#LINDSAYSNEXTCHAPTER (/& EXTREME EXTREME TRANSFERENCE)
In a 2010 Grace Kelly inspired front-cover profile of Lohan for Vanity Fair, the Nancy Jo Sales we know and love states: “Lindsay looked a little raw. And yet shining through her worry and stress and whatever else was currently affecting her mood was her all-American beauty, finer and more delicate in person than in pictures. She still looked like a movie star. She smelled of cigarettes and exotic perfume.”
A very embarrassing thing I have fully embraced about myself is that my brain holds too much information about Lindsay Lohan. In a hypothetical quiz where I was presented with a random photo of the actress, I would swiftly be able to easily identify what specific era it is derived from, as well as extensive details that to someone unfamiliar with her saga would seem chimerical. When names like Patrick Aufdenkamp become familiar, I begin to wonder why I care so much. There is an element of irony in my admiration, but there is no doubt I do hold a positive stance about the starlett.
Tabloids and gossip magazines often report the behaviors of young stars. A large segment of the tabloids focus on those who act entitled and expect special treatment due to their fame. The inquiry ‘Don’t you know who I am?‘ is most frequently perceived as pompous, but maybe it should also be interpreted as the absolute cry for help. The person posing such a self-important question is so unaware of his/her reality that s/he needs others to remind him/her of it. The worth or lack of worth ultimately appears to fully depend on the recognizability of the individual.
In “The Schema of Mass Culture,” Adorno argues that the commodification of the cultural industry ceases its distinction from pragmatic life: “On all sides the borderline between culture and empirical reality becomes more and more indistinct.” Consequently, the individuals who find themselves in the culture industry confront the loss of their private reality, especially when their public presence is one in which they are investing in to develop a personal brand. As the person becomes the product, the risk of losing a part of their previously held individuality becomes grave: the personality features that are expected to generate more profit will comprise the new “person,” more representative of the brand/ product.
The 24-hour celebrity “news” coverage the Internet has made possible perpetuates the thirst of the consumers of mass culture, not only doing nothing to mitigate the celebrity phenomenon, but also encouraging the worst possible consumption patterns. The way downfalls have been documented since TMZ “culture” became a reality is shocking because it quantitatively (/fiscally) proves the high-consumption of celebrity horror narratives. Our time is one of reality trainwrecks because the idolization of fame for fame has already occurred. The seemingly anachronistic fame achieved via merit and artistic/ cultural perseverance seems a much slower route, and why suffer longer? The thirst to live like celebrities dominates the moral compass of young people who consume this “lifestyle” as an audience.
RUMORED TRUTHS OR TRUE RUMORS?
Last Saturday I watched The Truman Show (1998) in bed when I couldn’t sleep in a bed that wasn’t mine. I was glad the bed-owner was asleep because I cried a lot towards the ending. As Truman Burbank’s suspicion finally becomes validated when he reaches “the end” of the sea of the microcosm that was created around him. The tears were not driven by grief, but by anger. I was not really sad for Truman’s character; I was happy for him. But my anger towards the show’s creator and executive producer, Christof, was immense. Christof mimics the mannerisms of an earthly God, displaying the pettiness of an inhumane culture at its fullest when he insists on creating a storm for his product because he wanted to be a person.
In this context, the current status quo we have culturally arrived at resembles that of a society where the idolization of living within the fake reality Truman tried to escape is “normal.” I am not sure what a docu-series is, and I do hope Oprah is no Christof. But above all, I hope it all ends with the product exiting as a person. “In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night” would be a great ending.