The sad, sad saga of Lindsay Lohan should become a cautionary tale for the rest of young Hollywood.
Of course, the saga of Paris Hilton already should have become a cautionary tale. And the saga of Britney Spears. And the saga of Nicole Richie.
Does the name Anna Nicole Smith ring a bell?
How about Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Farley? Has everybody forgotten "Diff'rent Strokes?"
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Don't these people ever learn from the mistakes of others?
Do the money, power and freedom that accompany fame come so fast and easy that young Hollywood doesn't really care about what might happen to them if they continue on their self-destructive paths?
It certainly seems that way.
They keep doing dumb things as if they will never be held accountable. Now, I realize that the naivete of youth has a lot to do with it. Young people feel like they're going to live forever. Add the allure of unlimited funds and access, not to mention a society that looks the other way when it comes to the transgressions of its celebrity class, and you have a formula for disaster.
And I'm not so sure that anything that anybody could say to them would make a difference. They appear intent on flushing their futures down the toilet, and we can't wait to read about it.
Oh, don't look so self-righteous. Somebody is buying those tabloids. Somebody is watching those entertainment news programs. Somebody is letting these spoiled brats get away with murder.
At the same time, I wonder whether it's our problem if these people want to trash their lives for our amusement. Whose responsibility is it? If their parents don't care, why should we? If they don't care if they make it to middle age, why should we?
In fact, I think I've just decided on what course of action I'm going to take. Instead of worrying about them anymore, I'm going to make fun of them. Hey, if these people aren't going to take their lives seriously, why should I?
So, I am going to pretend to care.
Even though it may appear as if I am trying to help them by listing 25 surefire signs for them to look for so they'll know if their young Hollywood lives might be headed in a bad direction, I'm really only going for laughs.
You know you're headed for trouble if:
1. The U.S. Post Office automatically forwards your mail to the Promises treatment center in Malibu.
2. You're sitting on a bar stool in a chic Hollywood nightclub planning your Sweet 16 party.
3. The last headshots you took were front and side views with numbers underneath them.
4. You own a $200,000 car but don't have your driver's license yet.
5. In a drunken stupor, you can still hum the "Entertainment Tonight" theme song.
6. There is a photo of you unconscious in a car on the front page of the New York Post.
7. Whenever you leave your house, you are followed by a caravan of black SUVs filled with paparazzi.
8. You actually leave your house knowing this.
9. You think it's a good idea for a vodka company to sponsor your 21st birthday celebration in Las Vegas, even though you've attended numerous Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
10. You answer your phone even though caller ID says it's one of the Hilton sisters.
11. If your regular Vicodin or Oxycontin supplier gets busted, you have a backup doctor in Beverly Hills who you can call.
12. It doesn't bother you if the world knows whether you wear underwear.
13. Partying every night during a nasty public divorce and custody battle seems like a good idea.
14. You never go anywhere without a bodyguard.
15. You regard your bodyguard as your best friend and closest adviser.
16. When you are in desperate need of parental advice, you call your publicist.
17. A national magazine such as Us or People poses a question about you on its cover, as in: "Is she too thin?" or "Is she too fat?"
18. The expression "perp walk" brings back fond memories of better times.
19. The television drama "Law & Order" bases an episode on a recent incident in your life.
20. A cable TV network wants to make a reality show about you and your family.
21. A syndicated gossip columnist has mentioned you in the same item as Kevin Federline.
22. You're in a sexually explicit video that is outselling the DVD of your last major studio movie.
23. Your parents are being interviewed on CNN about something you've done.
24. You have a "crisis management team" on speed dial.
25. In the middle of the summer movie season, you're getting a lot of headlines and you don't even have a movie coming out.