Personal Faves: The Big Love of Matthew E. White

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Lindsay Eanet writes of the gospel of Matthew E. White’s Big Inner, one of the year’s most joyous listening experiences

The first time I heard Big Inner from Virginia native and Randy Newman devotee Matthew E. White, I couldn’t actually register coherent thoughts about it. My brain could only communicate in a series of Homer Simpson-esque drooling noises, satisfied and “hnnngnghhhh”-ing.

Maybe it’s because of the advent calendar’s worth of sonic treats White leaves throughout the album and needing a few listens to savor them all—a saxophone honk, a nimble guitar lick, a line that resonates or a note from the backup choir hitting you in just the right way that chills make their way up and down your spine. Sound effects about here too: the haunting “Big Love” begins with what sounds like either a bird calling or a dog whimpering, and the sound is surprisingly wrenching and effective.

Maybe it’s because I fell in love this year and sometimes it’s hard, even when it’s your job, to separate your personal matters from a piece of work. Or maybe it’s because White is not just very good at playing and composing music, but he somehow taps in to a deeper pathological place than most pop songs about love and longing and faith and death and fear and love and all those things music often talks about and makes us feel even harder.

This was a year of pop records that were genuinely joyful affairs, songs that induced grins and sing-alongs and demanded participation. We celebrated Fiona Apple’s triumphant return and grieved at her losses. We felt different kinds of joy—the frantic, tweeting kind; the quieter, welling-up, grateful kind, when Frank Ocean told us a love story that happened to be about himself, and then that joy multiplied upon hearing his debut album. Japandroids’ Celebration Rock, with its fist-in-the-air riffs and “oh-ohs,” lived up to its name. Even the Top 40-iest of Top 40—“Call Me Maybe,” “Euphoria,” “I Love It” and anything off that new Ke$ha album—not to mention a band called fun., who has a few tracks that are legitimately so in that boisterous, barroom “Bohemian Rhapsody” sing-off kind of way. There are many kinds of joy, some that dig deeper than others and some that induce dance parties with greater success, and the work of White and the other musicians of Spacebomb Records made something with a joy all their own.

That joy on Big Inner is palpable and palpitating, a heartbeat resonating brightly under the many functioning organs and systems. It’s an encapsulation of those less outwardly exuberant but heavily internalized moments of joy—that last glance around the table at Thanksgiving, the living room with the friends you’ve had for a decade, lying curled up against someone you love, suspended in the period between awake and asleep, between the initial exploration of each other and the comfortable stage of the relationship.

This is a record full of love songs that crescendo and layer and let you wrap yourself in the thick, dreamy instrumentation, but White lets his words, simple but nerve-hitting, get through. On opener “One of These Days,” he offers a devotional to the person he loves, asking if he can hold on in such an ephemeral world. “I want to lay next to you and never turn away.” It’s a love that’s worn in but never worn out, and it’s a pretty powerful declaration. The flipside happens on “Will You Love Me,” also quiet for the first two-thirds and then welling up to its fullest, more of a quiet pleading after his love has left. He offers promises of kissing, of song-singing, and as the horns rise with purpose and urgency, he declares: “Darkness can’t drive out darkness/only love can do that.” It’s simple, but it’s effective. In a year where there was so much talk about “authenticity” in popular music (Mumford and Sons, anyone?), this all certainly feels real.

On “Hot Toddies,” the Spacebomb Strings, one of the many skilled groups of in-house musicians White worked with on the record, play with White’s warm, whispery delivery and the results feel like coming in from the cold, especially with the horns and keys buildup at the end. The latter also brings us a line that sounds like it could have been by quite a few artists mentioned earlier: “The Lord made lemons/and the Lord made me / But the Devil and his demons / gave us sweet whiskey.” It’s silly, but it’s hard not to love a line like that. Booze and the God/Devil dichotomy have been favored musical tropes since we first figured out how to sing.

There’s another kind of massive love, of veneration, that appears on Big Inner. It’s a love of the South, of the musical traditions from where his sound springs and his musical peers—past, present and future. White, as previously mentioned, is a big fan of the great Southern yarn-builder that is Randy Newman, and on Big Inner you can hear traces of him, as well as Allen Toussaint and churches where the walls shake with the Holy Ghost and this is the sharpest sign of life within a several-mile radius.  As Hometapes’ Sara Padgett Heathcott writes of White in the album’s liner notes, “Muddy Waters was just about gone. Jimmy Cliff had sung ‘Many Rivers to Cross.’ So had Harry Nilsson. White shared this common inheritance. He stitched his own flag out of it.”

