How To Be a Shitty Journalist

Given my new job and all of the success and glory I have been receiving in result of it, I now consider myself the official ambassador for Merrick, New York (my hometown, which just so happens to be the town I report for. )  What exactly does this mean?

Well, nothing really. Nothing at all.

But, I consider it my own personal duty to defend Merrick whenever somebody attempts to badmouth it. Normally, Merrick is a very civil and well behaved area and needs no defending. But, in this business, you learn that there are some people out there that would do anything for a story.

Like this person:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/features/2010/10/lindsay-lohan-in-long-island-201010?currentPage=1

This is an article from Vanity Fair magazine about Lindsay Lohan. Before you ask, no I do not make a habit of reading Vanity Fair magazine, I just happened to come across this on a google search…

Alright, fuck you, I read it every day.

Anyway, it’s not shocking that while most media outlets usually shit on Lindsay Lohan, Vanity Fair treats her like a goddess because she actually gave them an exclusive story and posed for a racy picture a couple years ago. Remember this:

As most of you probably know, Lindsay Lohan is originally from Merrick. The house she grew up in (where her mother and sister still currently live) is only like seven minutes away from me. Before you ask, no I do not make a habit of creepily standing outside of their house trying to catch a glimpse of the Lohans. It was just that one time…

Alright, fuck you, I do it every day.

Nevermind how much Lindsay Lohan screwed up her life with drugs, alcohol and numerous other bad decisions… that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I want to focus on this article. Somehow, this writer, Jessica Pilot, finds a way to blame Merrick for Lindsay Lohan’s demise.

Uh, what? Let’s dive right into it.

Actors and singers have been misbehaving since before the dawn of radio. Still, within the past few years, Lindsay Lohan has achieved a special notoriety—because the lens recording her movements is so much wider and the focus tighter than anything the tipsy, recklessly driving stars of the past could have encountered. “Celebrity is the mask that eats into the face,” John Updike once wrote. For Lindsay, this rings especially true.

But who was she before she put on the mask of celebrity? Was she always destined for clubs, limos, headlines, jail cells, and rehab group-therapy sessions, regardless of whether or not she was “frenemies” with Paris Hilton? To learn the real truth about Lindsay, it may help to go to the source—to her hometown of Merrick, New York, where some of her family still resides and locals knew her as a spirited, charismatic, and seemingly normal kid.

Woo! Awesome. A shout-out for Merrick! I wonder if the article is going to praise our wonderful little hamlet? And did she just say frenemies?

Merrick is a classic Long Island commuter town of about 23,000 people nestled halfway between Manhattan and the Hamptons. No one aspires to live in Merrick. Located on the South Shore of Long Island, the 5.2-square-mile hamlet is made up of mostly single-family tract homes, a cluster of stucco-and-shingled ranches, seven temples and six churches, and an array of strip malls colonized by national chains. The family-owned variety of uninviting local boutiques and beauty parlors, plus a diner, pubs, and a popular pizzeria, still remain—thanks to the Keep A-Merrick-A Beautiful Committee. However, it’s Merrick’s Long Island Rail Road station that is seemingly the town’s epicenter; according to a 1984 New York Times article, there are 1,078 parking spaces that are rarely vacant on a workday.

Wait, did she just say that nobody aspires to live in Merrick?

Excuse me?!

Before she even explains why, she immediately states that “fact.” It’s the good ole “be a bitch first, explain later” strategy.

Are you shitting me? Why the hell would nobody want to live here?

Oh, that’s right. Because we’re peaceful. And calm. And scenic. Our town doesn’t consist of drug addicts and prostitutes on street corners, or bar shootings, or giant buildings, so therefore, we’re not interesting.

How about the hard-working individuals that slave at a job for 20 years just so they could afford to be a homeowner in a beautiful suburban area so that they could raise their family and give their children the opportunities that they never had?

Nah, nobody aspires to do that, right Jessica Pilot? So let’s just aspire to be somebody like Lindsay Lohan instead, and do drugs all the time so we can get publicity. Because any pub is good pub, amirite?!

And just for good measure, let’s make a judgment based on statistics from 26 years ago. Splendid journalism right there.

It’s easy to see why Lindsay would want to escape Merrick. But the town is also where she may return at some point, once her current legal and medical issues are resolved. Why? Because they’re all still here, the entire Lohan clan: mother Dina (when she’s not partying with Lindsay in Los Angeles or hanging out in the Hamptons), grandmother Ann, and uncle Paul.

Again, you cannot just make a blanket statement like that and not explain why. Why is it “easy to see” why Lindsay Lohan would want to escape Merrick. I think this writer is just speaking for herself. “Ooh, it’s not a big city like the one I live in, so therefore it sucks.” What is she making all of these judgments on, anyway? A ten-minute drive past Lindsay Lohan’s goddamn house?!

