Pop Culture

Jail might be only way to save Lindsay Lohan

Incarceration isn’t pretty. Just ask Paris Hilton. She went through hell. No iPod. No cell phone (unless the head of the guards brought her one, as has been alleged). No pricey moisturizers, no little dog, no VIP section. It’s just time in a cell, watching the clock tick, watching the calendar leaves flip.

Yet in her case, prison was punishment. In Lindsay Lohan’s, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

Early on Tuesday morning, Lohan was arrested again, this time in Santa Monica, Calif. Police were called because they got a report that her car was chasing another. She failed a sobriety test, and cops also found cocaine on her. She was booked on two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and with a suspended license, as well as two felony charges of possession of cocaine and transport of a narcotic.

Remember, she just got out of rehab.

Lohan had made news recently because she was wearing an ankle bracelet that detected the presence of alcohol in her system. No word on whether it went on the fritz, or if it was also programmed to detect cocaine.

What everyone else can now detect, however, is a young woman completely out of control who is in a world of trouble.

Lindsay Lohan is now officially the Robert Downey Jr. of her generation. And I say that with all due respect to Downey, who once was a mess but who has cleaned up his life and is back to doing excellent work, as in “Zodiac.”

‘I like the taste of the gun metal’The Downey comparison is appropriate because when he was going through his troubles he kept going before a judge and kept pleading for another chance — and to stay out of jail. After numerous run-ins with the law, he told one judge in 1999: “It’s like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger. And I like the taste of the gun metal.”

Downey spent a short time in prison. Three months after he got out, he was arrested again on drug charges. That killed his gig on “Ally McBeal.”

One of the big differences here is that Downey was an Oscar nominee, in 1992 for “Chaplin.” In other words, he had a career. He reached a certain rarified place in the business. Creatively, he fulfilled his potential. But drugs plagued his career from a business standpoint. He became unemployable for a time. Only a slow march toward sobriety enabled him to rebound and work again, and the cold slap of jail time undoubtedly had something to do with setting him straight.

Lohan has an enormous amount of talent, but unlike Downey she hasn’t distinguished herself as an actress. Sure, she was good in “Mean Girls” and “A Prairie Home Companion,” even “Herbie Fully Loaded.”

Yet Hollywood is all about perception. And what do people remember most, her roles in those films and others? Or the car accidents and partying?

That’s why she belongs in jail. For her own good.

Nothing else seems to work. She was shamed publicly when Morgan Creek CEO James G. Robinson, producer of “Georgia Rule,” ripped her in a letter for conduct he called “irresponsible and unprofessional.” It’s extremely rare when an executive calls out a star like that, because nobody in the business wants to burn bridges. The fact that Robinson went public underlines the level of exasperation around everyone who has to deal with the starlet.

It’s also important to note the reaction of Lohan’s mother Dina to Robinson’s letter. She told Access Hollywood about a year ago: “The wording was ridiculous … Maybe he has personal issues with whomever and it came out with my child. I don’t know him. I can’t judge him. I don’t think it was a smart thing to do to a young girl.”

Instead of talking to Access Hollywood, maybe Dina Lohan should have spent more time talking to her daughter about her wild and erratic behavior.

Parent trapWith parents like Dina and Michael, her father who has spent considerable time in prison and who has blamed his ex-wife for his daughter’s problems, it’s understandable why Lindsay would act out.

But enough’s enough. She turned 21 on July 2. There are no more excuses. The public is tired of hearing about the latest Lindsay Lohan arrest. Hollywood is becoming increasingly hesitant to have anything to do with her. Major motion pictures have to secure insurance on productions, and studios will find it tougher now to do so since Lohan has had another major arrest so soon after getting out of rehab.

It’s Robert Downey Jr. all over again for them, and that actor knows how difficult it was to climb back from the abyss both personally and professionally.

Jail might not be the perfect solution, but it’s a terrific last resort. Spending an extended period of time in a facility where your freedom is taken away can be eye-opening. Lohan won’t be able to drive her white Denali SUV, she won’t be able to text-message her party-girl pals, she won’t be able to cavort with the latest boyfriend.

Above all, she won’t be coddled. Even if Paris Hilton did indeed get a few extra privileges from the guards, the outcry from that will be such that this time Lohan will be treated like any other inmate for the most part.

A stable two-parent household is ideal. In this case, it’s too late. Everybody has to deal with the cards they’re dealt, and apparently Lohan has been using her cards to cut up lines of cocaine.

Somebody has to come along and impose some discipline in her life before she completely self-destructs. Maybe it’s time for a warden, some guards and a bunch of other inmates to take over parenting chores.

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