room for one more honey

Juliana Hatfield seems to be on a roll lately, with a very nice acoustic session at Daytrotter and a new song (also acoustic) which she premiered at Stereogum, with the somewhat unwieldy title “There’s Always Another Girl (For Lindsay Lohan).”

Were you just snickering? Was it because you think a song about Lindsay Lohan must be ironic, or a kiss-off to a sellout…or were you perhaps reminded of Lohan’s alleged lesbian affair, obsessed over by supermarket tabloids? Hatfield’s got you in her sights, if so: she’s pissed off enough to disdain subtlety, giving listeners the song’s point in its first lines. As someone who’s had her own painful and ridiculous run-ins with the press (Google her name alongside “virginity” and with “anorexia” if you must), she knows what she’s singing about…and the lines contrasting media treatment of male fuckups makes me suspect she’s thinking of her old pal Evan Dando – who, even though he was hardly left unscathed, was also treated as being more substantial, and his drug problems regarded less as pathetic than as a badge of his troubled rock-star genius.

In other words, bluntly: she’s right, we really do love watching beautiful women self-destruct. And that “another girl” isn’t for Lindsay Lohan, smirkers: she’s her replacement, an interchangeable bimbo in the public regard. I don’t know that I agree with Hatfield on Lohan’s reserves of talent (I don’t know that I disagree – I know next to nothing about Lohan), but troubled women are assumed to have lost touch and become hopeless in a way that troubled men never quite reach. How many wacked-out male rock stars are called geniuses? (I’ll start the list: Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, Arthur Lee, Brian Wilson, Skip Spence…on we go)? How many wacked-out female rock stars even get far enough to be wacked-out rock stars? If they’re truly troubled, we only really lionize them after they’re dead (Billie Holiday, Judee Sill…).

I suppose this could be dismissed as trivial showbiz bleating, or even as one only-slightly-troubled woman’s personal pleading…but maybe read this article by Katha Pollitt: such killers invariably regard women with a contempt disturbingly similar to the way the media typically treats, say, Courtney Love.

Juliana Hatfield “There’s Always Another Girl (For Lindsay Lohan)” (unreleased, 2009)

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