The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

#LindsayOnOWN @LindsayLohan: When You Are Your Own Biggest Problem

Posted on | March 24, 2014 | 25 Comments

Lots of people are enduring the car-crash fascination with the Lindsay Lohan rehab documentary series on the Oprah Winfrey Network. For some reason, my 11-year-old daughter Reagan has become a fan of the show, so that I end up watching it, too, despite the fact that I hate — absolutely hate — reality TV shows, except for programs like C*O*P*S or The First 48 where the “reality” isn’t a bunch of phony made-for-TV personal drama. In this respect, Lindsay is a strange hybrid.

On the one hand, the director is trying to make a legitimate documentary about the process by which a notorious celebrity trainwreck recovers from her latest toxic meltdown. On the other hand, there’s endless personal drama generated by the narcissistic nutjob at the center of it all.

So it was nice to watch Episode 3 where, after Lindsay had hamstrung production by refusing to allow the camera crew its scheduled access, Oprah showed up in person to chew her out:

“When you change a schedule, you know what happens. You’re a professional woman. . . . And it’s not just for you. You’ve got a whole team of people who are relying on you right now for this particular experience, for creating this documentary.”

Regular readers know I’m a huge fan of Christopher Lasch’s 1979 book, The Culture of Narcissism, which foreshadowed the entitlement mentality typical of the Millennial generation (see, for example, “Narcissism vs. Objectivity,” Feb. 15). A key trait of narcissists is their tendency toward blame-shifting, avoiding responsibility by blaming scapegoats for their problems. You see this over and over watching Lindsay. She has long since demonstrated that she is incapable of managing her own life. Yet when her remarkably patient personal assistant and others around her try to provide guidance, she erupts in tantrums, accusing these well-meaning people of being the source of her unhappiness, as though she hadn’t looked in the mirror recently.

Narcissism involves a concern with superficial image instead of fundamental reality, an obsession with seeming instead of being, and it is never pleasant to watch someone deal with the problems that invariably result. Only a sadist could enjoy seeing Lindsay Lohan spin wildly out of control, and these “starlet meltdown” tabloid dramas are mainly interesting to me as morality tales, e.g.: “And then the promiscuous celebrity coke addict lived unhappily ever after.”

But why bring up Charlie Sheen, eh?

Lindsay Lohan has been blessed with beauty, wealth and fame. It’s no fun to watch her throwing away happiness with both hands. And yet this is the car-crash-by-the-highway that Lindsay presents. Viewers are just rubber-neckers gawking at the carnage.

It’s wrong to say that Lindsay Lohan ever had a drug and alcohol problem. No, Lindsay Lohan had a Lindsay Lohan problem.

Even if she’s sober now, she hasn’t solved that problem yet.



25 Responses to “#LindsayOnOWN @LindsayLohan: When You Are Your Own Biggest Problem”

  1. Political Rift » #LindsayOnOWN @LindsayLohan: When You Are Your Own Biggest Problem
    March 24th, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

    […] Robert Stacy McCain Lots of people are enduring the car-crash fascination with the Lindsay Lohan rehab documentary […]

  2. ErikasPowerMinute
    March 24th, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

    I’m surprised you let your eleven year old watch that crap. My daughters (12, 10 and 8) are blissfully unaware of creatures such as Lindsay Lohan. But to each his own, I guess.

  3. robertstacymccain
    March 24th, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

    You should have heard my wife and daughter when they saw I was writing a blog post about this: “Leave Lindsay alone!”

  4. RKae
    March 24th, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

    My problem with COPS is that I watched many episodes and never – NEVER! – saw anyone get pulled over and say, “Dude! What’s with the camera?” I never saw any perps act up for the camera (and most of them were supposedly drunk and high). They automatically did the “don’t look at the camera” thing, like trained actors. Are all everyday Americans that schooled in being on TV?

    If you ever saw anyone goof off at the cameraman, you’re one up on me. But like I say: saw many an episode, never saw the camera acknowledged by the perps.

  5. RKae
    March 24th, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

    Right now, my writing buddy and I are peddling several projects. The most frustrating thing is getting access. Hell, just getting someone to let you in somewhere to pitch an idea is near to impossible.

    The people who DO have access are so brain-dead from drugs or just plain unimaginative from the get-go that all they can think of is “Put me in a reality show about my day-to-day life.”

  6. robertstacymccain
    March 24th, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

    Indeed. That’s one of the frustrating things in watching Lindsay. She insists on insulating herself inside a cocoon of hired enablers. If there were a writer or producer who had a great project for her, they could never penetrate the inner circle to pitch it, because the inner circle is crammed full of people who are invested in Lindsay’s failure.

  7. AngelaTC
    March 24th, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

    I lost interest in COPS when they were filming in Tampa and accidentally busted down the wrong door. They stated they would *never* show that footage on the air because if they showed the cops in any light other than favorable they’d never be allowed to ride-along ever again.

    The First 48 is guilty of an even bigger transgression – when filming in Detroit with one of their “regulars,”, the cops busted down the wrong door, and one of them shot and killed a 7 year od girl who was sleeping on her sofa. The First 48 “disappeared” the footage, repeatedly refusing to hand it over until a couple of them were charged with obstructing justice. Facing jail time, they only produced it as part of a plea agreement.

    People like this are now being called “copsuckers.”

  8. RKae
    March 24th, 2014 @ 7:41 pm

    I also recall NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” cornering a pedo suspect in his house, and he blew his brains out. Oops.

    I always liked watching “Forensic Files.” It was interesting to see interviews with real lab techs… none of whom looked like Sela Ward. Sad, but there it is.

