Celebritology 101: Lindsay Lohan & the Celebrity Spin Machine
Pay close attention to what comes out of the mouths of celebrities. They may not always mean what they say. They probably didn't actually come up with these words (remember, most are paid performers) and in most cases their utterances -- whether on Entertainment Tonight or surrounded by salt-of-the-earth villagers in Namibia -- are calculated to add value to their brand. Imagine them henceforth as officially sanctioned sociopaths very carefully manipulated by an able band of helpers.
Below we study an annotated version of a very commonly used celebrity device in attempted image rehabilitation:
Lohan Wants to Visit U.S. Troops in Iraq
The Associated Press
Celebritology Annotation in Italics
NEW YORK -- Lindsay Lohan says she wants to go to Iraq with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and entertain American troops there.
Lindsay Lohan has suffered some big setbacks in recent days -- she was publicly scolded by a studio exec, dumped by her label, hospitalized for "dehydration" and has been called as a witness in a suit against her mother -- and wants us to associate her name with a more positive vision of a busty, ministering angel to the troops than a hungover, forever bikini-clad party girl on the fast track to Taradise.
"I've been trying to go to Iraq with Hillary Clinton for so long. Hillary was trying to work it out, but it seemed too dangerous," the 20-year-old actress says in an interview in the September issue of Elle magazine, on newsstands Wednesday.
"Hillary Clinton has no intention of taking me to Iraq and, as we speak, her people are calling my people to find out where in the hell I got the idea that Hillary would even permit me to join her on a government-funded junket to a war zone. And she asks that I please call her Sen. Clinton in the future. Oops."
Lohan, whose screen credits include "Freaky Friday," "Mean Girls" and the upcoming "Georgia Rule," says she hoped to emulate Marilyn Monroe, who performed shows for about 100,000 troops stationed in Korea in 1954.
"It's so amazing seeing that one woman just going somewhere, this beautiful sex kitten, who's basically a pinup, which is what I've always aspired to be," Lohan tells the magazine, adding that she would prepare for her trip to Iraq by taking shooting lessons with her security guard.
"Cuz Marilyn was also able to wear pretty clothes while metabolizing pretty heavy doses of booze and stuff. I think the perfect thing to add to that mix would be a gun. I'm sure there would be no problem with someone of my obvious talent and steady nerves carrying a gun around a U.S. Senator."
A spokesman for the senator offered a slightly different take on Lohan's contact with the New York Democrat's office.
"It was suggested to her that if she wanted to go, she could pursue doing so through the USO," said spokesman Philippe Reines.
In the above sentence, please note that non-celebrity Philippe Reines means exactly what he says.
There are some celebrities who inadvisably eschew the above strategy. For two current examples, one need look no farther than Malibu or, umm, Malibu to see the results of a star unleashed without proper handling. And we all know what happened when Tom Cruise unwisely dumped longtime publicist Pat Kingsley in favor of his sister and fellow Scientologist: Mission Nowhere.
Using the examples provided, practice your own spin control by recasting the following phrases or circumstances:
Circumstance: Your haggard client, X, was snapped sweating out a three-day drunk in a 24-hour Dennys.
You issue a press release saying X, who likes to remain grounded by visiting her favorite fast food haunt, is taking some time off from her hectic schedule. She recently became obsessed with baby seals and is jeopardizing her health losing sleep over their plight. She'll travel to Canada later this year to officially lend her support to the effort to end seal hunts.
Your client says: "I hate [insert group of people here].
You make all haste to let it be known that your client is an out-of-control lush who just so happens to donate lots of money to substance abuse programs and, like, has friends of that persuasion.
1. Your client says: "Yes, fat kids are a problem. Maybe childhood liposuction is a good idea."
2. Circumstance: Your client is really a crackhead, but still a bankable concert ticket. How do you keep your client working long enough to buy your fourth vacation home?
3. Circumstance: When questioned at a teen summit, your mid-20s starlet isn't able to name the vice president. She is able, however, to liplock a 17-year-old member of the audience.
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