Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Celebrity Stupid

The one thing I like about being out of the classroom during the summer is that otherwise silly and ridiculous stories catch my eye and warrant a mention or two on the blog.

One of the first posts I ever did three years ago was about celebrity, wealth and justice and featured none other than Lindsay Lohan's mugshot. Updating that story, last Tuesday she was found guilty of several probation violations and received 90 days at the cross bar Hilton.

Bawling and broken, Lindsay Lohan learned today that she's going back to jail.

Beverly Hills judge Marsha Revel declared the 24-year-old starlet in violation of probation for her 2007 DUI conviction for failing to attend court-ordered alcohol education classes. Revel sentenced Lohan to 90 days in jail followed by 90 days in-patient rehab.

Following Revel's ruling, Lohan broke down sobbing, barely sputtering a "yes" when Revel asked if she understood and accepted the terms of her probation. Revel ordered Lohan to surrender on July 20 at 8:30 a.m. PT.

But the story gets better. After the sentence, Lohan jumped on Twitter and started ranting about the severity of her sentence.

She's also been getting her anger out on Twitter. Last Wednesday, Lohan spent one of her few remaining evenings as a free woman complaining that she is the victim of "cruel and unusual punishment."

Lohan used her Twitter feed to cite Article 5 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its prohibition against "torture" and "inhuman or degrading treatment."After that, she tweeted a link to a Newsweek story about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

On Wednesday, Lohan used Twitter to protest the severity of the sentence and to quote from [Washington and Lee University law professor Erik] Luna's article, published in the Cato Institute's Policy Analysis: "Misguided Guidelines: A Critique of Federal Sentencing."
LOL. While her references to the 8th amendment, the U.N. Human Rights Declaration, and federal sentencing guidelines make this crime and punishment instructor happy, that the comparisons come over a 90 day jail sentence (30 days if she plays her cards right) for probation violations after an already-skated second DUI...boggle the mind.

Even better was professor Luna's shocked reaction to see his name enter the pop culture lexicon. Said Luna cryptically, "Any attempt to compare Ms. Lohan's circumstances with the problems of [federal] sentencing referenced in her Tweets would be misguided. Ms. Lohan's case is in the California state system, and my critique of federal sentencing has, at best, some oblique relevance to her plight."

Or perhaps none at all.

Then we have Mel Gibson's latest outburst towards his ex-girlfriend, dropping N-bombs, and threatening domestic violence.

An explosive audio recording which allegedly features Oscar winner Mel Gibson admitting to hitting his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and twice threatening to kill her was released Monday on the celebrity news site RadarOnline.com.

In the recording of a telephone conversation, the site says the enraged actor tells Grigorieva “you deserved it” after she says that he hit her and broke her teeth.

Gibson then allegedly makes what could be considered a death threat, screaming "I’ll put you in a f **kin rose garden you c**t! You understand that? Because I’m capable of it. You understand that?”
He goes on to tell her she looks like a "Vegas whore," and says if she got raped, she "would deserve it." What a guy.

Following his arrest four years ago (which I also mentioned in my 2007 post) and the anti-semitic spew Gibson launched with the cops, this behavior seems a logical, if not ignominious extension. It speaks volumes to the sense of entitlement celebrities feel, as though their actions and words are beyond reproach, and even if they have their behavior called into question in the criminal justice system, they have the resources to buy their way out of it. Most of the time, anyway.

People are speculating whether this is the "end of Gibson's career" since he was dropped by his management agency, but I think you could argue Mad Max's career began circling the drain right around the time of Braveheart, a dreadful dirge laced with elements of homophobia.

As to Lohan, being a celebrity and going to jail is often a good career move (see also: Paris Hilton, Lil Wayne, T.I., et al). And while one hopes the experience tempers her behavior in free society, the prospects remain highly doubtful anything about the jail experience will significantly impact her life.

As I mentioned three years ago and numerous times since, being sentenced to jail and/or probation isn't about rehabilitating people or diverting people from the system. It's about pulling more and more people into the system.

If you "learn your lesson," wonderful, but the better money is on extending her period of probation (fees, fines) and feeding the beast that probation, the country's largest money making racket, has become.

Here's hoping my next post on Lindsay Lohan is in 2013 about her receiving an Academy Award or something. As to Gibson...feh. Let's just hope this is the last time we hear about him.

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