Crime & Punishment a la Hollywood
These past few weeks I’ve been struck by the number of news item regarding a certain celebrity going to jail, sitting in jail, and then leaving jail. You guessed it: a once-promising young actress by the name of Lindsay Lohan.
Even one of Canada’s venerable national newspapers had a near full-page interview on page three of the court artist who sketched Lindsay Lohan during her sentencing. Said court artist happened to be the sister of a high-placed Hollywood executive. She indicated she socialized with many celebrities during evening events and then sketched them during their court appearances, a “court artist to the stars”.
Questions were asked about Ms. Lohan’s demeanour, the reported exclamations of her kin, and the fact that the judge would not allow a photo to be taken of handcuffs being placed on her wrist.
I must admit to being unimpressed that Ms. Lohan’s sentencing garnered such illustrious newspaper coverage. Not to mention tweets. Why is it suchbig news when celebrities go to court? Is it because it is more frequent? Or is it because it is summer, and there wasn’t much to report?
Then there’s Charlie Sheen – he’s going to rehab.
Mel Gibson – he’s had some noteworthy interactions with the law.
Roman Polanski – the long arm of the law is embracing him.
Paris Hilton – did I have to bring that up?
Now it gets tweeted in real-time across my twitter feed, a Greek chorus of how the mighty have fallen in less than 140 characters.
But Lindsay Lohan’s fall from grace seems to have garnered more than her fair share of attention. I watched Freaky Friday a few months ago, and I was struck by how well she – a young teenager at the time – played a forty-something woman. Is it because she is truly talented and people lament the loss of her promise? Is it because of her addictions? Her relationships? Her dysfunctional family? The fact that she literally is losing control of her life – as evidenced by her reckless behaviour driving under the influence. And yet, is this worthy of so much media attention? We’ve seen this a million times with young celebrities -- and yet our twitter feed still scrolls their offences across our computer screen in breathless bit.ly links. Perhaps it is because you can't get more real than being hauled into court.
What do you think?
Pamela Callow is the author of the Kate Lange thriller series. DAMAGED, the first book of the series, is a Levy "Need to Read" Pick for June.