Thursday, July 26, 2007

Distraction -- Robin

How am I supposed to get any writing done when I’m spending my time worrying about Lindsay Lohan? Seriously…that’s the kind of stuff I’ve been worrying about! (That, and the fact that my silver dress for the costume party at SCBWI’s national conference doesn’t exactly fit right now.)

The reason why I’m worried about Lindsay has to do with the teen girls who idolize her more than her as a person. As a writer, I’m obsessed with what my audience is obsessed about. And I can’t help but wonder if the bad behavior of some of these young Hollywood-ites (Britney, Paris, Lindsay, etc.) affects teen girls in some way.

When I was a teen (I know…yawn!) I was growing up when the “Brat Pack” was coming of age. You know…Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe (well, the entire cast of St. Elmo’s Fire). And my music idols (as far as girls went) were the Go-Go’s. We got the beat! Come on, you know you loved it, too. I pretty much wanted to be Belinda Carlisle. What an absolute babe!

But I can’t imagine if one day my mother had come into my room (while I was dancing to Vacation and wearing tons of bracelets on my arms with my hair in a straight-up pony tail) and told me that Belinda Carlisle had been arrested for DUI, felony cocaine possession, had shaved her head, shown her hoo-hoo to the paparazzi, trashed her dressing room, and, oh yeah, you can now download her sex tape on the internet. Can you imagine!?

Granted, there was plenty of partying back then. It just wasn’t “top of the hour” news on CNN. We weren’t being crammed with the personal antics of our idols and how this should “worry” us. Now the public can’t get enough of celebrity bad behavior, as if they’re watching the stories of characters, not people. So should teen writers create characters that will satiate the public’s need for watching people be bad?

The thing is, I understand that girls who are “bad” make good characters. Remember Rayanne, Angela’s wild best friend on My So-Called Life? I loved watching that show just so I could see how wild she would get. Watching someone whose lifestyle was just a hair out of touch from my own was exhilarating. But compared to the Lindsay-Paris-Britney girls of today, Rayanne was a pussy cat!

So I can’t help but wonder…is the base of knowledge teen girls have regarding drinking/sex/drugs so much higher than it was for us at that age? Do we need to amp up our characters we’re writing about and make them even wilder in order to keep things authentic? Or is this a case of Three Girls Gone Wild Who Will Crash and Burn for Our Entertainment?

Whatever the case, I’m now going to focus all my worrying on this silver dress of mine that doesn’t fit. Otherwise, I might run into Paris and she’ll say, “That’s not hot.”

- Robin


daphne grab said...

robin, i wonder a lot about this stuff, partly as the mom of a girl and also as a writer. i think there must be impact and it definitely worries me.

and i'll be the first to admit that i had the beat in the 80's! only i wanted to be molly ringwald- i think it's a red head thing

Colorado Writer said...

I had the beat, too! And my nickname was Molly because my boyfriend thought I looked like her.

Yes, we should worry about Lindsey Lohan. 15 is the new 21!

Disco Mermaids said...

I don't get it. What do you expect the news to talk about? Maybe I'm out of the loop, but is there anything else going on that we should be more concerned about as a nation?

I mean, they didn't name it Celebrity News Network for nothin'!

- Jay

Rilla said...

Keep the commoners happy with bread and circus and they will not notice what the government is there's an ancient idea for you...nothing new about nothing in the news when those at the top want you to keep your nosy meddling fingers out of their shady affairs...especially when it involves gobbling up civil rights.
And as for beefing up the your own characters to match the antics of the young and restless...why? They're already out there for entertainment...why not keep your own characters people whom young girls can relate to, respect and maybe model their lives after...there's a desperate need out there for strong, real women protagonists in my humble opinion at least...
I'm afraid my silver dress doesn't fit either ;(

Disco Mermaids said...

Lotta silver dress issues out there! Lindsay, Paris, etc would be proud if they could see what I'll be showing off in mine. Waaay too short, man! Seriously, must go out and get a new conference party outfit immediately. Robin, come pick me up!

Anyway, the teen queen idols of the world have always been partiers (believe me, Belinda was doing some insane stuff back in the day...I saw it on VH1 Behind the Music). However, you're right. The media seemed to be respectful and showed a lot of discretion back in the day, so we -the fans- looked up to the squeaky clean side of their images, and were pretty oblivious to what really went on. Thank goodness!

I don't know what the fascination is with the young girl celebs gone wild. But I also think that smart teens are laughing at their antics. Those teens who are looking up to these girls as role models...well, they end up on Jerry Springer, and at least they're serving a purpose by entertaining the rest of us!

Ooohh, I'm outta here!


Colorado Writer said...

I get my celebrity news on two blogs.

It's usually up-to-the-minute stuff.

LindaBudz said...

I agree with Eve (well, maybe not 100% on the Jerry Springer part) ... teens with any type of heads on their shoulders look at Paris & Co. as a joke.

And as rilla noted, more good role models are in order. So let's try to highlight the strong, sensible women in our lives and our world wherever we can.

Anonymous said...

do you think when they sober up they will write children's books??


Disco Mermaids said...

Kinda glad to hear I'm not the only one with silver dress issues.

And Laura, let's hope they don't write any children's books when they get sober. Unless they write one called "Don't Let Me Drive the Bus."


Emily Jiang said...

Robin, I completely agree that the behavior of certain teen queen celebs is really out of control. Yet I think we as writers need to be true to the characters we create.

I ordered my dress for LA and received it, and it's not really silver! Whoops.

cynjay said...

I think they do identify with these celebs to some extent. My just-out-of-teenage hood was wearing a thong way too young, got her belly button pierced when she was about 16 and has tons of designer duds (including three Coach purses - hello? I'm, ahem, a lot older than she is and not one graces my closet).

Sure they sit back and laugh at what idiots they're being, but sometimes they have to be reminded that they don't actually KNOW these people.

cynjay said...

Previous post should have read: just out of teenagehood SISTER. Been a long weekend.