The media monsters have already penned an obituary for Lindsay Lohan, lest the 23-year-old actress spin out prematurely. That’s the news from PopEater.com columnist Rob Shuter.
According to Shuter’s source — a senior producer at breaking-news leviathan Associated Press (AP):
“Any preparation that can be done ahead of time is them just simply doing their jobs. We all scrambled when Brittany Murphy and Heath Ledger died and don’t want that to happen again.”
When Shuter attempted to corroborate the claim, AP’s editorial team pled the Fifth: “The AP does not talk about its internal editing or reporting plans.”
Of course, pre-writing obituaries for lions of the limelight — think A-list megastars, political titans and aging luminaries — is common practice.
LiLo, however, is none of the above. So why pen an advance eulogy? Because, insists the media circus that’s been relentlessly swarming Lohan’s body, she’s “troubled.” (And here, the Ledger-Murphy reference is keenly manipulative. Prior to their deaths, neither actor had been headlined as “troubled,” and in fact, the gossip grid wasn’t all that interested in their public bodies.)
Now, Lohan may very well be suffering from pneumonia and taking prescription drugs to combat respiratory issues (Murphy’s primary and secondary causes of death, respectively). Conversely, she may have in her possession a mix of prescription drugs to battle insomnia, anxiety and pain (Ledger’s noxious combination). We can’t know.
Sure, Lohan has a rap sheet. Back in 2007, she snagged two DUIs, did three stints in rehab and publicly acknowledged cocaine and alcohol abuse. But since then, Lohan’s kept her nose clean. Indeed, there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest Lohan currently has a problem. There are only rumours, all of which have been generated by the sinister, lascivious eye that is the paparazzi. The bottom line, however, is that the eye’s interrogative interest in Lohan has never been her health — it’s been her sexuality. Indeed, at the heart of Lohan’s rap sheet is her (on-again? off-again?) relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson.
Ever since Lohan began dating Ronson (coincidentally, also in early 2007), the media has been obsessive in its attempts to “know” Lohan’s body — be it the incessant efforts to out LiLo, the stare-much fascination with her and Ronson’s day-to-day, or the insistent sensationalism of the pair’s frequent break-up/make-up.
Not that the press has ever been comfortable with the results of its inquisition. Indeed, when LiLo and Ronson were in the thick of sweetheart-ship, the media buzz was often surly, denouncing both the relationship and Lohan’s sexuality as a sham. And when other glittering young Hollywood femmes (think Megan Fox, Aubrey O’Day) began mashing lips with the ladies, it quickly became known as “pulling a Lohan” — an acute dismissal of queerness as no more than a desperate bid for attention.
Post-Ronson, the press is unremitting in its claims that Lohan is “troubled.” Indeed, gossip sites broadcast Lohan updates near-daily, each caricature bent on apprehending and isolating Lohan’s body as a gaudy spectacle, a D-list train wreck who’s psychotically obsessed with her ex-girlfriend. Witness as Lohan “stalks” Ronson, only to be banned from this party and barred from that party; ogle as Lohan, teetering in six-inch stilettos, trips up a curb; gape at the trail of baby powder left by her footsteps; goggle at her heavy-lidded eyes, her can of Red Bull.
These images, however, aren’t about Lohan spinning out of control — they’re about straight culture’s inability to control Lohan. She is unmanageable, a site of monstrosity. In this manner, the media’s predatory fixation on LiLo — the way she moves, looks, functions and fucks — is no mere curiosity. It’s an aggressive interrogation into the very validity of Lohan’s body.
And the verdict is in the obituary leak: Lohan’s body is alienating because it’s unknowable; it’s misfit and perverse — it has no place. Mainstream culture wants a Lohan it can manage; until then, it would like to lay this body to rest.