Before I begin I want to say that I realize that we are a nation engulfed in two wars, not to mention the worst environmental disaster we've ever seen and that there are, tragically, a number of wrongfully convicted people behind bars. In short, I know that there are a million other things and people that deserve our attention. So just consider this my moment of weakness in which I write about one of the million things (or people to be precise) who perhaps doesn't deserve our attention, but is managing to command it anyway: Lindsay Lohan.
Despite my strong feelings about crimes like drunk driving, I will admit that I happen to feel sorry for Lohan. I've noticed this sentiment doesn't appear to be shared in the blogosphere where her jail sentence has been met with a mixture of ridicule, and somewhat gleeful "we all knew this was only a matter of time."
So below are my reasons for actually feeling sympathy for everybody's favorite "Mean Girl" and cyberspace's favorite punching bag.
5. We All Saw this Coming
Any of us who read the Vanity Fair cover story in which a defiant Lohan proclaimed, "Yeah, motherf*%ker I'm fine," (a catchphrase that even inspired its own shirt), all knew that "Uh ... no Lindsay, you're not." And yet it were as though -- like watching a slow-moving, multi-year train wreck -- we were powerless stop it, yet that didn't stop us from watching all along and remarking on the potential casualties.
4. Unlike Fellow Trainwreck Paris Hilton, Lohan Never Seemed Like A Real Life Mean Girl
I'll admit to not shedding a tear when Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail time. (Okay I might have let out a giggle or two.) What's the difference between the two equally trouble-prone paparazzi magnets? Well, aside from the fact that Lohan actually has some talent, the real difference is that Hilton's various racial epithets and numerous spats (including helping to couch an unfortunate, infamous nickname for Lohan) seemed to indicate that she had less than zero to contribute to society (besides an unfortunate cd.) Lohan, on the other hand, is an arguable talent whose charming turns alongside everyone from Meryl Streep to Tina Fey seemed to portend a promising future -- if only she had the stability to keep it all together. Furthermore, it appears that all of the trouble that Lohan has had -- most of it substance abuse related -- never came from a malicious place. Watching Lohan descend even further into her abyss was sort of like watching Amy Winhouse -- an also talented yet tragic figure -- do the same. What they both have in common is that they have never seemed mean at all, just sick and very, very sad.
3. Her Wildly Entertaining Turn In Mean Girls (And Stint On SNL)
Not much to add here, except to say it's hard to remember the days when Lindsay Lohan was actually known for her acting ability. It almost seems a lifetime ago. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll be putting her in the same category as Mickey Rourke for Talent-turned-disaster-turned-comeback of the century.
2. Her Family
No one's family is perfect. In fact the definition of a "normal" American family is usually one that has simply mastered the art of being functionally dysfunctional. (Shout out to my own.) But when you look at Lohan's family, from the mother who's exploited her as a meal ticket (and most recently as an ice-cream ticket) for much of her life, to the father who's pimped out her privacy to the highest bidder in exchange for his own shot at Z-list fame, it's enough to drive any sane person to insanity...and frankly to drive a sober person to drink. The biggest difference between the child stars who become Ron Howard or Jodie Foster, versus those who become Gary Coleman? You guessed it. The fam.
1. Because Going To Jail Is The Best Thing That's Happened To This Girl In Years
Though definitely a good thing for those of us who don't want to face drunk drivers on the road, being sentenced to jail time could also quite possibly save Lindsay Lohan's life, forcing her to take a break from the host of apparently unhealthy influences around her, from controlled (and not controlled) substances, to her family. Just think about that for a moment. By going to jail and rehab this person might actually be happier, healthier and better off than by being a celebrity who's free to walk the streets.
Makes some of our own lives not seem so bad by comparison, huh? Which is why I feel sorry for her.
Follow Keli Goff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/keligoff