- Last weekend, Lindsay Lohan had a party in the Betty Ford Clinic satellite house she's been staying in. Her roommates were caught "drinking heavily," and on the same night, Lindsay and her friends may have gone to a bar.
- There's no evidence that Lindsay was drinking, but Betty Ford officials decided not to let her leave for Christmas in light of the incident. She's also gone back to the main facility, supposedly not as punishment, but for "intensive therapy." [TMZ]
- Shania Twain is reportedly engaged to Frédéric Thiébaud. The two started dating after their exes had an affair that ended their respective marriages. A source says, "They've been engaged a couple months." [People]
- Tracy Morgan had a kidney transplant on December 10. He's doing well and was already spotted out at a Knicks game, but he'll miss two episode of 30 Rock. [EW]
- Vince Vaughn is a dad. His wife gave birth to their daughter Locklyn on Saturday. [Us]
- Simon Cowell will be knighted in 2011. [N.Y. Post]
- Britain's TV regulatory body will investigate claims that the Christina Aguilera and Rihanna's performances on the X Factor finale were too raunchy. [NYT]
- Christina has managed to move on with her life. She celebrated her 30th birthday at a French ski resort with her new boyfriend. [People]
- Paris Hilton has her own motorcycle team or something. Honestly, this was too stupid for me to make sense of. [AP]
- When paparazzi screamed rude questions about Zac Efron at Vanessa Hudgens, she said, "We're good." [E!]
- How Do You Know made just $7.6 million this past weekend, which only covered half of Reese Witherspoon's paycheck. [Us]
- Kelsey Grammer has been offered $1 million to endorse a website for women seeking sugar daddies, but there's no chance he'll take the offer. [Radar]
- Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Eric's sister on That '70s Show, was recently arrested for DUI. Her mug shot looks really sad. [E!]
- When a Newsweek reporter asked Tyler Winklevoss, "Did a lot of girls contact you and your brother after the movie?" he replied, "Um … uh. We've been, uh, we've been pretty busy. Uh …I'd prefer not to comment on that. No …I don't know. Yeah, I'd prefer not to go there. Is this for NEWSWEEK?" [N.Y. Mag]
- You can snark all you want about James Franco hosting the Oscars, but he says, "I'm happy to take the criticism. Even if it's ‘The Worst Oscars Ever,' I don't care. It's one night of the year." [EW]
I can’t tell you how much many of these comments about Lindsay Lohan sadden me. The fact that "addiction is an illness" is not just a slogan, folks—it means that it is hard to overcome—and most often underlying mental illness is finding expression in the self-destructive behavior. Yes, you have to be willing to fight it, but that alone doesn’t mean it will be a straight line—or even that it will be possible in all cases, until the underlying cause is treated. And the fact is that addicts have a different brain chemistry—study after study after study show this. But even beyond brain chemistry: if you can't stop doing something even though doing it hurts yourself and other people, then you have a mental illness. It can be alcoholism, or anorexia, or heroin addiction.
I wouldn’t expect people to say to me, "Oh, your breast cancer recurred? What a FAIL on your part! I am so sick of hearing about it—don’t you want to get well? What a train wreck you are!" I do want to get well, of course, but I am also pretty sure that the disease will get me in the end. And nobody blames me if the treatment is not working—they blame the treatment, or at least think it wasn’t efficacious in my case and that I needed something else (maybe something they haven’t found yet).
I have seen people comment on this site, "I don’t think jail helps addiction but if the system is going to mean anything, she has to go." Those folk would never have said, "I don’t think gays and lesbians should be excluded from military service, but if the system is going to mean anything, they’d better be discharged." (For countless other examples, pick your own least favorite stupid and unjust law.)
Such commentators need to know that you are doing damage. People reading the comments will bleed inside. Plenty of us have lost someone to addiction, have struggled with it ourselves, have struggled and struggled with someone whose illness is resisting treatment—and yes, it’s the illness that resists treatment (as all illnesses do), not the person. Lindsay Lohan is not your audience here. The rest of us are, and some of us are crumbling inside to read.
But mostly, as someone on the older end of readers, I can’t help grieving for the commentators. Feeling unsympathetic, feeling superior, using someone’s tragedy—no matter what its source—as an opportunity to be clever or breezy or, yes, bitchy—that is not good for a person. You are hardening yourselves. And there’s no clinic for that.