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Can Lindsay save herself from Britneyville?

She should be ecstatic. Lindsay just got out of rehab, but it seems she has been in almost as many times as she’s been on a movie set. Even if the numbers are in the same ballpark, that’s an extremely poor ratio. The difference is that in rehab, they make you show up and on time — or else they kick you out. On a movie set, Lindsay can show up whenever she wants, and she usually does, often t

She should be ecstatic.

Lindsay just got out of rehab, but it seems she has been in almost as many times as she’s been on a movie set. Even if the numbers are in the same ballpark, that’s an extremely poor ratio. The difference is that in rehab, they make you show up and on time — or else they kick you out. On a movie set, Lindsay can show up whenever she wants, and she usually does, often tired and sporting a hangover.

But that may change now, which gets us back to Britney.

Lindsay and Britney, Britney and Lindsay. The two sound like old school chums. In a real life “Mean Girls,” they would be texting each other during class about whose reputation they’d love to ruin. They’re alpha females, each with a bevy of worshippers in tow.

In reality, though the two have partied together before, Lindsay should remain as far away from Britney as possible, both physically and philosophically. If Lindsay knows what’s good for her, she’ll do anything she has to do — even more rehab — to avoid becoming just like her club-hopping friend.

She’s on the precipice. One more slip and she’ll land headfirst in Britneyville, which would be too bad, because Lindsay actually has talent.

Britney’s a pop-music fabrication, so it’s no surprise to see her flaming out before our eyes. Notice how she feigns outrage at the paparazzi, her way of attracting even more attention. A report in the U.K.’s News of the World quoted a friend of hers as saying that Britney is afraid she’ll suffer the same fate as Princess Diana. But that’s silly — she craves the spotlight. What she is terrified of is being forgotten.

In her case, that may be unavoidable. She is the Madonna of her generation, but without a dollop of the personal discipline necessary to stay on top.

Cringe worthy

At the mention of Britney’s name, people now cringe, expecting the latest embarrassing development. As ridiculous as somebody may be, it’s always a little uncomfortable to see a fellow human being crumble before your very eyes.

When a judge decrees that Kevin Federline should get custody of the former couple’s children, it means Britney has really smacked the pavement with her face. If it isn’t some story about how her kids were improperly placed in their car seats, it’s a shaved head, a fender bender or a report about how she went right to a Los Angeles nightclub to party after the judge in her custody case ordered her to undergo random drug tests.

If Lindsay is indeed sober, then maybe she can see all that’s happening with Britney, look at herself in the mirror and proclaim, “Not me!”

It will take the recognition on her part that rehab isn’t just a destination to visit when she hits a career pothole, but rather, a new way of life. Wearing an electronic ankle bracelet didn’t seem to work too well the last time. It’s beyond gimmicks now. For Lindsay, it’s about whether she wants to reach her potential as an actress or if she wants to spiral downward.

Obvious answer

The right answer sounds obvious. But again, consider Britney. There is ample evidence that Britney is incinerating her own career with each new erratic choice. Yet for whatever reason, she feels more comfortable doing that. It probably involves the absence of anyone in her circle to tell her bluntly what a clown she has become. In retrospect, for all his own shortcomings, Federline was probably the most mature and influential human in her recent life. That probably explains why she discarded him.

There is a video going around on the Internet that has become legendary in a short period of time. It features a fan of Britney’s who cries and pleads angrily, “Leave Britney alone!” The guy – who, incidentally, lists Miss Piggy as his hero on his MySpace page — already got a deal out of it. Someone that freaky can become famous in a nanosecond. And just as quickly, he can be forgotten.

Lindsay should take a hard look at that space cadet because he is a fame dandelion. In a puff, he’ll be gone with the breeze. He represents all that is temporary and obnoxious. Today’s culture rewards the empty barrels making the most noise, but it also disposes of them faster than ever.

Lindsay should understand that there is a thin line between her and Britney’s carnival of the garish and absurd. It’s a line she should take great pains to avoid crossing.