White pays direct tribute to “Many Rivers to Cross” on “Will You Love Me,” where Cliff’s wail of “and this loneliness won’t leave me alone/it’s such a drag to be on your own” is pared down to a whisper, a shared secret. In extracting the line from Cliff’s song, White takes care of it, And like any good historian, White always cites his sources. As he writes, “It was my goal to wrap up all the places I have seen, behind and before, in forty-two minutes of what Jelly Roll Morton called ‘the peculiar mathematics and harmonies that was strange to all the world.’”

In his introduction to the album, White writes about his move to Richmond in 2003 and about what he learned from his fellow musicians, many of whom he salutes by name as part of the process. He describes them with great kindness and humanity and delight in the liner notes—Pinson Chanselle is “a man who breathes life and humanity into his instrument,” Cameron Ralston is an “explorer, adventurer and enlightened performer” and Phil Cook and Karl Blau are “stunningly unique musical minds that came to our village as brothers.” He loves and respects his collaborators, and it shows in what they contribute. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship and part of what makes this album such a great listen.

All of this converges at White’s finale, the rapturous, multi-movement “Brazos,” a mini-symphony steeped in many traditions, musical or otherwise. White binds the work together with a refrain from Jorge Ben’s “Brother,” itself a great little piece of flower-power Tropicália, and layers it over jazz-funeral horns and the exuberant members of the in-house Spacebomb Choir, clapping and thanking the good Lord for leading them across the Brazos. When spiritual writers and singers talk about making a “joyful noise,” as they often do, I imagine that “joyful noise” sounds like this — a love of place and the people in it and whatever guides will get you to that next step.

And maybe it’s because I fell in love this year, and after immersing myself in the joys of Big Inner and wanting to share them with literally everyone, I played in the car for the person I fell in love with, who didn’t quite see the appeal or fall hard for it, too, as maybe I’d hoped. It was raining and the Stevenson expressway was at a crawl. I quickly turned it off and put on the Mountain Goats’ new album instead. That was a lot better received. And I certainly don’t expect you to fall in love with Big Inner either. But I know, in a year full of weird, lovely, life-affirming songs, there had to have been something that lifted you up. And I hope you did, and that you played it loud and experienced the joy in sharing it with someone you like, too. That’s all.

Personal Faves: How I Spent My Rent Check On A Rolling Stones Concert

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Hillary Hughes writes about dropping a load of money on the greatest living rock ‘n’ rollers, The Rolling Stones.

“You paid HOW MUCH FOR ROLLING STONES TICKETS?!”

I had made the mistake of casually mentioning to my mother that I spent a month’s rent (literally) on a pair of tickets to watch The Rolling Stones perform at the Barclays Center, and she was completely shocked and appalled. “You’re irresponsible! I’m not gonna tell you how to spend your money, but Jesus, Hilary … they’re just so old. I wouldn’t have paid half that to see them twenty years ago let alone now.”

Mom wasn’t alone in thinking that. When The Rolling Stones announced the handful of select cities they’d visit on 50 and Counting…, the band’sfiftieth anniversary tour, their age (“But Keith Richards is probably gonna die soon!”) and the $100-$900 price range for seats were topics more avidly discussed than the fact that this rock band had made it through to the better half of a century together. My friends thought I was borderline institutional for entertaining the idea of wasting two hours and hundreds of dollars on The Rolling Stones, and so a volley of YouTube clips hit my inbox, a damning reel of highlights recorded from recent awards shows and other anniversary tours that displayed an exhausted-looking Richards and a flailing, shouting Mick Jagger in a most unfavorable light. Even my dad—the man responsible for my Rolling Stones fandom and the one whose glove compartment I lifted a tape of Tattoo You from at the age of ten—was taken aback by the fact that I was so determined to find tickets to the Brooklyn show of 50 and Counting… just to watch a band of senior rock musicians “who’ve seen better days” play through a predictable set list.

