If a Hollywood It-Girl really wants to leave her mark this summer, she’ll have to work a lot harder than usual. The covers of In Touch and US Weekly operate on a rotating schedule of predictable pitfalls that include meltdowns, baby bumps, eating disorders, and allegedly shocking affairs. Yawn. No surprise, then, that the elite ladies of LaLa Land have grown bored of their own bad behavior. Of late, they’ve moved on to misadventures that can’t be covered up with clever publicity maneuvers — especially if their ill-advised antics end them up in prison. Because even an all-powerful, scandal-spinning flack like Leslie Sloane Zelnick can’t remove your unflattering mug shot from The Smoking Gun’s Web site.
Of course, the It-Girl Incarceration Rulebook is still being written. And Lindsay Lohan — a freckle-faced, 21-year-old train wreck whose purported acting chops are her only attributes that outweigh her tolerance for alcohol — has guaranteed that several chapters will be devoted to her shenanigans. While Paris fades into the background, Britney somehow avoids arrest, and Nicole Richie settles for a mere four days behind bars, La Lohan has made absolutely certain her capers won’t be forgotten soon. Her arrest on Tuesday, July 24 (her second DUI since Memorial Day) involved, among other things, a car chase with her ex-assistant’s mom, a pocketful of coke (which she naturally claimed wasn’t hers), and an alcohol-monitoring device that apparently wasn’t working that night. Our Li Lo’s hit rock bottom. Call us naive, gossip-mongering idealists, but that might actually mean there’s nowhere for her to go but up.
So, in anticipation of her August 24 court arraignment, the ever-optimistic staff here at the Phoenix is accentuating the positive in its survey of five non-celebrity local professionals, to try and find the silver lining in Lindsay’s next, er, project.
John Tobin, Boston City Councilor
The 12-step program at Promises didn’t seem to work for our gal Lindsay. Is jail the best rehab that a fun-loving celeb could ask for?
I would think 30 days, 60 days in jail would be a wake-up call to just about anybody. And that’s probably what’s needed here. . . . . Judging by the pictures, I might check myself into Promises. It looks like the new Club Med.
If Lindsay was one of your constituents, would you give her tough love?
I think the best thing for her to do is, move out of Hollywood and only be there when she needs to be there. She should probably be in a cave in Butte, Montana.
Angela Peri, Founder and Director, Boston Casting
Is Lindsay a good actress?
I think she’s a great actress. She’s the real deal. They spotted her when she was just a kid, she had all the right instincts, and she’s never wavered from that. . . . And she’s a kid out having fun. But the DUI is not fun.
But Lindsay wants to be known for winning Oscars — of which, thus far, she has none. Would a few weeks spent playing a real-life jailbird improve Lindsay’s method acting, and set her up for shots at more demanding dramatic roles?
My heart breaks for these kids. Too young, too fast, too much money. As actresses, do you draw on your personal life? Yeah. But I would hope that, after this experience, she forgets about it and moves on with her life.
Dr. Lance Dodes, Assistant Clinical Prof. of Psychiatry, Addictions Division, Harvard Medical School
It’s not easy being an it-girl — the role comes with a ton of psychological baggage. Could the clink push Lindsay toward a healing, emotional catharsis of some kind?
No, I don’t think it would. Because prison is not treatment. . . . Addictions are like the ordinary compulsions we have to do things, whether we want to or not, because we feel more secure after we do them. The concept of hitting rock bottom is itself false, because nobody knows what rock bottom is. . . . It’s like saying if you just got some sense knocked into your head then you would stop. That’s fundamentally wrong, because addiction is not a moral problem, it’s a symptom. You can only fix it if you find out why you’re compelled to do this.
Bummer. So if Lindsay was your patient, what would you prescribe in terms of treatment?
She needs a good psychological evaluation, because after all, I don’t know her. . . . She needs to be in psychotherapy to figure out what she’s so unhappy about. Second of all . . . she might need to be in a protected place. The problem with jail is that she can’t get the psychotherapy she needs. To lock her up isn’t going to help her.