I looked directly at Allen, my best friend for maybe nine years, and realized that he had run out of things to talk about with me. I responded with a neutral head nod.
“A new nip slip? Rehab? Comeback? Freaky Friday sequel named Strange Saturday? So Daniel…?”
I took another sip of my iced-chai and then replied in a monotone voice. “She’s going to star in a David Mamet play in London or something, right now she is wasting away on a yacht in Ibiza surrounded by handsome dudes who wear Rolexes.”
I don’t know when I became this assumed scholar in all things Lindsay Lohan for all of my friends and family. Almost once a week, someone references Lindsay Lohan to me, either through interweaving a Mean Girls quote in a casual conversationor explicitly asking me for the latest update on the fallen starlet.
Nearly three years ago, on a random Freshman year night in a crowded dorm room, I told my pop culture savvy friend Monica about some half-baked conceptual Tumblr idea I had. Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan creates the fan blog to end all fan blogs: an aggressively pink aesthetic with bright yellow Arial font, content strictly consisting of photos and memes of Lindsay Lohan that would be interspersed with purposefully misspelled ramblings fearlessly defending the star. A few moments later, Monica pushed aside the cluttered mess of empty 40s bottles on her desk and whipped out her MacBook. The first photo uploaded was of a naked Lindsay clutching an acoustic guitar on a sandy beach, captioned with “If I coood be ther with her, if I coood touch her AURA.” Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan the character was officially created.
When I started the blog in the fall of 2011, there was an odd sense of hope for Lindsay Lohan and her career. She was showing up to court-mandated community service. She had landed the cover of Playboy. Even the most scathing of gossip columnists were noting how “happy” and “healthy” she looked in recent photographs. In the early stages of this persona, a typical Tumblr session for me would consist of messaging other Lindsay Lohan fan blogs asking if they wanted to join forces, reblogging every image under the #LindsayLohan or #LiLo Tumblr tag and going on manically apologetic rants defending her latest misbehavior: “nooooo she’s $tumbling out of B00000tsy Belllows cuz of THE PRESSURE of the #FAME not cuz $HE WAS drunk”. I was the L’enfant terrible of the Lindsay Lohan fan community; overeager, overzealous and typing with a sense of entitlement that I and only I, Linday Lohan’s Last and only true Fan, truly understood the star. A series of questions from other “genuine” Lohan fan blogs started piling up in my Tumblr inbox: “Why are you so creepy? Why do you misspell everything? Why are you so OBSESSED with Lindsay Lohan? Who are you? Are you a boy or a girl?
At first I was adamantly opposed to answering any of these questions, thinking that this persona of Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan, being so warped up in her obsession, wouldn’t feel any desire to assert any sense of selfhood. I randomly replied to a few questions with the 2007 “not my cocaine” in her pocket era Lindsay Lohan mug shot or a Freaky Friday GIF; my glossy pink mystique remained in tact. When I showed my friends the blog, they either would tell me it was funny, reply with a shrug or question if perhaps my liberal arts college had made me go manic: Daniel, do you even like Lindsay Lohan? Are you okay? The project was admittedly aimless; the same joke of an anonymous Lindsay Lohan jihadist repeated over and over again. In January 2012, I was about to quit and get a new hobby.
Then Lana Del Rey’s SNL performance happened.
I was fascinated by her self-pitying lyrics, the permanent sadness in her eyes and her shameless embrace of being society’s victim. I spontaneously copied and pasted the chorus of “Video Games” to a photograph of a 2010 “I’m going to Cannes Film Festival to party on yachts” Lindsay gracelessly falling on her face: Heaven is a place on Earth with you. The Tumblr response was ecstatic: HAHAHA, GURL wtf is this! I transitioned to creating memes with my own cheesy musings of what Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan thought about her emotionally abusive parents, loneliness and her painful obscurity. Lindsay Lohan had alcohol and cocaine to escape the “painful misery of daddy and reality”. Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan had well, Lindsay Lohan. I stopped obnoxiously misspelling words and reblogging generic Lindsay Lohan GIFs and photos and embraced a new direction. I put on the guise of a crying teen girl in her bedroom, using this Tumblr persona to express some inner-darkness that could only be articulated through hyperbole: We both hate daddy, we both have fake friends and we both are on the edge of the abyss, forever isolated, forever shackled to this life! Over time, Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan became less about the idea of obsession and more about the idea of what it means to truly connect with a specific celebrity. Lindsay Lohan’s last truly culturally relevant movie was Herbie Fully Loaded. For years now her actual Blockbuster, enticing body of work was her fragile existence. Her life, filled with arrests, rehab visits and lesbian romances, was ripe and ready to be part of a grander tragic meta-narrative. There was nothing more to her than her latest fuck up; everything snowballing into the inevitable TMZ headline: Lindsay Lohan DEAD followed by the inevitable Dina Lohan or/and Michael Lohan “up close and PERSONAL” account of their daughter’s life. Nothing about Lindsay Lohan and the cult of her celebrity is necessarily unique. If anything, her life has become a self-actualization of a Valley of the Dolls-level of triteness.