No one seemed to get why I was so hell-bent on seeing The Rolling Stones, so when the time to hit the “Confirm Reservation” button came, I had forgotten why I had decided to hand over my rent check to TicketMaster in exchange for the chance to see the greatest rock band in history play songs that mean more to me than even I understand—and I subsequently freaked the fuck out. I forgot about how, while driving back and forth between Brooklyn and Boston this fall, Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed anchored my sanity on I-84, especially because “Call Me Maybe” and “Some Nights,” two of the most lyrically inept songs ever written, were also Clear Channel’s favorite singles to play and therefore unavoidable unless I dodged Connecticut’s airwaves throughout the course of the four-hour drive. I forgot that the first real conversation I had with my dad about music was about The Rolling Stones, one about his favorite song of theirs, “Bitch,” and how it was overshadowed by “Brown Sugar” on 1971’s Sticky Fingers. I forgot about how I’d told an ex-boyfriend that I wanted to walk down the aisle to “Happy” should we ever get married, and I forgot about how many times I opted to belt the chorus to “Gimme Shelter” into a hairbrush in front of a mirror as a teenager.

I more or less forgot about the fact that The Rolling Stones have provided the off-peak soundtrack to my life, despite the fact that I was born fourteen years after the release of Exile on Main St. I sought solace in the straightforward tenacity of their choruses instead of settling for the shitty, manufactured pop songs that my friends sang along with when they came on at the dive bar, and the musical inclinations of Jagger, Richards & Co. have set the standard for my taste as a listener, fan, and critic from the get-go.

I had forgotten all of this, and yet with one play of “Doom and Gloom,” the first single from their newly released greatest hits collection, I came to. I clicked “Confirm” and that was that. I was going to see The Rolling Stones, and I was going because I needed to see them—to hear the steady build of “Gimme Shelter,” to groan when “Miss You” made an appearance, to jump up and down like a maniac during “Get Off Of My Cloud”—and this was the first time I’ve ever felt so compelled to declare my love for a band so openly before, despite the fact that I knew that I was potentially setting myself up for the kind of epic disappointment that can only occur when your expectations of meeting your idol fall short.

Thankfully, Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie eviscerated every skeptic thought in the house when they took the stage at the Barclays Center for the big event on December 8. Though 50 and Counting… could’ve been the safe and tired victory lap of a final tour, the scene that unfolded was that of a jovial reunion, one where Ronnie Wood galloped across the stage without hitting a wrong note while Richards took to his solos with the effortless dexterity of a person who has cradled the neck of a guitar in his hands more frequently than he hasn’t over the course of the past fifty years. Jagger’s bellow reached the highest and lowest recesses of his range, and though his gait and the topography of his face tell the truth about his age, the flamboyant frontman ran at the crowd with an identical fervor to that of himself thirty years prior. (Or so I’m told, anyway). Richards and Wood sauntered back to the drum kit and turned and faced the arena before them in unison, and as Jagger shimmied, clapped and convulsed while the room erupted as the hits flew into the ether, I stood there slack-jawed thinking about how impossible it was for them to be so good when time, logic and the basic truths of the human form seemed to be working against them.

The show may not have been perfect—my prediction of a Beyoncé cameo during “Gimme Shelter” disintegrated when Mary J. Blige showed up, and “Midnight Rambler,” well, rambled—but to say that I got what I paid for would be an immense understatement. 2012, for me, was the year when Autotune became a superficial stylistic choice as opposed to a performance crutch, where The Black Keys farmed out the track list of El Camino to any studio that wanted to opt it for a movie trailer and a song like “Call Me Maybe” earned more accolades for its saccharine hooks than any other single on the charts. It was also the year of The Rolling Stones, in that the rock icons showed the world, and me, that a good song is an immortal thing that can only grow stronger with age—and that a fiftieth anniversary tour isn’t to be met with the same expectations of a retirement party. 

Follow Hillary Hughes on Twitter

Personal Faves: Fuck You, Lena Dunham!

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Amanda Chatel discusses what’s behind her complicated love-hate relationship for Lena Dunham and Girls.

I was a sophomore in college when I stood outside my dorm fighting with my boyfriend at the time. It can’t remember the details exactly, but it was something about the two of us trying to maintain our long distance relationship—one that was less than an hour by car. I was infuriated by the oronic analogies and literary references he was making. They were nonsensical, and I half wondered if he had spent the last weekend reading the dictionary for words, but skipping their actual definitions. It was only after someone called campus security, fearing an actual physical altercation, that I walked into the building, locked the door behind me, and ran up to my room. I was done, or so I told myself.

