Yes, it’s true. Actress Amanda Bynes has been arrested for reckless endangerment and marijuana possession according to various news outlets. And the kicker? She’s being taken in for psychiatric evaluation.
New York Police responded to a call from Bynes’ building official, claiming that he saw the 27-year-old actress rolling a joint in the lobby and talking to herself. When they arrived at her apartment, Bynes was quick to get rid of the evidence, throwing a bong out the window in the process.
“Don’t you know who I am?” she cried out to them – a quote so heavily used by celebrities who know they only have their celebrity status to ring them free from the bars of prison.
While we roll our eyes and mutter ‘she deserves it’ repeatedly, can we all agree that this whole alter-ego phenomenon that just so happens to also be named Amanda Bynes is sad? Upon hearing the news, I cackled for a second because of the irony, but there was something in the back of my mind that scolded me and said, “c’mon, now.”
Bynes has, for the most part, been acting as the most recent recruit of what I like to call the Hollywood hotmess brigade – a subculture that’s inspired obsession by the media and fans alike. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie pioneered the subculture, constantly alluring paparazzi to them like white on rice. Soon after, Brittany Spears, the Olsen Twins, Mischa Barton, and Lindsay Lohan hit their downward spirals, gracing front pages of tabloids almost daily. Across the globe, Amy Winehouse couldn’t even make it through a McDonalds drive thru without camera flashes constantly beaming through her windshield. And now, Bynes is just another name on the list with a growing resume of notoriety.
The women are beautiful, no doubt. And like most of the Hollywood starlets that we gawk at (you know, the whole, “why are they even famous?” monologue we play in our heads), it’s no wonder they’ve reached celebrity status and are able to brush off scandal. Some even tote mug shots worthy of a Facebook default. For the few, however, who work under pressure because they actually have talent – singers, actresses, fashion designers, models – it’s sort of like watching a train wreck when they hit rock bottom.
But instead of wishing these women well, we glue our eyes to Entertainment Tonight or the next issue of Us Weekly to see what happens next. While everyone enjoys a happy ending to a harrowing tale, it’s different for members of the hotmess brigade. No, we’re not looking for their happy ending. We want to see how far they’ll push the envelope on the next issue.
Our obsession for the bad has clouded our own ethical judgment. Bynes needs help, yet we choose to ignore that because of two reasons: (a) since she has the money and a social network of friends, she’ll get the help she wants when she wants to, and (b) she’s way far out the cuckoo’s nest for anyone to even help her. Then instead of leaving her be, we throw vile, shady comments in her direction – whether we tweet it to her or leave it on a YouTube video that features her. That is wrong and we as a society should really reevaluate how we look at others, no matter badly or how well they’re doing.
Growing up as a big fan of All That, it didn’t really hit home that Bynes got arrested. It was in hindsight that I would reminisce about her Ask Ashley segment – the very stint that boosted her popularity – and her show on Nickelodeon, The Amanda Show (“Bring in the dancin’ lobsters!”)
When you see someone who was once a role model for children (perhaps even for you) slowly diminish into a woman who was talking to herself prior to her arrest, it’s sad. While it’s true that Bynes brought it on herself, not many of us stop to consider the pressure we put on her by consuming and spreading the news about her. Does that mean stop reading celebrity news? Of course not. But in this day and age with technology that makes contact between a fan in Uganda a click away from her idol in America, perhaps we should be a bit more mindful of what we say to and of our celebrities. We seem to forget that her line of work caters to us, her viewers.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, Bynes has cracked under the Hollywood gaze and we all had something to do with it.Amanda Bynes, arrested, marijuana