Sunday, July 29, 2007

They also think Tammy Faye is gonna beat this cancer thing.

An item in today's Parade underscores the risk in long lead-times*, and demonstrates how breaking news can make magazine editors look, well, pretty damn stupid. It also sounds a perfectly delicious note of irony apropos of yesterday's discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-steps, etc. The item, which appears in one of the magazine's most popular features, Walter Scott's gossipy "Personality Parade," is a cynical question about Lindsay Lohan's recent stint in rehab. A reader asks whether Promises, the posh Malibu retreat where Lohan made her (supposed) recovery earlier this month, isn't just an "extended vacation" for unruly celebs. In its reply, Parade notes that the brat-packer finally seems "committed to getting clean," then quotes Promises founder Richard Rogg as follows: "This is a very serious 12-step program. No one should be penalized for choosing to do the hard work of recovery in a luxurious setting." Given Ms. Lohan's difficulties of the past week, you wonder if Parade—and Rogg—wouldn't like to have that one back.

More to the point, once again we are reminded of how difficult it is to kick a serious habit like alcohol, and that maybe we shouldn't put so much faith in 12-steps. Even "very serious" ones.**

* Most major national magazines are "put to bed" (i.e. they take final editorial form) months before they appear on newsstands. Even a weekly supplement like Parade goes to the printer weeks ahead of the Sunday on which you read it with your morning coffee.
** Please don't accuse me of being "anecdotal" here. I'm using Lohan as an object lesson after having done the research, not citing her case as if it were the research.

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