Friday, December 8, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Unspools

A recently revealed email written by Lindsay Lohan to the world at large reveals our waning diva as a whining, rambling, barely literate brat, invoking the name of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton as among her heavy friends who she'll sic on the media unless matters improve in the testy matter of how she's covered by the press. Of course you'd think that Lohan would have enough self-awareness to realize that her doings are conspicuous and odd, but self-awareness, it seems, is reserved for sentient life.

What Lindsay Lohan's goofball email shows, yet again, is that we have a dumber generation of celebrity for the first half of the 21st century. I thought Jackson Brown and Jane Fonda were insufferable when they trotted their famous selves in the service of anti nuke and antiwar causes, but the on going meltdowns of Lohan,, Spears, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards among many in the unblinking public eye at least made one realize that Brown, Fonda enlisted themselves in crusades that at least sought justice; whether one agreed or disagreed with their positions was a different matter, because when one overcame their automatic resentment of their celebrity, the merits of their positions were what had to be debated, not their fame. With Lohan, one greets her fame and her actions with bemusement and comes away stupefied by the attention she warrants. She is, shall we say, a pen without ink.What I find despairing is that we seem to
be developing a species of D-List celebrities who aren't merely famous for being famous, but rather are famous for being consistent screw ups, malcontents, kooks , assholes and creeps. We seem to be producing them faster and more bountifully than we ever have. Or it could be that with the advance of media-focused technology and twenty four hour news and gossip venues, those minor celebs who normally would have been forgotten while they got other jobs and otherwise remain obscure now have a second act in the limelight. This says little for the quality of mass audience that seems happy to consume the skankiest details.

Lohan, though, will suffer the ironic fate of being merely famous as a result of her antics, fuck ups and spotlight-seeking partying. As with Spears, she can no longer make the specious claim that she's an artist, an actress, someone who makes a living creating entertainments for an audience willing to pay for the privilege. She is a Professional Celebrity, a loathsome distinction. Might we be seeing the emergence of a female Danny Bonaducci? I hope not, 'though there's a reality TV show producer chomping at the bit at the prospect of having Lindsay Lohan drag her increasingly trivial self through a succession of whiny episodes. A New Year's Wish for Lindsay: sober up, get a real job, and learn to use spell check.

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