It must be very important that “LiLo” is going to “lose her clothes,” in an upcoming movie, because this story about her nakedness is one of the top headlines on today’s homepage of MSNBC. Here’s the essence of this important “news”:
Set to play a “nymphomaniac waitress” in “Florence,” Lindsay purportedly countered the producers’ request for a topless sex scene with a “full frontal” offer. “She is fully aware of the potential of her body,” a Tinseltown pal insisted. “Lindsay wants to build up an image as a mature, responsible actress.”
Yeah, she’s pretty, but pretty women can be found in many places and most of those sightings are not newsworthy. Is all of this media attention occurring because Lohan is a woman who will be appearing naked? No, seeing a naked woman is cheap and easy (for instance, I’ve heard that one can Google “naked women” and find lots of photos and videos of naked women on the Internet. Caveat: In no way am I suggesting that all of the naked women you might find on the Internet are also pretty).
I think this media attention regarding Lohan is because a lot of people will be “getting what they covet” when they see Lindsay Lohan naked. I’m reminded of being in high school, where one of the guys brags to a big group of guys that he had sex with one of the cheerleaders. If the guy didn’t have high social ranking before that, he would then. For men watching Lohan’supcoming movie, it might be akin to getting a chance to have sex with that pretty cheerleader who had, until that moment, ignored you (I’m speaking to all of you out there who were not the quarterback on your high school team).
The media makes money by presenting Lohan in such a way that many of her fans feel that they know her. The media has now announced this “gift” to many of her male movie fans, who will soon be able to brag: “I saw Lindsay Lohan naked last night. I was “with” her at the movie theater.” Or, at least, that is how the imagination will conjure it.
[Of course, Lohan's nude appearance will be of interest to women movie-goers too. One reason is that women might want to be in the vicinity while their male signicant others drool at the screen. Another reason is that Lohan's nudity will trigger immense amounts of personal insecurity that most people feel in the presence of those dolled up (or buffed up) movie stars. There are other reasons too, many of them anticipated by Darwin's theory of sexual selection.]
Or maybe this Lohan “news” is an issue that has to do with the immense power of crowds. This news of Lohan’s nudity creates an excitement in the air, because Lindsay Lohan will be seen naked by millions of people when the movie is released. When a lot of people do something at the same time, it makes that thing seem important no matter how trite or strange the thing is (consider the American celebration of Christmas, for example)
The anticipated crush of gawking movie-goers makes Lindsay’s future nakedness “important.” This Lohan story is another mass media concoction, like so many others that have preceded it. Such stories draw in huge amounts of people, I suspect, because they are expected to draw in huge amounts of people. Everybody’s going to be watching, so everybody needs to watch. It’s like the Oscars, parades, church ceremonies (including Gerald Ford’s funeral ) and so many other big public spectacles that are actually tedious, but they seem important because there are so many people there. And many of these people gather for such occasions primarily because they expect so many other people to gather for the occasion. I’ve previously written on this compelling topic: Many things seem important because many other people think they’re important.
To illustrate the power of crowds to make trite things seem important, imagine two major league baseball teams playing an unnanounced game on a high school baseball field rather than in a stadium. Imagine that only a dozen fans are watching the game. No matter how hard fought that game is, it’s not going to seem as important as a lackluster game played in a big stadium filled with people and television cameras.
Out of all the possible headlines concerning truly important topics, why would any legitimate news organization present a headline that Lindsay Lohan will be naked in her next movie? Here’s the obvious answer: Because it’s not a totally legitimate news organization. Lohan’s story is fake news that distracts and amuses us, while we nonetheless use our review of “news” sites to convince ourselves that we are well-informed citizens.
Compare Lindsay Lohan’s “exposure” to an incredible event that was not on MSNBC’s home page today. It was recently revealed that many of our highest government officials (Attorney General John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet And Condoleezza Rice) approved of the use of torture. Apparently, this new revelation that the “world’s greatest democracy” secretly approved blatant forms of torture is not as important as seeing Lindsay Lohan naked, because these high level government torture meetings are not featured on the homepage of MSNBC.
Why don’t people care about our highest government officials secretly approving of torture? It’s the same rule at play, I suspect. Some things seem not to be important just because there’s no at the scene to show that it is important. I know that there’s a circularity about the process, but that’s apparently the way it is . . .
Perhaps we need to fill up a huge sports stadium with thousands of people to discuss how disgusting it is that our government officials secretly sanctioned torture. The first few times, we might have to entice people to come by offering them two beers for the price of one or photo opportunities with “Oscar,” the official anti-torture mascot.
After we filled up such a stadium a few times, maybe the early crowds would attract future crowds. Maybe it would ultimately catch on, and even the apathetic masses would find heinous and deceitful acts of torture to be as “important” as baseball games. Or maybe even as important as Lindsay Lohan’s bare body.