: You have to give the woman credit. Or possibly a booklet of gift certificates for more Botox treatments. Either way, not many fiftysomething female performers would open a show by covering a U2 song and arriving on stage dressed in the manner of an Icelandic pimp. Oh, look, she's already showing us her boobs -- and we're only four minutes in! Where can she possibly go from here?

LG: Is that really Cher? Or Liberace?

SF: It's Cher all right. I can tell by the way her cheek bones look uncannily as though they were meticulously crafted by the finest Inuit artisans. Plus, Liberace never used backup dancers who resemble underfed, scantily clad Sasquatches.

LG: Right you are. Tell me, though, is it just me, or do you suspect you and I might be the only heterosexuals watching this show right now? By the way, that's some subtle maquillage on that finely sculpted mug. I'm acquainted with a cement troweller who has a lighter touch.

SF: That's part of the appeal, though, isn't it? Her outrageousness. Her absurd claims that she's never had any work done. If she hasn't had any work done then I ... Sweet bearded Jesus she's just come out atop a gigantic, animatronic elephant!

LG: Nice to see she's not lip-synching, unlike a whole slew of young diva wannabes who couldn't manage at 25 what she's pulling off at 50+. Oh my God ... she's resurrected the Bob Mackie Oscar gown! Did I just spy a sea of drag queens in the audience burst into tears at the sight of it?

SF: I couldn't tell for sure: I was busy using my emergency eye-wash station to scrub the scorch marks off my retinas. Aside from that potentially debilitating injury, I have to say this is an impressive performance: none of the relentless pretension of Celine, none of the abject sluttery of Britney. Just ridiculous costumes and familiar songs. If all "divas" were like this, I would consider calling off my jihad.

LG: Gosh, I am tearing up watching this old footage. I'd kill for a rousing rendition of Half Breed right now ... and here it is!! I can barely see through my tears as I type this. I love when she remembers her Cherokee roots like she did a few numbers ago in the aforementioned Mackie gown. Speaking of Celine, she must be consumed with jealousy right now and dreaming up ways to celebrate her own roots in concert. I bet she's haranguing René to think up an equally ostentatious Quebecois number for her big Vegas stage show, featuring poutine, Pepsi, sap buckets and sequins.

SF: As I watch the split screen with present-day Cher juxtaposed with 1960s' Cher, I find myself pondering the question of what Cher looks like when she goes home, takes off the wig(s) and enlists a brigade of stout men to sandblast her makeup off? I can't declare with any certainty what the answer is. But put it this way: I've never see Cher and Don Knotts in the same room.

LG: You know, there's a war on right now ... why do I suddenly feel -- I don't know, shallow? -- watching Cher's dancers gyrate in a seemingly horny frenzy as Cher herself descends a staircase in something actually quite demure compared to her other get-ups ... you can only see her thong, perhaps some nipple. What? A commercial now? They must be kidding me!

SF: Good news: During the break, I flipped over to CNN and Aaron Brown was hauling out ye olde puzzle metaphor again: Big pieces, small pieces, blah blah blah. We're not missing anything. Besides, there's always the chance that someone in Cher's audience will be grievously wounded by incoming sequins.

LG: One thing we haven't touched on yet ... the woman has a truly dreadful voice. Always has. I've known Shetland ponies with better pipes.

SF: I actually don't mind her voice that much, but then again I've always been a sucker for a metal ballad sung by a Shetland pony. (Side note: This put a swift end to no small number of make-out sessions in high school.) What I like most about her, though, is that she has a sense of humour, not only about herself but a sense of humour in general. That's become as rare among celebrities as a healthy amount of body fat.

LG: You are so right. Loved the joke she just made about white hair, and how she's got it under all those wigs. However, the good genes joke was a bit hard to take. She credits good genes for still looking so good? Good scalpel, no? Good fat-sucker, no? Good chemical peeler, teeth fixer-upper, rib remover, on-call bikini-waxer, cheek implanter, boob-lifter, personal trainer, hot young lovers ... I could go on, but I'm too consumed with jealousy.

SF: Me too. But only because my thighs look fat when I make like Cher and wear leather boots that go all the way up to my crotch. Plus, the thong ouches.

LG: Goodness, we really got the money shots in the end, didn't we? The pyrotechnics, the screaming, weepy fans, that one crotch-and-buttock-revealing get-up that will surely result in some kind of unmentionable infection. I'm sorry, but I don't want to see any 50+ human being, man or woman, in a thong, with crotches showing, no matter how much work they've had done. However, I give her full marks. She's smart, funny, self-deprecating and a great entertainer. Just hope she keeps that petunia covered up now that she's retiring. At the very least, she can lay off her bikini-waxer.

SF: Damn. There goes my walking-around money. ~ by Scott Feschuk