Part of my job each night is to put together the Register's People in the News section on A2. Every night I hope for some decent news out of Hollywood, interesting tidbits about who's doing what (or whom, as the case may be) ... I try to make it different each day, but there are a couple of people that seem to pop up on the AP almost daily.
Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are mentioned far too much in our People column, I know -- but it's not my fault, that's what the AP puts out for us to choose from, and the two entertainers are, sadly, also what seems to be popular at the water coolers, so I run them.
Britney is always in the paper because, well, she's a freak -- like Michael Jackson, her behavior is just so out of control that people can't help but stop and stare. I don't know why she's so messed up; maybe it's a case of a person with no real talent suddenly becoming famous thanks to the entertainment industry's efforts to convince the world she is, and a gullible world ready to eat it up.
Lindsay makes the paper because people for some reason like to watch Hollywood stars spiral out of control, and it's even more popular reading when the person is so oblivious to the fact that what they do is wrong -- I think people like to be able to cite an example of someone who thinks they don't have to play by the rules because of who they are. Right now, Lindsay is facing new drunken driving and drug charges, before she even resolved her prior DUI case.
Now, I can't really comment on Lohan's acting skills -- it just so happens that nothing she's been in has ever really interested me enough to actually watch. But her behavior bothers me because it shows the disparities in how people are treated when they have money and fame.
If you read the newspapers at all, you see what happens to people when they're caught driving drunk, drinking while underage, or carrying drugs.
If a New Haven kid is caught driving without a license, drunk, and has cocaine on him, he's going to jail.
So why shouldn't entertainers be held to the same standards as normal folks? Shouldn't they be held to higher standards because of the money and fame? I mean, if someone has opportunities and privileges not afforded to the commoners, shouldn't they face stiffer penalties -- or even the same penalties, for goodness' sake -- because they had so many options available?
If Lindsay Lohan wants to go out and get wasted, fine. There's got to be someone who could give her a lift; I'm sure she can afford a cab. And even drug use - when you've got enough dough to buy a couple of houses anywhere in the world, can't you go to one and do whatever it is you're going to do, rather than carrying it all over town?
It's all made worse by the fact that Britney, Lindsay and others have hordes of young people watching them, ready to emulate their every moves, and this is what they get. I'm not saying that fame automatically obligates you to be a role model, but at least show your followers you can act like a decent human being.
It just seems sad that the same behavior puts one person in jail and another on the Tonight Show.