In any industry, there is a point where someone, somewhere, "jumps the shark." Jumping the shark is a term to describe when your favorite television program has reached its peak, and it is that instant when you know from now on, it's all downhill. I felt that way when reading a recent news story from the UK Times Online, in which the writer shows how Photoshopping one's appearance may be preferable to plastic surgery. Among those interviewed for this report, I'm amazed no one stopped along the way and pointed out how idiotic it all sounds. Judge for yourself. Airbrushing: a cheaper choice than cosmetic surgery:

Britain has become so vain that one high street photographic chain says it has seen a 550% increase in the past year in people requesting remedial work on their holiday [photos] to make them look more attractive.

“It’s plastic surgery without the knife,” said Snappy Snaps, which has 140 shops nationwide. “We can even put people on a beach in the Seychelles when they have had to stay at home instead.”

The airbrush was once the preserve of film stars. Kate Winslet complained when she was airbrushed for a magazine cover to make her legs look longer and her figure slimmer, but Elizabeth Hurley is so used to having her bikini shots retouched that she admits every time she downloads her holiday snaps she goes over them with an airbrush.

Advances in technology mean it is now available to everyone. Crooked teeth can be straightened, brightened and whitened to create a pixelperfect smile. Dark shadows can be removed, wrinkles and frown lines eased and bodies can undergo a magical digital diet in which pounds disappear in seconds.

Sociologists believe the advent of networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace has raised people’s expectations of how they ought to appear in their holiday photos.