Too Good To Be True, But I’ll Believe It Anyway

21 07 2010

While I have about a ba-jillion other things I should be doing today with my move looming over my head and my apartment still a mess of chaos, I had to say something about this little gossip gem because of the way it perfectly encapsulates the role of rumor in celebrity media and celebrity images.

First, some background. Are we all familiar with Alexis Niers, star of E! reality show Pretty Wild and member of the Hollywood Bling Ring? No? I highly recommend this excellent Vanity Fair article about the celebrity-wannabe and her involvement in both the reality show and the Bling Ring. Niers hates this article and feels it paints her in an unflattering light. But I dare you to watch one episode of Pretty Wild, especially the one where she freaks out about the article, and not see the same fame-hungry ridiculousness on display.

As a side note, I can only imagine how much the E! executives were peeing their pants with excitement when this whole scandal broke out, as they had already signed the family and begun shooting the reality show before the Bling Ring members were arrested and tried in court. I don’t think the particularly successful, in part because they are really all so obnoxious and vapid without a pre-existing reason for us to care about them as celebrities, but this scandal certainly helped draw an audience. It has yet to be picked up for a second season, but when one of your stars is in jail, it’s probably hard to put together a production schedule. ZING!

In a nutshell, while Niers and her family were filming their reality show, the 19-year-old was arrested for being a part of a robbery ring targeting celebrities. Essentially, these spoiled Hollywood teenagers would troll celebrity gossip sites (like Perez and TMZ) in order to case the fashion and jewelry of Hollywood stars. Then, knowing the star was out of town working or whatever (thanks again, gossip media!), they would break into the celeb’s home and steal clothes, jewelry and cash. Their celebrity victims included Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan. Neirs denies that she was actively involved, claiming she didn’t really know what they were doing or whose homes they were in. She is, however, serving a six month jail sentence for her involvement in the heists.

Why is this important now? Unless you’ve been living under rock or simply try to ignore all celebrity-related news (though why are you reading this blog if that’s true?), Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for breaking the terms of her probation. Though there are so many things to be said about this whole celebrity drama, this headline from tabloid-mainstay The New York Daily News’ online outlet struck me as hilarious and perfectly scandal-oriented:

Lindsay Lohan in jail cell next to Alexis Neirs, E! reality star charged with robbing celeb homes

Here we have a headline that adds another level to scandal-du-jour Lohan by putting her in a jail cell NEXT to Alexis Neirs, who allegedly stole a Chanel necklace from Lohan (police found the missing necklace in Neirs’ house during a search related to the Bling Ring case). This allows the audience to speculate about a jail time showdown between the two that calls up both women’s “bad girl” personas. Even a casual glance at celebrity gossip media will illustrate that the tabloids love nothing more than a catfight (real or imagined). Just look at any story involving Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston potentially being in physical proximity of each other.

Celebrity Prison Rumble?: Lohan and Neirs

What’s hilarious and awesome about this is that it isn’t even true, and that the article accompanying this headline tells us its not even true. It states that “it remains unknown whether the women will share the same module,” meaning that not only are they not NEXT to each other, they may not even be in the same part of the jail. But, gossip doesn’t always have to be completely true to be delicious and pleasurable. It just has to speak to some sort of existing knowledge and expectation about a star in order to work. It allows the gossip media to call up other existing scandals (Lohan’s known volatile behavior and the big story of her incarceration, Neirs’ involvement in the Bling Ring and her fame mongering, the overall love of celebrity catfights) to keep the story going. In other words, it’s close enough to true to work as gossip. It doesn’t have to be completely true, but I (and I think gossip audiences more broadly) kind of want it to be…or at least find it entertaining to speculate about what would happen if it WERE true. And that’s key to the pleasures of gossip.

Neirs should probably be grateful that Lohan was sentenced to jail time and is serving in the same facility because it’s getting her name back in the press. For Lohan’s image, this is probably just a minor blip within a larger scandal that won’t really have any lasting effect. For me, the gossip media watcher, its an intriguing mix of fantasy and reality that makes reading celebrity gossip so much fun.

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3 responses

22 07 2010
An Admirer

I asked for a Lindsay post and I got one – yay! And I hadn’t followed the Hollywood Bling Ring very closely; that’s a pretty amusing sidebar to the whole LiLo celeb media coverage.

22 07 2010
erinmeyers

I saw the story on The Insider last night too…they at least did not claim they were cell buddies or next door to each other. Simply that they may be in the same prison. I think it may also be related to the fact that LiLo and her camp (except her dad, who is a rogue agent anyway) have gone silent now that she is in jail. Now LiLo tweets, no Dina random quotes, nada. So they need something to keep the story going.

13 08 2010
sibolga

nice article and great information, i really enjoy reading your blog, thanks for share




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