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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Addiction as entertainment

I must be the weird one. I haven’t, nor will I, spend time watching celebrities or non-celebrities as they battle their addictions. I can’t find a lot of entertainment value in human suffering, I must be getting soft in my old age.

Wednesday morning, I could not avoid the clips of Lindsay Lohan being interviewed on the David Letterman show the previous night. As much as I am a fan of pop culture, I do not keep up with the almost daily tabloid stories of the young Ms. Lohan and her run-ins with the law, alcohol and drugs. I feel that by following this soap opera too closely I am enabling her and giving her the attention she obviously is searching for, albeit in a very destructive way.

But I digress.

In the interview she referred to rehab as a “blessing,” even though her coming three-month stint will be the latest attempt at beating her addiction but hardly the first.

And while I wish her the best and hold no ill will towards her, it seems she is surrounded by a culture of celebrity that celebrates her drug and alcohol abuse, and dare I say benefits from it. Lindsay Lohan has become famous for being an addict at her age and for throwing away an acting career, not for her great body of work.
Her booking on the Letterman show and all the subsequent buzz afterwards is not because of a new project or award she received, but rather the public’s desire to watch this train crash of a life happen in slow motion before our very eyes. Preferably in HD.

Addiction is a very serious thing. The cost, both financial and human, are all around us. I can’t help but think of all the people quietly suffering or battling their addictions and how confusing it must be to see addiction treated like a sport in the entertainment world. Charlie Sheen is rewarded for his bizarre, drug- fueled behavior with more attention, money and fame while John Belushi lies in a grave because of his.

Lindsay Lohan is at a crossroads that many addicts find themselves at. Unfortunately, it seems she stands to benefit from continuing down the destructive path as opposed to being clean and sober and returning to “normal.”


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