California Literary Review

The Fourth Wall

A Film and Television Blog

The State of Celebrity and Meltdowns: Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson

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July 15th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

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The sign on the hill.

Is Hollywood truly the den of iniquity we mortals perceive it to be?

Ah, the good old days: Lohan (second from right) in Mean Girls.

Based upon the travails of fallen/trainwreck starlet Lindsay Lohan and racist/insane person Mel Gibson (as well as so many others), perhaps it is. Some stars manage to make it decades in the biz and come out relatively unscathed—or at least it seems that way. Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, and Leonardo DiCaprio seem to have made it through. Drew Barrymore (who struggled with very young drug addiction and rehab) , Christian Bale (whose insane rant on the set of Terminator: Salvation made for one of the catchiest remixes to happen in the last ten years), Christina Ricci (who spoke openly about her eating disorder) , and Winona Ryder (who randomly shoplifted from Saks Fifth Avenue) , went through well-publicized rough patches, but either through great PR or sheer tenacity, made it back to the top.


Lohan in court last week (from here.

Lohan, whose first starring role at age 11 was in the Disney remake of The Parent Trap, has had a long, horrible history of drug abuse; her relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson was front-page news for ages; her family prefers to publicize their issues on Twitter rather than settle them in a normal fashion. The girl is seriously not okay. Everyone in the world seems to realize this…except the Lohans. Lindsay was recently sentenced to 90 days in jail due to an incident a few years ago whose details I can’t even remember. She checked into a rehab center owned by her new celeb lawyer Robert Shapiro in a last-minute effort to avoid jail time (while certain idiots publicly wonder whether she’ll be a target for lesbian gangs in jail if indeed she goes to the big house) . Etc, etc.

For a time in 2008, I was glued to the computer, horrifically rubbernecking what was termed the “Britney Death Watch,” during which Britney Spears locked herself in her house with her toddlers and seemed to have a complete mental breakdown. We will only idly mention Scientology and Tom Cruise’s “Oprah” couch-jumping.

Lohan’s colossal trainwreck is the same: we can’t seem to look away, and yet by hitting websites, by tuning into E!, we’re giving the Lohans the attention they so crave.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen: Gibson’s mugshot. From here.

Gibson, whose anti-Semitic rant to police officers was serious and scary enough that it made international news, is back in the news the last week or so because of a series of horribly misogynistic, racist, cruel audio clips that ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva released to the media (ostensibly because she feared for her life). Hear one clip here, but be forewarned, it contains extremely NSFW—or life—language. Gibson has been acting for 30+ years. Quite frankly, I’ll never look at the Lethal Weapon movies in the same way. Sure, the guy has talent. Sure, he was charming in a number of roles. He’s also a completely racist, misogynistic psycho.

Gibson in Lethal Weapon.

The question is, why is Lohan granted the fame (or perhaps infamy) and fortune and the enablers with whom she surrounds herself? Why has Gibson managed to make it in showbiz for so many decades with no one outside the scene the wiser to his crazy?

Is it the artifice of acting, the fact that you must be slightly unstable to take on a profession in which you become someone else for a time? (Considering how many actors seem to basically be functional, this doesn’t quite fit.)

Is it the town itself, nestled in the Southern California hills, isolated from the rest of the world, insulated by smog and the atmosphere of awesomely huge egos?

Is it Lohan’s pitiful, gold-digging family or her upbringing as a saccharine-sweet Disney kid? Is it Gibson’s erstwhile action hero status and ability to draw enablers to kiss his shoes?

Is it simply the state of the media? The instant gratification of the internet means more paparazzi are out there to get paid, more celebrities are caught in ugly moments, and at times, the world seems to hinge on the dumbest things: what Katherine Heigl is wearing on the set of her new movie; what jeans Katie Holmes wore today; and who the hell are Speidi, now? Hell, even the President knows how to use social media to his advantage (boy howdy).

Lest we forget, Drew Barrymore was once an adorable tiny human and lives to tell the tale. From here.

Drew Barrymore recently rebelled–hard–against the term “celebrity” when applied to working actors/directors/producers/etc. Lohan, I think, classifies as a “celebrity,” but Gibson is, like Barrymore, an actor, producer, and director. What’s the fundamental difference?

As a society, we’re in a very strange place right now. What say you, Fourth Wall readers? Thoughts on the antics of today’s actors/celebrities, and why they get away with so much while we mortals slave away under fluorescent lights or in the hot sun all day?

(All photos copyright their original owners.)

  • http://CLR shadow

    Mel has been diagnosed a Bi-polar and with the Drinking none of what hes doing can be good physically for him and emotionally for others . I hope he sees this and starts a recreation of himself SOON*

  • Bo Tat

    Namaste placer,writer of this the article, Mel Gibson and all the other who have ears to my lecture.

    Have they sold their souls? Is it the devil? Or Mara? is it the illuminatie. Or does all the benefits of fame and money cuases a sooner burnout? Have they lived life to the fullest? And in the end just don’t care anymore. And getting old with scandal after scandal. Untill they die a sad death. Cause there is no happy ending in Hollywood. they have lifed their talents till the fullest. And in the pursuit of happiness. But it won’t last forever. And in the end all the fame and money will hunt them down. And have they reached permanent happiness? No, almost all of them die young or old. But in a sad way they take all the scandals with them in to their graves. Nice karma there for the next life. I pray for them that they become spiritual. Cause everything comes to an end. Except the spirit is forever. Life on the spirit and you will be free and happy. Ohm mani padme hum. Ohm tare tutare tare. Siddhi. Ohm shante.

  • http://mattsmithonfilm.blogspot.com Matthew Smith

    I’m with Gibson. I’m also with Lohan. I don’t care what ‘celebrities’ do or say in their private lives. Is it horrible, the stuff Gibson said? Yeah, sure, but sometimes I say things that people probably would think are horrible, too, especially if I’d already had a very public meltdown. I just shrug. Gibson’s a brilliant actor and director. If I had money, I’d fund his next movie.

    As for Lohan, she’s had a bunch of idiots surrounding her forever, and it’s likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future. Sad. I hope whatever QT dreams up for her to be in works to resurrect her and kick her ass in gear.

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