As my Tumblr popularity increased, I noticed that the other blogs reblogging my memes had been sandwiching my content in between photos of the late Anna Nicole Smith dressed as a clown, Paris Hilton mug shots, Britney Spears scarfing down Taco Bell and a crack head Amy Winehouse. I was being embraced by the #Camp #2005 niche sub-culture of Tumblr, with blogs that had a flashier and glitterier design praising my work and calling me “BB”. It was all too silly. I had to go back to the drawing board; I tapped deeper into the depths of this inner sad girl. I made Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan question her own obsession and write epic poems about the increasing sense of alienation she felt between herself and the star: When Lindsay cries, it’s BREAKING NEWS, when I cry, Daddy just laughs and suggests waterproof mascara. The more invested I got, the more Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan became about how one individual amongst a sea of internet trolls, journalists, gossip magazine readers and fans, had found a unique connection with someone who invoked such ubiquitous disdain. Dr. Drew Pinsky using Lindsay Lohan as an example of the dangers of alcoholism was no different than when Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan related the critically panned Liz and Dick to her own personal experience of stuttering during a Bat Mitzvah speech. She didn’t need the TMZ obituary; Lindsay Lohan had been up for grabs for a while now.
In the fall of 2012, I woke up from a nap to a Facebook message: “OMFG. Check BuzzFeed…”
A handful of my memes that I uploaded during my “Live-Meme viewing session” of Liz and Dick had been incorporated into a list of “21 People Who Genuinely Loved Liz and Dick”. My images were interspersed between Tweets from unassuming, “genuine” Lindsay Lohan fans that actually liked her critically panned Elizabeth Taylor Lifetime bio-epic. Immediately after the BuzzFeed post, my viewer stats hit records high, got a ton of new Tumblr followers and hundreds of more reblogs. If any of my friends and family didn’t know that I had this second Internet persona, they now knew and they now could count on me as their handy-dandy Lindsay Lohan expert. A few days after experiencing a manic rush from achieving a minor-level of notoriety, I revisited the BuzzFeed article. I had a painful epiphany: my blog was fucking evil.
This persona I created of someone being whole-heartedly sincere had come under attack by a snarky blog, being lumped in with actual fans who were deemed naïve and stupid. The character was given exposure not on her terms, but on the fucked up power dynamics of irony and mockery perpetuated by some presumptuous arbiter of good taste. This project had become a monster. Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan had also started becoming all consuming: My MacBook Desktop was now completely covered in memes and photographs of Lindsay Lohan, I woke up everyday Googling Lindsay Lohan, Facebook had started trying to sell me Amazon discount DVDs starring none other than…. Lindsay Lohan.
After the BuzzFeed existential crisis, I started making darker, more tragic memes. I thought that there was no real point in ending the blog because Lindsay Lohan’s life had yet to reach a true moment of catharsis. Perhaps the #comeback was going to actually happen in two, three months or a year and what a fucking shame if Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan missed it. And so I continued. I even started making deeply disturbing Youtube videos in which I paired distorted recordings of the persona’s obsessive thoughts with glitched out, pixelated images of Lindsay: I woke up and thought about Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan also woke up and thought about Lindsay Lohan.
I had come to discover that maybe the concept of “performance art” is rendered meaningless on the Internet. I was creating a specific artifice for myself, this crazed, manic-depressive fan and was being engaged directly on the aesthetic of my work. Without the confines of a gallery space, there was nothing to potentially differentiate this performance project from the other fans on the next “21 People Who Actually Like Lindsay Lohan” list. It didn’t matter when I submitted it to a Dis Magazine contest or when “Tumblr Teen Girl” artist/expert Kate Durbin reblogged my work for her Womans as Objects project. It never and still doesn’t matter because Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan the Tumblr page is out there waiting for people to stumble upon it and not even question it’s alleged inauthenticity: What’s wrong with you? Are you okay? Looking back at old memes, it’s hard to say whether the “I am so lonely” was real at the moment or not; the well-worn cliché of method acting is admittedly a lived experience for me. At this point, I want Lindsay Lohan to win an Oscar, I want Lindsay Lohan to get married, I want Lindsay Lohan to start her inevitable Long Island nuclear- family and finally be clean and sober for good. Not necessarily because I care about her as a person, but more because I want her to do anything that could liberate her from the creepy and firm grasp of Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan. She has now reached a point of nicotine-induced malaise, wasting away on a yacht in Ibiza surrounded by handsome dudes who wear Rolexes. Analogously, Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan floats along, feeling neither a sense of closure or the same captivating connection of yesteryear. Thousands of memes later, the superstar and fan have both reached a period of indefinite mediocrity. It’s time for the blog to end.
If I learned anything from this project, it’s honestly just the objective truths about Lindsay Lohan that can be verified by court records, IMDB, Wikipedia and photographs. Yes, I am a Lindsay Lohan expert. And so, this January, I will teach a run-of-the-mill introductory course on Lindsay Lohan for my college’s experimental learning week. I won’t bring up Warhol or Koons, Baudrillard or Adorno. No, this will be a cut and dry course covering the facts of Lindsay Lohan’s life: She did star in The Parent Trap in 1998, she did date Wilmer Valderrama in 2005, she did get two DUIs in 2007. After the class, I will tell the students to discuss the content and collectively decide what to make of my boring PowerPoint presentation: What’s the narrative here, if there really is one? Then and only then, will Lindsay Lohan’s Last Fan would be allowed to finally die.
It’s you, it’s all for you, everything I do, I tell you all the time, heaven is a place on Earth with you