Merrick aspires to be the kind of place that does not easily absorb a lot of drama. It was named after the Meroke Indian tribe formerly indigenous to the area. The name literally means “peaceful,” and this still rings true, somewhat. Merokians tend to respect their neighbors; privacy, at least on the surface, is the rule. Dina’s Colonial-style home, where Lindsay grew up, is just down the road from the Merrick Avenue Middle School. It’s one of the few homes in the area with an extended driveway, and it’s adorned with sage bushes and a gate, which seems designed to keep prying eyes away.

FUCKIN’ MERRICK! We don’t want any drama, so screw that place! Peaceful? What’s the Indian translation for “dangerous?” That’s what they should name the town if they want to be relevant! Ugh, and to think, we actually respect our neighbors. What a shitty, shitty, god-forsaken place. No wonder no one would want to live there! You’ve sold me, Jessica Pilot. Merrick is the worst. Nice job.

“[Merrick] is a good neighborhood to raise a family in,” a postman says while delivering mail to Dina Lohan’s home.

Yeah, the one person we’ll actually interview is the postman. Because he is the clear authority on all things Merrick. The postman that probably doesn’t even live in Merrick.

Let’s skip ahead a little…

Lindsay returned to Merrick for seventh grade after shooting that film, but her burgeoning celebrity seems, inevitably, to have set her apart from her schoolmates. “I remember her being almost in a conflicting denial about her fame during The Parent Trap,” says Jennifer, a former schoolmate of Lohan’s at Sanford H. Calhoun High School. (Jennifer doesn’t want to give her last name.) “I think it was really hard for her to feel normal around us because she was already making a name for herself while the rest of us were just kids—figuring it all out. She never really got to fuck up, or go through the normal stages of fucking up that we did … and when she did, it was almost like she could never look back. I don’t even think she went through an awkward stage. She was always this stage-ready kind of phenomenon and that really intimidated people, or at least it made me feel self-aware. Maybe it’s growing up with a mom as a manager.”

What the hell do you expect? If somebody stars in a mega-Hollywood film, they’re going to get a ton of attention wherever they live! This is NOT the reason why her life started going down the shitter. Bad parenting, bad friends, and lack of personal morals are to blame for that. Actually, screw that, it’s all Merrick’s fault.

Nicole, a childhood friend and neighbor of Lindsay’s, insists that “Lindsay was … no, is a real, down-to-earth person.” Distressed at the suggestion that her simple suburban childhood could have contributed to Lindsay’s troubles, Nicole says that the Lindsay she knows is “not anything but a gifted and humble girl from Merrick. It’s a really quiet town to grow up in—it’s not like L.A., where there’s this heavy partying and a whole lot to do. Everyone kind of knows everyone, and Lindsay was more embarrassed than conceited about her good fortune. I never felt shunned by her, personally.”

More Lindsay Lohan praising! This article is making me sick. Does Jessica Pilot think that her and Lindsay will become bff’s just by saying nice things about her? Hey Jessica, let me tell you something, Lindsay doesn’t give a shit about you! She loves me. Before you ask, I did just use the term ‘bff.’ I’ve never used it before though, I just thought it was appropriate in this context…

Alright, fuck you, I use that word every day.

Ann Sullivan, Lindsay’s grandmother, lives near the Lohan homestead but has remained comfortably out of the spotlight, save for a brief appearance on Dina’s short-lived 2008 reality show, Living Lohan. The surrounding houses feel startlingly upscale in contrast to Mrs. Sullivan’s supremely gloomy home, but she’s not home much anymore these days. Her single-level home sits on an unkempt mud-brown lawn, surrounded by a chain-link fence and decorated with a weathered basketball hoop, which is said to have been installed for her granddaughter. But if you happen to stop by, an elderly woman might poke her head out of the house next door to tell you what’s what.

“Ann’s son [Lindsay’s uncle Christopher J. Sullivan] passed away recently, her granddaughter is in rehab, and she’s a widow. I don’t think she knows what to think of this whole spectacle,” stammers the sympathetic neighbor. She says she would advise Lindsay to seek redemption by trading Hollywood for Gotham—or, better yet, for Merrick. “I think she needs to come back to Merrick,” says the neighbor. “We are very forgiving here.”

And that’s it. I still don’t really understand what the point of the article is. She starts out by dissing Merrick, and then ends by emphasizing Lindsay Lohan’s grandmother’s statement about how Lindsay should return to Merrick.

Did we learn anything from this article? Other than the fact that Vanity Fair has very low standards for their journalists? Did you expect anything else?

It’s amazing what blind generalizations and lazy, half-assed research can accomplish. Congratulations on an article that clearly showed that you had an agenda (insulting suburbia/sucking Lindsay Lohan’s theoretical cock) that which you gave absolutely no convincing evidence to support. I award you zero points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

VIVA LA MERRICK!

Oh and before I go, happy belated birthday to Mr. Adam Handler, a devoted Weinblog™ fan.

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