As I listened to him yelling my name from the lower quad at the University of New Hampshire, I threw open the window and screamed out: “I’m gonna write about you! I’m gonna write about all this and I’m not going to change your name! I want everyone to know how awful you are!”

I was a second year English major who, at the time, was quite certain I’d be published by the time I was 25 years old at the very latest. (I’m a little behind on schedule.) And I did write about him. I wrote about him for a long time. In poetry classes, in creative writing classes, in any forum that allowed me to write about my life, I wrote about him. I was writing him out of my bones, I was chastising him in front of strangers; I was doing exactly what I told him I would do: I wasn’t changing his name. His name was Chris.

When I fell in love for the first time with Timothy, I stuck to my initial threat to Chris that night. But by then, it was no longer poorly written, hate poetry about a 19-year-old broken heart, but poorly written, love poetry about a 21-year-old heart that was blooming for the first time. I was finally understanding whatever the fuck Jane Austen had been yammering about in all my Brit Lit classes.

I was going to immortalize Timothy. I was going to write him into every manuscript I ever composed and people, hundreds of years from then, were going to study my work in comparison to my relationship with him! It was going to be gorgeous! It was also the same semester I was studying Shakespeare and decided the greatest gift of all was to immortalize someone. I had also seen Shakespeare in Love too many times that year.

Timothy and I broke up several months later, and I no longer care for Shakespeare.

But I had started a precedent; I had decided I couldn’t write fiction. I couldn’t even come up with a proper name for anyone about whom I wrote, because their real life names fit them so perfectly. It was not my job to alter them; it was my job to tell the story that may have starred them, but since I was there, too, it was my story to tell. If it meant long drawn out lawsuits with people who wronged me and whom I wrote about in great detail, then so be it. I wasn’t even going to change the words that poured from their lips—especially the ones that had hurt me so bad.

Then Lena Dunham, or rather Hannah Horvath, stole my line.

The line that I had uttered just weeks before to Christoffer in the spring of 2012 after he had broken my heart for the hundredth time in the last four years; the line that I had used as both a threat and compliment had been stolen from me. In that instant, I was horrified. I had always convinced myself I was original, but Lena Dunham changed that. I was, well, an imposter.

The actual moment when this happened is still crystal clear. I had been in Paris when the first few episodes of Girls aired—an escape for which I can thank the heartbreaking, devious and conniving Christoffer—and upon my return to the city I knew that I had to get caught up on the series. Everyone was watching it, either loving or hating it, comparing their current lives to it, or being grateful that their life had evolved past that point.

By the time I was about to reach the fifth episode, “Hard Being Easy,” I was in New Hampshire visiting my family. My sister was in town from Colorado and I forced her to watch it with me. It was, after all, something to which I could relate. I had been (and still am) a struggling writer in New York City in my mid-20s. I had begged my parents to supplement my income with the promise that “I’ll pay you back after I get my book deal,” and “if you don’t help me, I’ll become a prostitute,” and all the other bullshit lines I thought appropriate to throw their way.

So, there we were, on the couch, somewhere in the middle of June watching Girls On-Demand when the character Hannah, with her god-awful, drawn-on eyebrows, turned to her boss and said, “Someday I’m going to write an essay about you and I’m not going to change your name!”

“What did she just say?” asked my sister. I hit rewind.

“Someday I’m going to write an essay about you and I’m not going to change your name!”

It was clear as day. My sister burst into laughter and grabbed my knee, as she yelled out, “That bitch stole your line!”

My sister was right. It was stolen. I had been robbed and now I had to come up with another line and I really didn’t want to do that because it had been my line for so long. It was part of me. I had written so candidly about so many people in my life from the very beginning of my career. And while I occasionally referred to some of them under a thinly veiled moniker once I found myself in the blogging world, the truth was the real name factor, whether it was for all the right or wrong reasons, was somewhat of a gift. It was proof of impact; don’t we all want proof of impact?

How was I supposed to write about Christoffer or Timothy or Angelo or Andrew or Ben, or talk shit about my former bosses Alan and Marc, or point out the fact that my aunt Patty thinks I’m a heathen, if I’ve been stripped of my line? What was the point of even being a writer if not to exact revenge on others? It couldn’t possibly be because you love the art form, could it?

WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?

I had so obviously been the only person in the history of the world to have strung all those words together in that order to make that exact sentence and now it was gone. I could never use it again without being accused of lacking creativity, thievery or straight-up plagiarizing. My life, as I knew it, ended in those few seconds while my sister laughed her ass off and I buried my head into a pillow screaming, “Fuck you, Lena. Fuck you and your youness!” Or something else equally poetic and practically deserving of a goddamn book award.

And yes, that’s how it all went down that afternoon, on a couch in New Hampshire, in the early summer of 2012.

I have since then tried to make peace with the situation. I have pointed out to myself several times a day in the mirror during my hourly pep talks that I am older than Lena, so I did technically come up with the line first, if we’re to do the math based on our ages. But it seems like a waste now, and I don’t have the energy to stalk her and have it out with her on a Brooklyn street corner. Such behavior might get me labeled crazy, and I’ve heard that enough for one lifetime.

I love Girls; I really do, but now I have this chip on my shoulder. See? I can’t even come up with anything more creative for that? It’s so cliché.

My name is Amanda Chatel. I’m a writer in New York City. And Lena Dunham stole my line. I know there’s a therapy group out there for such a thing, or eventually will be. But I guess in the meantime, I’ll have to join the one for all the girls who had short hair before Lena, but now get accused of having it that way because of her.

I’ve had pixie short hair since sophomore year of college when I used to fight with my boyfriend named Chris whose name I never changed because he was an asshole. It just goes to show you shouldn’t fuck with a writer, because we’re a fucked up lot and we’ll eventually catch up with you. I’m looking at you, too, Lena.

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter

Personal Faves: Lindsay Lohan’s Wild Ride

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Jennifer Wright details her love for this year’s brightest burning star: Lindsay Lohan.

It’s hard to write about Lindsay Lohan.

Not because she’s not interesting. She’s interesting in the way only a true star can be interesting.

The thing that makes writing anything about Lindsay Lohan nearly impossible is that, by press time, she will have at least three more things no one could possibly have predicted. She seems to live in a wonderland where she can do six impossible things before breakfast. Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay supposedly punched a psychic in the face over a weird dispute involving a member of a boy band. I cannot imagine what she’ll do this week. But I know it will be bizarre, and I know I will turn my attention to her for at least a moment, because Lindsay Lohan was honestly the only truly fascinating star to watch in 2012.

Do you know what happens when you Google “Reese Witherspoon last week?” Or “Kirsten Dunst last week?” Nothing. Just like us! Oh, well, a bit. They were working on some projects. They had relationships. Maybe if it’s a crazy week they were dieting, probably for a project.

Most people’s lives, even if they are famous people, at their apex of oddity, are about as interesting as a very slowly paced sitcom. Not Lindsay Lohan’s. Lindsay Lohan seems to have found her way to make her life mirror a soap opera that would almost certainly be canceled for being too outrageous.

That much decried, comically melodramatic scene in Lohan’s recent Lifetime Elizabeth Taylor Biopic Liz & Dick wherein Lindsay screams “I can’t live without you!” and then runs down the hallway, grabs a bottle of pills, gobbles them down like M&Ms, and then flings herself onto the bed? I do not think that scene seemed like melodrama to Lindsay Lohan. I think that seemed like “Tuesday.”

And that—not because she gave a decent performance in Mean Girls, though I know we cling to that as an explanation—is why Lindsay Lohan is an object of national obsession. She could very well have given that Mean Girls performance, and, if her private life had not been insane, she would likely be just another semi-remembered teen idol. You can turn to anyone in a room and say, “How about Lindsay Lohan?” They will probably have something to say. She will make them sad. She will make them angry. She will make them jealous. Try doing that with Rachel McAdams. People will say she has nice hair and wonder why you’re asking.

Lindsay is fascinating for negative reasons, of course, but the definition of a fascinating person may be one going through experiences most of us can barely imagine. Those experiences—outrageous bar fights! Theft! Fiery brawls with lovers!—might not be ones we’d want to experience. But surely someone is supposed to experience them, the way someone is supposed to walk on the moon, or explore the depths of the ocean.  

