Lindsay Lohan sheds clothes, not cynics

This isn’t so much about the Lindsay Lohan nude photos (NSFW) as it is about the predictable blog reaction:

Spoiled Pretty: “what baffles me is why legendary photographer Bert Stern chose Lohan to recreate the shots that Marilyn Monroe made famous. Makes you wonder who turned him down before Linsday jumped at the bit.”

The FiveForty: “As we mentioned yesterday, probably everybody expected Lohan to pose nude eventually, particularly in light of her declining career—so the fact that she posed nude isn’t surprising.”

Feministing: “I am appalled. Not because Lohan is pictured nude – to each their own on that front – but because there seems to be no awareness whatsoever about how this spread fetishizes the death and downfall of women in the public eye.” (Some of the commenters in a rather intelligent thread point out that it’s not so different from James Dean and River Phoenix fetishes, and I’d add Jim Morrison to that list. “He’s hot, he’s sexy, he’s dead,” indeed.)

If You Write It: “As has been noted elsewhere, Lindsay Lohan is no Marilyn Monroe. Even a nude Lindsay Lohan is still just Lindsay Lohan. Except for that drugged out look of the-end-is-near in her flat eyes , she has none of Marilyn Monroe’s charisma.” (So, wait, the drugged out look was part of Marilyn Monroe’s charisma?)

Kottke (et tu?): “This photo shoot of Lindsey Lohan as Marilyn Monroe only serves to underscore how unlike (and inferior) Lohan is compared to Monroe.”

(OK, the Gawker limericks are pretty funny.)

Those of you who know me know that I love to tweak conventional wisdom. So here goes …

1. Two words for those who want to write off Lohan at this stage of her career: Drew Barrymore. And Drew hadn’t done half as much substantial work as Lohan before she went into her wild years. By the time Mean Girls came out in 2004, Lohan was a well-regarded teen actress. She was also damn good on Saturday Night Live.

2. Monroe, on the other hand, was a model who had some “work” done before she broke through as an actress.

To recap so far: Lohan was a well-regarded actress who became known as a “babe.” Monroe was a well-regarded babe who became a well-regarded actress.

3. Read the story, and you’ll see that Lohan is well aware of the Monroe history and is determined to avoid living the last few months of it.

4. If you ask me, the more control a woman has over her nudity, the less it bothers me. This isn’t a desperate Dana Plato turning to Playboy and some questionable films.

5. And it’s not quite as hypocritical as, say, Avril Lavigne on Maxim.

No, the Lohan portfolio isn’t some iconic piece of art, though it’s certainly the most interesting nudity I’ve seen since … I don’t know, some dance performance in college? But neither should it be an excuse to trot all sorts of overly romanticized notions of the past. This isn’t Tawny Kitaen reprising Meryl Streep’s role in Sophie’s Choice (or even the underrated Postcards from the Edge). It’s not Pink attempting Barracuda. It’s a troubled, frequently downloaded actress recognizing history.

And we say kids don’t care about history these days.

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One Response to Lindsay Lohan sheds clothes, not cynics

  1. Neel Mehta says:

    Two words for those who want to write off Lohan at this stage of her career: Drew Barrymore.

    Interesting comparison. As recently as a few years ago, I would’ve said Lindsay was the better actress. But clearly, Drew’s got a better head on her shoulders.

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