January 31, 2007
Celebrity rehab: one-stop redemption shopping
The Guardian has an essay today chronicling our favorite trend of 2006: celebrities checking into rehab to try to redeem themselves when they get busted for doing something idiotic or illegal that doesn't actually have anything to do with addiction.
So far we've got:
Screw-up: Fighting with co-stars, using homophobic slur
Went to rehab for: some unidentified problem, possibly anger management?
And let's not forget old favorite Jim McGreevey
Screw-up: putting his secret boyfriend on the state payroll in a made-up job that he wasn't qualified for
Went to a "treatment center" for: an "addiction to being adored by strangers", whatever that is.
And this Guardian piece alerted me to two others.
Jade Goody, from the UK's recently ended Big Brother season
Screw-up: racist comments about another contestant, Shilpa Shetty--called her "Shilpa Poppadom" and "Shilpa Fuckawallah" and was generally an odious tv-famous moron
Went to rehab for: "stress and depression", hopefully at the same made-up rehab clinic that Isaiah Washington is at
The essay also claims an arguable trendsetting example, from way back in 2002:
If only Robert Downey, Jr. had been so lucky.
But, as the essayist says, "the question remains: how much of an atonement is it when you admit yourself and you're not even really addicted to anything?" Checking yourself into rehab as a self-created punishment for unrelated sins doesn't do anything to solve your real problem (racism, pedophilia, sticky fingers, etc.) and comes off as a pathetic attempt to make the public feel sorry for you. No one had any hard feelings toward Winona, whose crime probably only made more people feel like they could relate to her (especially teenage girls, who love to shoplift), but Mel and the rest of these guys don't seem to have anyone fooled.
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