A story up on Gawker is headlined, “To Be Successful Again, Lindsay Lohan Must Die.” It’s an excerpt from a new book by a former New York Daily News gossip reporter named Jo Piazza, and it suggests–well, let’s let Piazza take credit for this one:
At this point yet another glimpse at her prematurely aging breasts paying homage to Marilyn Monroe will not reinvigorate Lindsay’s sagging brand and career. The only thing that will save brand Lohan from total Kristy McNichol-dom is if she truly channels Monroe and actually leaves us for good.
Wow. Piazza’s point is that Lohan has ceased to be the “sweet little freckled thing” she used to be; worse, her status as a “train wreck” makes her thoroughly “unlikable” to audiences and unlikely to be cast in movie roles. Death is the only thing that could make Lohan likable again, Piazza observes, and she points to the “death bump” enjoyed by celebrities like Elvis and Michael Jackson.
If Piazza’s prescription for Lohan’s comeback-via-death sounds like rather ghoulish advice to you, it sounds like that to me, too. I’m sure Piazza doesn’t really wish Lohan dead, but her musing crosses whatever faint line of decency remains in celebrity coverage. It implies that Lohan is disposable—and indeed, professionally, she is. Hollywood is built on the disposability of starlets who disappear when they age out of the system. (Robert Downey got a second chance to rebuild his career, but then, he was a man in his late 30s, not a woman in hers.) But Lohan is not disposable as a human being, and there’s something gleefully punitive (“prematurely aging breasts”) about Piazza’s suggestion that she join the ranks of “dead celebrities [who] have just as much earning power as the living and sometimes more.” I can’t help but think of widows thrown upon funeral pyres, their usefulness having expired with the deaths of their husbands. Is this also the sentence for a young actress who’s outlived her likability?