  9. RS
    March 24th, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

    It’s tempting to think that the set of symptoms defined as Narcissism is something organic, when in reality Narcissists are made; they are not born. The Lohans, Kardashians et al. have never been told “no.” They have never been disabused of the notion that they are the center of the universe. They exist in a very narrow environment, and if they ever had to deal with the problems most people face and overcome, they would find themselves totally unequipped intellectually and emotionally.

    Of course, that’s their problem. Ours is that we provide these people with attention at a minimum and adulation on occasion for “achievements” which consist solely of waking up in the morning and selecting the right colored socks. In other words, their successes are things that most of us learned at age three.

  10. robertstacymccain
    March 24th, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

    It’s unfair to compare her to the Kardashians, who are no-talents “famous for being famous.” I’m not low-rating Lindsay Lohan’s actual achievements. She carried “Mean Girls,” which was both a commercial success and critically praised, and one might have expected a successful career as a comedic actress ahead of her. But something went wrong after that, and Lohan has been unable to get back on track, career-wise, because of her reputation for unreliability.

  11. RS
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

    Alas,–or not–I’ve not heard of Mean Girls until this moment, so I’ll have to take your word for it. Besides, I don’t have time for observing popular culture, because I’m too busy commenting about popular culture on your blog. [Insert Smiley Thing Here]

  12. BigBossOgg
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    Good for you, ErikasPowerMinute! Whether it’s via VChip or by example, if you’ve kept your children from that cr@p, you’re doing it right!

  13. BigBossOgg
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

    Be sure to cue up that “leave Britney alone” crying creature ( boy? girl?) if they return for a refrain, RSMcC.

  14. Mike G.
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

    I often wonder if it’s a curse of working for Disney

  15. Unix-Jedi
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

    I have to admit a fondness for “Alaska State Troopers”. One day they tackled a guy in the woods, and as he came out – refusing to answer questions, he saw the camera.

    He started talking to the camera excitedly then – including the last time he’d been on the show, IIRC….

  16. Anon Y. Mous
    March 24th, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

    So it was nice to watch Episode 3 where, after Lindsay had hamstrung production by refusing to allow the camera crew its scheduled access, Oprah showed up in person to chew her out:

    “When you change a schedule, you know what happens. You’re a professional woman. . . . And it’s not just for you. You’ve got a whole team of people who are relying on you right now for this particular experience, for creating this documentary.”

    I’ve never seen the show, and I think the only time I read about Lohan is when her shenanigans show up on this site’s “LIVE AT FIVE” posts (which I always read). That said, it occurs to me that, much like other reality shows, this whole thing was setup and proceeded according to script.

    Lindsey reverts to her bad girl ways! Oprah shows up and personally chews her out. All for the camera. Sounds like ratings gold.

    BTW, assuming site management is interested in feedback, I sure miss the LIVE AT FIVE feature. When it was happening, I read it everyday. Checking the archives, it looks like it has been on hiatus or cancelled since 3/12/14.

  17. Wombat_socho
    March 24th, 2014 @ 10:28 pm

    Many people have speculated about this.

  18. Wombat_socho
    March 24th, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

    I’ll be honest – during this tax season, it’s been impossible for me to crank out Live At Five and still get enough sleep to function in the tax mines. I’m planning to resume regular Live At Five posting April 17, and in the meantime you get In The Mailbox as a stand-in.

  19. Anon Y. Mous
    March 24th, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

    One more reason to despise the the 16th amendment. Oh well, go chase that filthy lucre, if you must. 🙂

  20. Adjoran
    March 25th, 2014 @ 2:21 am

    To demonstrate the decline of our culture, that guy (yeah, I know) was able to forge some sort of career off of that rant.

  21. Adjoran
    March 25th, 2014 @ 2:45 am

    There really is no comparing Lohan with the Kardashians or Charlie Sheen.

    The Kardashians were the idle rich, thanks to Daddy/ex-hubbie Robert, celebrity attorney, who unwisely left them his millions without a conservator to keep them in check. Kim once dated Nick Lachey, then as much of a celebrity as she could attract. He claims they were met at the movies by paparazzi, who could only have known they would be there if she called them. It is also widely suspected that she herself leaked the sex tape which first brought her notoriety. So they are doing it mainly for the attention, not so much the money.

    Charlie Sheen isn’t seeking publicity of his private life. He had a substantial fortune from his movie career and even residuals from the syndication of Spin City (he replaced Michael Fox due to illness) before he signed onto Two and a Half Men, and made by the end $1.25 million per episode, or $30 million a year up front. When he got fired, he settled for $25 million but kept his syndication rights, estimated worth about 60% of his up-front salary (or roughly $120 million based on his time on the show). So he doesn’t need money. If he’s dysfunctional, at least he keeps out of jail and has sufficient funds for drivers and security to keep him out of serious trouble. And, outside of domestic issues that end up in court, he keeps it to himself.

    Lohan isn’t rich, she squandered her movie money on drugs, parties, an entourage, and extravagant shopping. She needs the reality show to fund her life, and seems shameless enough to be willing to do it, but clueless enough to think she is still big enough to act like a diva.

  22. Adjoran
    March 25th, 2014 @ 2:48 am

    Also, DirectTV informed me last week that they will no longer include OWN in my package effective 1 April, they will still have it but only for the next package up & beyond. Since I deleted OWN from my “favorite channels” lists shortly after its debut, I won’t miss it.

  23. Zohydro
    March 25th, 2014 @ 5:13 am
  24. Wombat_socho
    March 25th, 2014 @ 8:48 am

    I must.

  25. Base Jumpers Arrested | Regular Right Guy
    March 25th, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

    […] #LindsayOnOWN @LindsayLohan: When You Are Your Own Biggest Problem […]