Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

When news that Lindsay Lohan was being sent up the river hit the front page of every reputable and disreputable news source, I had one thought: why have I never been arrested?

Celebrities make it seem really, really easy. To wit:
  1. Martha Stewart spent time in the pokey for lying to SEC investigators.
  2. Paris Hilton violated parole and was sent to the clink for several weeks.
  3. Paris' BFF, Nicole Richie, spent 82 minutes of a 4-day sentence in the slammer for driving under the influence.
  4. Robert Downey, Jr. rode the prison carousel several times for possession of drugs in the late 90s.
Everybody's doing it!

You hear about celebrities being pinched on gun charges, accused of not paying taxes, committing sexual assaults, punching photographers, stiffing contractors and other unsavory acts.

Now, if I were a character on "CSI," the investigators would punch my name into the system and find no record whatsoever. And unless they've been hiding some pretty big skeletons, I can say the same about all of my family and friends.

For instance, this picture of me is hardly going to show up in the New York Times:

So am I boring?

Nope. I'm just not rich or famous enough.

Yes, regular people commit crimes too -- otherwise we wouldn't have what some people call a "prison epidemic." And my experience is likely colored by a solidly middle-class upbringing that protected me from some harsh realities. But the people being arrested in Hollywood aren't from a lower socioeconomic class. They aren't living in dangerous neighborhoods, dealing with violence on a daily basis. They aren't undereducated, with uncertain futures.

Just the opposite. Celebrities can have anything they want, any time they want, and in any quantity they want. There is no such thing as "no" in their universe.

A study released in 2006 demonstrated that celebrities have a higher rate of narcissistic personality traits than the general population. Put a narcissist in an environment with access to excess, and the recipe is deadly. And for someone with an addictive personality to be surrounded by assistants who double as friends, friends who double as an entourage, and parents who manage you instead of parent you, that leaves you without a safety net or a support system.

I actually feel for Lindsay Lohan. From all appearances, she has a father that can't shut up about her to the press and a mother who partied right alongside her. She grew up too quickly. She is a 24 year-old that could easily pass for late 30s, thanks to alleged drug and alcohol abuse.

As my mother always says, "I
t’s a shame that Drew Barrymore and Robert Downey, Jr. can’t take her under their wings."

I guess that's one solution.

The other is what Judge Revel is doing: sending her to prison and then an in-patient rehabilitation facility, following the violation of her probation. It was a good decision. People often claim that the legal system is harder on celebrities, but in this case Lindsay had three years to comply with the terms of her deal. Since she couldn't do that, prison time and rehab is only right.

This isn't a case of schadenfreude. I truly hope that she gets clean. She once had a promising career, and at 24, has decades of time left to work.

Hollywood (whose products I so thoroughly enjoy) along with the nouveau riche/old money/filthy rich upper class, foster a toxic environment.

Lindsay is going to have to learn how to survive it.


  1. Here! Here!!! Well said and soooooooooo true. It's not like this is a major news event, but it's hard not to feel sorry for someone who hasn't had any guidance throughout her life (her mother & father were NOT parents). Let's hope this current intervention pays off for her.

  2. I'd agree with the prison sentence if it was an actual prison and she was to spend her "time" in population, not the protective custody deal she'll no doubt get (i.e., Paris Hilton, Hulk Hogan's dopey kid, etc.)

    A tragedy equal to the injustice of the lawyer she can afford vs. the lawyers the rest of us either have assigned or go into hock for.

    Was that a picture of you on The Rock? I have a similar one ... and then a few others just like it minus the smile.