Why are the puritans still persecuting Lindsay Lohan?

Jul 7th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
A close-up of the message Lindsay Lohan wore on the nail of her middle finger, at her recent court appearance in Beverley Hills. Getty Images.

Close-up of message Lindsay Lohan wore on finger nail, at her recent Beverley Hills court appearance. Getty Images.

Is it just me? Or are there others out there somewhere, who find it unbelievable, to say the least, that the 24-year-old Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan has just been sentenced to 90 days in jail?

Several years ago the excellent American journalist William Langewiesche (who now “resides in California and France”) wrote about a Washington vision of control over the high seas “so disconnected from reality that it might raise questions about the sanity of the United States.”  Lindsay Lohan’s 90-day jail sentence (even if she does finally serve only “about 25 per cent” of it) raises similar questions in my mind.

Ms. Lohan is hardly a criminal, on any sensible definition. But yesterday California Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel sentenced her “to 90 days in jail and 90 days in a residential substance-abuse program for violating her probation stemming from two separate 2007 cases of driving under the influence of cocaine and alcohol.”

Looking good in anything: Ms Lohan in vintage clothes at the June 2008  Visa Swap fashion event. PA Photo.

Ms Lohan in vintage clothes at the June 2008 Visa Swap fashion event. PA Photo.

According to the Associated Press: “A tearful Lohan pleaded with the judge before the sentencing, saying she did the best she could to juggle jobs and the court-ordered [alcohol-education] classes and really tried to comply with the terms of her probation … ‘I’m not taking this as a joke,’ Lohan said. ‘It’s my life. It’s my career I’ve worked for my entire life’ … Revel said she found the starlet’s apology insincere, comparing it to ‘somebody who cheats and thinks it isn’t cheating if she doesn’t get caught.’”

Well … Ms Lohan’s offences may have called for a stiff fine and suspension of her driver’s licence. But 90 days in jail — and an additional 90 days in a “residential substance-abuse program”? It’s not as if she actually ran over anyone. You can buy “medical marijuana” legally at corner stores in Santa Monica. And does Judge Revel really imagine that her punitive sentence is going to alter Ms Lohan’s outlandish personality?  Can it be a serious purpose of any free and democratic rule of law to try to alter personalities? (Isn’t that the “totalitarianism” or even “fascism” that some claim to fear in the USA today?)

Lindsay Lohan in court, July 6, 2010. Getty Images.

Lindsay Lohan in court, July 6, 2010. Getty Images.

The only sense I can make of any of this is that it reflects a lamentable modern American cultural paranoia, which descends from the Salem witch trials and The Scarlet Letter and so forth — in the almost pathologically puritan New England of the 17th century.

I should confess, I suppose, that I have been in love with Lindsay Lohan (from a distance of course), ever since I read somewhere that she carries a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince in her purse. In any case I’m with Matthew Wilder, the writer-director of  Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, “in which the 24-year-old actress plays the starring role,” who said after Judge Marsha Revel’s ruling yesterday “that he and his crew remain ‘100 per cent behind Lindsay.’”

Early promo for Ms Lohan’s latest movie, in which she plays notorious 1970s porn star, Linda Lovelace. Famous for her role in a pioneering skin flick called Deep Throat, Lovelace later became a crusader in the anti-porn movement.

Meanwhile, I have just read in the Toronto Globe and Mail — which sometimes emits its own northern North American overtones of New England puritanism — that: “Beverley Hills judge Marsha Revel sent a strong message to troubled actress Lindsay Lohan on Tuesday, sentencing her to 90 days in jail. Not to be outdone, Lohan sent one back: ‘Fuck U’ … though it isn’t clear who it was intended for.” I think it’s intended for everyone who foolishly imagines that there is something virtuous in unjustly persecuting outlandish but talented young Hollywood actresses who project a somewhat erratic sexuality, whether they want to or not. And, like quite a few others I hope, I’m “100 per cent behind Lindsay” on this one too (even if it’s true that “Lindsay’s ‘F-ck U’ Could Land Her in Contempt of Court.”)

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