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TODAY

Monday, February 18

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Airbags

Last time I talked about bad dad Alec Baldwin. I neglected to properly emphasize that he took opportunity rather than responsibility in the wake of the mess — "I apologized to my daughter. Now let's talk more about me and how I've been wronged!" Sure, whoever leaked the tapes is a complete jackhole, but Baldwin had a fairly decent chance to be accountable. Instead, he called the wahmbulance. Not that the female half of this pair is much better. Kim Basinger has never been anything but vicious toward Baldwin publicly (and she could have good reason; no one but them knows what happened in their marriage). I doubt she holds her tongue in private when talking with her daughter. Which brings me to other famous moms with questionable motives and agendas.

Lindsay Lohan continues her swath of reckless behavior, claiming to be a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous even as recent footage emerged of her allegedly snorting cocaine with two friends in a bathroom stall at a nightclub. The story hit days before the release of her latest film, Georgia Rule. (You can read the Gapers Block review by Steve At The Movies here.) For some reason, Entertainment Tonight hired mom/manager ("momanger") Dina Lohan to be a correspondent for the premiere last week. Not only did she awkwardly interview her daughter/client ("meal ticket"), but Dina also tried to talk with Jane Fonda, who had been quite vocal about her concerns for her young co-star. During filming, Fonda said that Lindsay was "so alone out there in the world in terms of structure and, you know, people to nurture her." So when Dina asked Fonda on the red carpet if she had any advice for Lindsay, Fonda retorted, "If you screw it up now, you don't get another chance!"

Dina has repeatedly defended her daughter's troubles, attempting to pass them off the antics of "a young girl" or "a 20-year-old who had to reel it in." A tad contradictory, yeah? Dina admitted to Harper's Bazaar to lying about being Lindsay's mother but denied she was a "party mom." The photographs accompanying the article featured a glammed-up Dina holding a champagne flute. She also unleashed this gem:

"Some of these kids are just lost. Paris Hilton's mom was wonderfully embracing to me. You know, you can't blame parents for kids, and Paris is a really smart girl, and she's come really far. They're the American dream. They're the Trumps of the little world, these kids. Lindsay at 26 is not going to clubs! She's not. It's just not happening."

So Dina likes Kathy Hilton? Interesting. Because on May 4, Kathy, reportedly went ballistic after her wayward daughter was sentenced to 45 days in jail after violating her probation by driving on an expired license. Kathy sarcastically asked one prosecutor for an autograph, and then insisted that the judge "made up his mind before he even came in today. If it were anyone else, this would've never had happened. And after all the money we spent!" Paris intially fired her publicist, blaming him for telling her she could drive if it was work related, but rehired him several days later. Paris also failed to enroll in a required alcohol-education program after she was arrested for DUI. It's not very likely Paris will serve the full sentence, but as Fonda said on Larry King Live (she had one hell of a week, didn't she?):

"I'm glad she's being sentenced. I'm glad she is going to do the time. If she were black, if she were poor, she would have done it much sooner. Maybe the first time that she had an offense. I believe these young people have to, you know, have to -- have to learn their lessons...

And if you don't have [structure] in your life as a young person, it's really tough. And especially if you're rich and spoiled and you are made into a celebrity. Somebody is going to give you your comeuppance and hopefully these young people are smart enough to learn from it. Again, this is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.

Perhaps Mamas Lohan and Hilton see their actions as wanting to protect their children from harm, as many parents do. Remember, however, Dina and Kathy are the "grown-ups" here. No wonder their twentysomething daughters seem ill equipped for an adult life, in or out of the spotlight. When mommy runs to the "rescue" in such a manner, what is it teaching them? Nothing good. After all, "You can't blame parents for kids!"

It's one thing to have your family rally around you for support and guidance. It's another to try to buy affection or influence instead of accepting consequences for one's actions. With role models like these... And it's not much of a stretch to think that these women might be living through their children, maybe trying to recapture some of their lost youth. Maybe.

In sharp contrast, there's my own maternal unit. Even though she restricted my television watching to one hour a day and placed Three's Company, WKRP in Cincinnati, Dallas, and The Dukes of Hazzard on the no-watch list — what a meanie! — my mom and I still racked up a fairly impressive amount of quality entertainment time. We saw lots of films together: I remember watching Grease and Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the drive-in, and she was there for each Star Wars movie. We both enjoy The Amazing Race (most of the time) and she often asks me about certain actors or shows. Of course, thanks to a certain 1999 sex comedy featuring a well-known MILF, our name is now a pop culture reference. People occasionally hesitantly ask me if my mother knows about "that American Pie thing." Not only does she know, but she thinks it's hilarious. Several years ago, as she rented a movie at the local Blockbuster, my mother noticed the teenage boy behind the counter snickering a little as he read her membership card. She smiled and cheerfully said, "Yes, it's true: I'm Stiffler's mom!"

Is it any wonder I love her so much?

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About the Author(s)

As a child, Dee Stiffler was only allowed to watch one hour of television a day. She usually chose Sesame Street. Today, she overcompensates by knowing far too much about the WB's lineup as well as pop culture in general. Email her at pop@gapersblock.com.

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