Today is a Sad Day: Lindsay Lohan’s Career is Pretty Much Dead

Do you remember the halcyon spring of 2004 when a glorious teen comedy brought a sparkling and perky teen starlet’s freckled face into our life?  Of course you do!  How can you forget Mean Girls?  Wait, you kinda have, you say?  Why?  Was it the infamous coke-pants?  The multiple stints in rehab?  Or perhaps I Know Who Killed Me?  Maybe the (not really at all) shocking lesbian relationship?  Was it Fornarina?  Okay, fine, I guess it’s easier to overshadow Lindsay Lohan’s early potential nearly five year’s down the road, but I dare you to watch this and try and tell me that–at one point–you didn’t think Lindsay Lohan was the cutest:

So much cuteness, but it now seems so bittersweet.  Even the few brief minutes of the trailer remind me of the sweet scent that was her seemingly promising career; now, though, you vaguely suspect that Lindsay Lohan’s career just smells like cigarettes and train wrecks.  And, judging by this Funny or Die video that’s been making its rounds on the internet today, she likely smells of desperation as well:

[UPDATE (7/9/09): The YouTube version of this clip has been yanked, but the link above to Funny or Die still takes you straight to this train wreck of a “comedy” video]

Oh, HAHAHA, she’s capable of poking fun at herself!  Self-deprecating celebrities are just like us!  This is soooo hysterical, y’all!  Except that this is actually just uncomfortably sad.  Not because we’re cruelly picking on a young ingenue who is without fault (because, to be fair, she has many, and they’ve unfortunately brought her to this current place); no, this video is pathetic because this is what it looks like when celebrity culture consumes someone whole.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying we should needlessly rip on her for no reason just because she’s made a few mistakes.  She’s indubitably had a rough youth that has contributed to her problems throughout the years; so, yes, it certainly is sad that Lindsay Lohan’s career and personal life are now in such shambles that what we’ve just seen is her only avenue to maintain any cultural relevancy.

Let’s not forget, though, that it has also grown increasingly difficult to feel completely sorry for a young woman who simultaneously broadcasts her life through tabloid photographs and Myspace blogs yet demands privacy and refutes accusations when she’s confronted with the more  unpleasant parts of her life.  Her determination to construct her career’s narrative through a carefully-maneuvered PR combination of over-exposure and denial only reveals the strange irony inherent to this new era of celebrity: they demand an omnipresent-yet-selective spotlight that is impossible under the surveillance of a 24/7 celebrity news media.  Like many others, Lindsay Lohan demands the gaze of the public eye, but she fails to realize that her inability to control said gaze leaves her vulnerable to mockery and criticism.  She has become a joke in celebrity gossip (and a rather sad one, to be sure) precisely because the image of Lindsay Lohan we’ve witnessed for quite some time no longer even remotely coincides with the one she herself claims as authentic.  Call me Pollyanna Pessimism, but I don’t think this video is doing her any favors to correct that discrepancy.

The “humor” of this video is entirely reliant upon rubbing her face in the past two tumultuous years of her increasingly tattered career.  This doesn’t feel like a self-aware and winking admission to her past, nor does it come off as a satire of her current status as mere tabloid fodder.  If anything, this feels like the modern equivalent of a public beating.  Even worse is the fact that this internet shaming is supposed to signify some sort of step towards a rehabilitated public image and better behavior.  Somehow, though, if you’re turning to Us Weekly immediately after the rather public break-up of your equally public relationship only a week prior to the release of this video, I’m gonna take a guess and say that nothing’s changed.  

Lindsay Lohan’s obviously entered new level of rock-bottom, one in which the heady buzz of acknowledgment has now come at the cost of her last remaining shreds of dignity.  I hope that I am wrong, and I hope that she manages to salvage what’s left of her career, but this “comedy” video at best looks like one last desperate attempt to woo the crowd before the extra-large cane drags her off stage.  Maybe she’s bought a few more seconds or even minutes, but I get this rather unfortunate feeling that the curtain’s finally closing.  I’d stay with the rest of you and watch ’til the end, but this spectacle’s just gotten a little too sad for my taste.  I’ll meet you all outside; I’m going to get some fresh air.

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5 Responses

  1. Great writing, Ben.

    More than anything, I think this is sad (and a lot bit offensive) because she’s only making fun of herself in a very surface-level fashion. Really, she’s making light of things like physical violence, substance abuse, and driving under the influence. Ho ho. It’s less a critique of her dissolving career and more a mockery of behavior most people should, need to, and most often do, take very seriously. This woman has almost killed people (and herself) with her offenses. Sass? Try crass.

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    • I couldn’t agree more. Everyone involved in the creation of this video is pretty pathetic and monstrous, but most abominable is indubitably Ms. Lohan herself: he willingness to participate only speaks to her failure to recognize the cost of her past actions and how desperate she is to stay in front of a camera.

      Added to that, I’m glad you pointed out something much more horrific about this video that I’d not at first considered. Her actions didn’t merely negatively affect her life, but the lives of others, and to turn such behavior into a running gag we are supposed to laugh at is truly sickening.

      I’m not sure at this point what is more repugnant. Is it the idea of redeeming Lindsay Lohan, or the presumption that her actions could ever equate to “comedy.” I only know that it’s all horrific.

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  2. I totally agree with you. Dana and I were talking about the Lohan/Ronson split and the perilous state of Lohan’s career and health (mental and physical at this point) and agreed it was no more funny than Britney at the VMAs. I still think Britney is a drugged up puppet, controlled by a music/entertainment business determined to milk the last drop of money from any product, but in some ways Lohan is even beyond that. Her career has been over for a while–if you can’t get insurance, you’re toast, especially when your movies tank or go straight to the ABC Family Channel. I don’t think all the camp or winking gestures can help, especially when you can’t fully step out of the closet or away from drugs, and don’t have a supportive family member in sight.

    I might assign this for my summer celebrity class. Seriously.

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  3. And that video isn’t funny–self-awareness and self-deprecation involves more than just reciting a litany of unfortunate facts about your recent misadventures. Besides, what has she done to her face? Either bad botox or she’s coked up here.

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  4. totes. I really wanted this to be funny but instead I felt weird watching it and your post sorta nailed why. At this point I feel like its imperative for some older actress to take her under her wing and mentor her. Drew Barrymore, hello?! Someone needs to tell her to move out of the spotlight, get her act together, put her head down and start working on her ‘craft’.

    Maybe I’m a total bitch though because I definitely cracked up at the Britney VMA debacle. Britney S is not talented, strictly speaking so I couldn’t care less if she never did anything again but I remember when little LiLo had spunk and great comedic timing which is why this is so sad.

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