star light, star blight

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENVIRONMENT -

The mis­deeds of celebri­ties are le­gion.

FOR­MER Guns N’ Roses gui­tarist Slash likes to tell the story of how he came to wear a top hat – he stole it from a Hollywood store in the 1980s af­ter try­ing it on and lik­ing the look.

Few peo­ple would bat an eye­lid at the rev­e­la­tion that Slash, who fronts his own band now, was a shoplifter. In fact, his street cred goes up be­cause rock­ers are ex­pected to be anti-es­tab­lish­ment, and steal­ing from stores is still seen by some as thumb­ing one’s nose at author­ity.

But there is no rea­son for us to em­u­late the stars’ mis­deeds. Many of them, like Slash, do it for the street cred they be­lieve they will get. Oth­ers do so be­cause they are drunk, of­ten on their own suc­cess, or suf­fer from un­man­age­able anger and a lack of self­con­trol.

They do it be­cause deep down, they be­lieve that they can get away with it, of­ten with just a slap on the wrist, and in the worst-case sce­nario whereby they do get pun­ished, they can make a come­back, even af­ter jail stints. And they do it be­cause even if, for some rea­son, they lose their flavour with fans, many of them are wealthy enough to not have to work an­other day for the rest of their lives.

For­mer Guns N’ Roses gui­tarist Slash once stole a top hat that he fan­cied.

In Amer­i­can en­ter­tain­ment tabloids and mag­a­zines, the acronyms DUI and DWI are close to be­com­ing full-fledged words in their own right and are of­ten used with­out the need to re­fer to what they stand for – driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence (of al­co­hol or drugs), and driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated.

Celebri­ties caught DUI-ing and DWI-ing are Ac­tress Lind­say Lo­han has been in and out of jail for drunk-driv­ing. a dime a dozen.

Get­ting drunk and get­ting high ap­pear to be com­mon vices among Hollywood celebri­ties, a reg­u­lar suc­ces­sion of whom seem to think noth­ing of get­ting be­hind the wheel while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs.

A num­ber of them do get caught, but usu­ally only when there is a traf­fic stop or a pa­trol car hap­pens to be pass­ing by as they are weav­ing in and out of traf­fic, or when they get their cars wrapped around a tree, a street­lamp pole, or a no-park­ing sign, which seems to be a celebrity favourite.

The celebrity DUI alumni list reads like a Hollywood who’s who, with stars such as Mel Gib­son, Thomas Jane and Mis­cha Bur­ton be­ing placed on pro­ba­tion for their of­fences. They are part of the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of celebri­ties who re­ceived fines and were or­dered to go for rehabilitation or to at­tend Al­co­holics Anony­mous meet­ings, depend­ing on whether it was drugs or al­co­hol.

Such pun­ish­ments are like a slap on the wrist, yet there are celebri­ties who vi­o­late the terms of their pro­ba­tion – by get­ting caught again for the same of­fence, by not com­plet­ing their rehabilitation, by not at­tend­ing AA meet­ings, or by test­ing pos­i­tive for drugs.

Lind­say Lo­han, for in­stance, has been in and out of jail, al­beit for short pe­ri­ods, af­ter two DUI of­fences in 2007 due to var­i­ous vi­o­la­tions of her pro­ba­tion, in­clud­ing fail­ing drug tests.

The court took a dim view of Lo­han’s de­nials that she had not been drink­ing when the alarm sounded on the court-man­dated al­co­hol-mon­i­tor­ing an­kle bracelet Lo­han had to wear.

Lo­han’s mother Dina later claimed that some­one had spilled a drink on her daugh­ter’s leg on the night in ques­tion, set­ting off the alarm. Lo­han faces a 180-day sen­tence if she is un­able to stay clean.

Other celebri­ties – such as Ni­cole Richie, Paris Hil­ton, Ge­orge Michael and Kiefer Suther­land – have also served jail time for their vi­o­la­tions, but their ex­am­ples have not been very ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing the num­ber of celebrity DUI of­fences.

Part of their im­punity is surely de­rived from the lack of real con­se­quences to them­selves. Even in jail, celebri­ties are a priv­i­leged class, de­spite the protests of prison authori-

On a whim:

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