She wasn’t ugly…just evil…
I’m feeling a little frisky this morning, (prolly the post-race/birthday hangover), so maybe I’ll venture into dangerous territory and chime in on the Natalie issue…..
I find it extremely hard to judge someone who never got a chance (or else never wanted the opportunity) to tell their side of the story. Granted, her behavior with regard to BK was puzzling, I’m sure that this is a case of the truth lying somewhere between “his side” (vague) and “her side” (non-existent) of the story. Without the benefit of hearing Natalie’s side of things, we can’t even begin to extrapolate the truth.
The “fangirl” in me always tends to jump to Buster’s immediate defense, but I have to temper my knee-jerk emotions with reason. I can’t bring myself to vilify Natalie Talmadge Keaton because all I can do is guess at what really happened in a strange relationship between two people that happened over 90 years ago.
In short, not enough facts to form an educated opinion, and I’m not inclined to err on the side of hatred.
OH GOD FOR REAL i get so tired of all this ridiculous natalie loathing from buster stans and biographers. i’m done as hell in general with the ~poor put upon husband~ narratives that biographies of old hollywood men are so fucking rife with. it is so lazy and gross and i am so over being asked to believe that nearly every old hollywood dude’s marriage that ended in a divorce was unhappy due to the woman being SOOOO TERRIBLE. OH THE DUDE WAS UNHAPPY AND COMPLAINED ABOUT HER SO CLEARLY SHE SUCKED. if he cheated or behaved shittily? well jeez, she drove him to it! fuck’s sake get out with that shit. the sheer personal vitriol i’ve seen consistently directed at the ex-wives of silent hollywood dudes is disgusting.
natalie talmadge was brought up by a SUPER intense stage mother who basically raised her to believe that the only thing that mattered was getting the fuck out of poverty and as far away from it and as famous as possible. while both of her sisters became two of the HUGEST film stars in america, she was written off as the ugly and untalented duckling (and not implicitly either). she could not get a break in the movies and ended up with basically a pity job doing secretary work at smaller studios. she and buster were basically set up for marriage by her mother who did not think natalie was good for much else than marriage to someone as beneficial as possible, and neither of them seems to have been more than mildly enthusiastic about it.
then a lot of shit happened that involved both of them being less than ideal spouses; natalie behaving in a way that just strikes me as super anxious, trying to acquire the status for herself that she had been drilled for since childhood by trying her hardest to be part of hollywood’s social elite, being super fashionable and lavish, keeping up appearances at all costs. being apparently told by her sisters/mother that she should stop having sex and babies (idek wtf this story is, it has always confused me and every account of it i have read has been way too heavy on the ~poor buster ganged up on by a bunch of stonewalling harpies~, i’d like to know more about why/how even natalie’s freaking sex life was apparently her family’s decision instead of her own). then there was buster spending as recklessly as she was (and if i hear one more outraged squeak about her SPENDING HIS MONEY!!! i will scream, SHE WAS A HOUSEWIFE WHO ELSE’S MONEY DID SHE HAVE), buster being either gone or completely preoccupied with his work basically always, buster drinking a lot and then cheating on natalie all over the place, increasingly indiscreetly.
AND THEN they divorced and natalie was so fucked up by the entire marriage that she wouldn’t even allow her sons to mention buster’s name to her again as long as she LIVED. she basically spent the rest of her life being a depressed alcoholic. nobody harbours resentment that deep and is that thoroughly fucked up for the rest of their lives just for laughs, she was clearly as hurt by their marriage as buster was, not to mention the issues she got from being the insignificant factor in the talmadge clan.
but god forbid anyone do anything less than paint her as a one-dimensional antagonist to buster’s tragic innocence or wtf ever. it’s all pretty familiar sounding shit: she was a golddigger, a prude, a bitch, a cruel and petty nag, at best just a greedy bitch with a stick up her ass. god FORBID you admit that keaton wasn’t a very good spouse to her either and that they were in the end mostly just a really horrible fit as a couple - no, it’s all natalie’s fault. get out with that shit.
PREACH IT TSAR