Or is Hollywood media just creeped out by women who party really hard?
"In a male-supremacist society, female power must logically appear illogical, mysterious, intimate, threatening. “Witch” stands for all those unnamable shadow acts of disappearance and withdrawal, self-cultivation and self-medication, that elude the social and sexual order." – Editor's Note, Vol. 21, The New Inquiry
“Lindsay Lohan has become obsessed with the occult,” the National Enquirer gasped a week or so ago, in an expose with the title: TO THE COVEN BORN!, “and the 28-year-old actress wants to be consecrated by a coven as a white witch, sources said. 'She loves the idea of taking control of her destiny and wants to be able to do spells, make potions and read tarot and angel cards,' said an insider. 'She thinks it will help her generate more positivity and power in her life.'”
That Lindsay Lohan has finally expressed an interest in the occult is no great surprise: there is something so Classic L.A. about a sometime-lesbian has-been actress being fixated on witchcraft – so hammy; so Jess-Franconian – that it's a perfect rumour for a figure like her.
Positive or not, Lindsay Lohan has always possessed a certain power – for self-promotion, for sensuality, and for kooky self-parody when in a tabloid tight-spot. Yes, like most of our modern idols, Lindsay had her tanorexic era, but prior to this, her early bikini shots had radiated the same voluptuous, instantly-iconic sexiness that one might expect from the golden age of cheesecake photography; out promoting Liz and Dick in 2012 in an oyster-silk column dress, she had the loose and slightly sozzled glamour of a sixties socialite with a champagne enema.
Did she soften over the years? Did she show herself to be sloppy? A famous-for-famousness figure who also has something authentically Hollywood in her persona and in her appearance, it is Lindsay who defines both the vices of the era and the ageless seduction of cinema. To understand Lindsay's meaning as an icon in her own right, one need only think of reviews for Cronenberg's Maps To The Stars in which Julianne Moore – as a cracklingly desperate has-been with a Valley Girl's vocal yawp-and-twang – was described as “Lohanesque” and “Lohan-lite.” Being an actress playing an actress who sounds and looks like another, less fictional actress earned Julianne the Best Actress at Cannes.
Being Lindsay earned Lindsay a tearful Oprah interview, and a reality show, and the accusation that she is a witch.
Lindsay has always had a reverence for Old Hollywood, even though – if she is interested in being truly magic – she is looking in all the wrong places. While Lohan has devoted large swathes of her post-grace career to the aping of Marilyn Monroe (a replica Playboy spread; a shoot with Marilyn's favourite, Bert Stern, for New York Magazine; a cameo as the actress in the horribly-titled InAPPropriate Comedy), it is Jayne Mansfield who surely makes a better prototype for the campy Hollywood witch. Achieving the perfect, sensational feat of boiling genius and bimbodom down into the same primordial, singular essence, Mansfield balanced the looks of a bombshell with a high I.Q. and, supposedly, a membership card for the Church of Satan.
Jayne's interest in Satan was piqued, according to legend, because of her sordid relationship with American occultist Anton LaVey. Let's not forget Mansfield's motto:“If you’re going to do something wrong, do it big, because the punishment is the same either way”. A girl with a rap sheet like Lindsay's, one suspects, doesn't need telling twice.
Why did Hollywood's own dear redheaded stepchild turn to the supernatural, now? The Enquirer claims that – despite a 2012 altercation in which the actress punched a psychic in the face at 'Avenue' in Chelsea – she is “a big fan of white witches,” and furthermore, that she “once cast a spell” to ensure her the lead in a London production of Speed-The-Plow (which she landed). This is not to say that white witchcraft is the same as the worship of Satan; more that the two things fall on the same continuum, more or less.
"As a Satanic consultant, I have had to re-educate many a newcomer to the true meaning of witchcraft,” says Zeena LaVey (Anton's daughter, and – incidentally – another truly glamorous-looking blonde). “A meaning opposed to the pervasive Wiccan 'good witch' syndrome.... The woman who grasps and fully understands the mastery of the world inherent in...Satanic teachings will usher in a true feminism: the liberation of the demonic in every woman."
“Satanic teachings will usher in a true feminism: the liberation of the demonic in every woman” – Zenna LaVey
If Mansfield truly practiced Satanism, we might wonder at what kind of demon-feminism she’d hoped to enact in her brief career; if white magic brought our more modern heroine Mamet’s play, in kind, what might the darker arts provide? If nothing else, their practice would play into Jayne's theory that one should make one's crime fit the preordained punishment. Whether a white Wiccan or a true servant of Satan, Lindsay is now a “witch” in tabloid parlance, just as she has been a “hooker” when sitting at a table with an older, Middle-Eastern man in a hotel, or a “junkie” when snorting cocaine in a club.
A profile-boosting affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, or a lucrative skincare endorsement: even the lead in a film which was not made using a steadicam, or for the Lifetime channel? Satan is waitin’. If Robert Johnson could learn to play like the Devil himself, might Lindsay strike a bargain which made her actually as good as we recall her being in Mean Girls? Might she secure an acting gong for playing a movie star who speaks like Julianne Moore, in a film by David Lynch? This seems, I would argue, like the better career move: a total plunge into darkness.
If Lindsay Lohan looks like a witch, well – it’s only because she was acting like a witch. Stare long enough into the abyss, and the abyss might cast you in a Marvel franchise.