While every other star seems to be getting photographers from US to take “candid” shots of them helping out at soup kitchens and loudly proclaiming that they are “just like us,” and, really, generally behaving just like us… Well, Lindsay Lohan has no apparent interest at all in being just like us. Or perhaps circumstances conspire against her being like us. Either way, if you put her picture next to the vast morass of humanity, you could play “one of these things is not like the other.” 

Just look at her 2012.

A brief rundown: in 2012, Lindsay Lohan posed for Playboy. She hit someone with her car. She found out she had a secret half-sister. She punched that psychic. She sold her own clothes for cash. She was given $100,000 by Charlie Sheen. She was on Saturday Night Live. She slept with Terry Richardson. She was on Glee. She got into a fight in a limo with her mother, who she claimed was on a lot of cocaine, and her father told her the limo driver was kidnapping her. She was almost strangled by a congressional aide.

These are the things I remember off the top of my head.

Other things almost certainly happened at the rate of about one a week. And isn’t any one of them more interesting than the stories we read about nearly anyone else?  

Because, if we’re honest, there’s almost nothing less interesting than the endless articles about how stars are keeping their marriages spicy and raising great kids while watching their weight. Honestly, I don’t care I don’t care about how they’re doing that, unless their secret is living on kale and human blood, and even then, I don’t care about the kale.

Meanwhile, I would buy a whole magazine entitled What Lindsay Lohan Did This Week.

Like Addison Dewitt of All About Eve, I have absolutely no interest in stars being just like us, given that, as he points out, “their greatest attraction to the publicis their complete lack ofresemblance to normal human beings.” Stars aren’t stars because they’re just like us. They’re stars because they are vastly removed from us, burning brightly and briefly somewhere out in the ether, not at all subject to the rules that govern mortal man.  

And for most of, well, the history of movie stars, this was understood. Gloria Swanson had her toilet made out gold. Charlie Chaplin ran off with a 16-year-old girl. Loretta Young supposedly had a secret baby that she covered up and then “adopted.” Montgomery Clift was so into drugs and alcohol that in The Judgement At Nuremberg he had to ad lib all his lines. Elizabeth Taylor, who Lindsay Lohan played with around three different kind of accents, had so many personal scandals that it is too difficult to pick just one.

It seems impossible to say whether those scandalous, unusual elements of their lives occur because they’re famous (Marlon Brando claimed that, at the height of his fame, he couldn’t open a door if he wanted to—they were all opened for him, which says something), but they do occur.

All of this madness provides the rest of us out in the dark watching with a sense of envy, but also a sense of pride in our own decisions. We envy Lindsay Lohan, and all the really brightly burning stars with lives unlike our own, because we wish we could get away with things the way they do. I wish I could crash cars and emerge unscathed and suffer no real consequences (time after time after time). A great part of the interest in Lindsay Lohan—at least my interest in her—is that in addition to seeming reckless she seems somehow, well, wreck-less.

A few weeks ago, the Twitter account “God” tweeted that “the human race is so busy reading about Lindsay Lohan it doesn’t realize it IS Lindsay Lohan.” A great sentiment, but entirely untrue. Most of us wouldn’t survive acting like Lindsay Lohan for a month, let alone a lifetime. At the very least, we’d be in jail. But really, we’d probably be dead.

Yet, Lindsay continues to make films, and recently, during an interview detailed in The New Inquiry, she told a reporter that her goal is “to work with Oliver Stone. And I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to get it.”

I read it and thought, “Well, she might.”

Lindsay Lohan was arrested because she ran someone down in her car this year. And yet, the idea of her working with Oliver Stone still doesn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility.

That is not what it is to be human. To be human is to be bound by rules. That is what it is to be some kind of Greek God.

While the idea of a life without rules might fascinate us, we also know that none of this is very good for Lindsay Lohan. We know that we will probably live longer and have happier relationships. We know that, because we know that living without rules and repercussions, and burning at such a dazzling rate is synonymous with self-immolation. 

No one actually wants Lindsay Lohan to die.

At best, probably, she will fade into a minor sort of obscurity, periodically popping up for roles in made for TV dramas and otherwise living somewhat quietly. That would be good for Lindsay Lohan, but, God, we’d miss her exploits. Because know that, like Edna Saint Vincent Millay, if she continues burning away at her current pace Lindsay may not last the night. Still, while she burns, she gives a hell of a light.

Follow Jennifer Wright on Twitter