Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Celebrity justice

I don't know if so many celebrities have ever been in so many bizarre forms of trouble in so short a time before, or if I've just never noticed. I was able to remain pretty impervious to celebrity news and gossip for most of my life, but since getting to law school, anytime a famous person is going to court, I feel compelled to read about it. And now, talk about it.

Lindsay. Oh, Lindsay.

I sometimes get razzed about my Libertarian instincts from my mostly-liberal friends, but honestly, guys, if you wanted to convert me all the way, you should have realized that Lindsay Lohan is the most cogent possible argument for a welfare state that protects people from themselves. I have often defended Lindsay Lohan. Not that I've ever thought her immaturity and excess were okay, but at least there was always a legitimate core to her fame and to her access to all those many things she loves to abuse. She made movies, and they were pretty good (I liked "Mean Girls"), and she was pretty good in them, even if she always sort of played the same character: a non-drunk version of herself...which I suppose actually took some acting chops for the last few films. Anyways.

But it was still better than Paris Hilton, that spoiled, booze-swilling, chain-smoking, famous-for-being-famous human pincushion of a wasteland who had her "fans" (God knows what they were actually fans of) supporting her through her legal tribulations. I'm sorry, that's not fair, I don't know if Paris Hilton smokes.

At this point, though, I think Lindsay has crossed that line where she has exhausted all of the goodwill she built up with me by demonstrating a modicum of talent before exploding with the fury of 10,000 burning suns. A man can only take so many DUIs...my days as a Lindsay Lohan apologist are over. Even with Britney Spears apparently melting down again (good news, kids: apparently, "this week, on newsstands Friday, the truth will be told"), Lindsay manages to hold the "stereotypically worthless celebrity waste of space" title. Bravo.

The Michael Vick dogfighting case, on the other hand, is a whole new kind of celebrity justice animal. The stuff in the indictment is pretty hard to believe, but for all my usual skepticism of the government, I actually give an incredible amount of credence to whatever the U.S. Attorney's Office says. First of all, these are not the crummy lawyers I was complaining about the last time I discussed the state of America's legal public servants. U.S. Attorneys are typically good-to-great lawyers, and it's hard not to want to give them the benefit of the doubt. And in this case, I think there's even more reason to.

Think about it: (1) U.S. Attorneys win. A lot. They don't bring cases they don't expect to win. (2) They definitely don't bring cases they don't expect to win against celebrities, when the whole world is watching. (3) They super definitely don't bring cases they don't expect to win against celebrities, when the whole world is watching, and when the country is reeling with one cautionary tale after another of hotheaded prosecutors getting crucified for overplaying their hands in high-profile cases. You think the U.S. Attorney in Virginia didn't read a few articles about Mike Nifong (of Duke Lacrosse fame), or Rocky Delgadillo (tormentor of Paris Hilton)? Or whoever prosecuted Kobe Bryant? Maybe he even dug deep into the archives to pull up something about Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, who you may remember from the last time a high-profile football player was on trial in front of the whole country (though Marcia did get that sweet Court TV gig out of it). He knows the consequences if he loses. I don't think he's going to.

Okay, that satisfies my obligation to say something about Lohan and Vick. I can only pray that this Lindsay Lohan situation doesn't evolve into an obsession for me the way that Paris Hilton did. God help me, I was reading TMZ! Thank God that's over.

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