TO AMANDA BYNES
by Jean DePasquale
I am the same age as Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes and I was raised a few miles from her home suburb. Amanda stole the show All That and The Amanda Show. One of my favorite things about Amanda is that she wasn’t afraid to look ugly or get messy. As a precocious child star, she was a riot; I laughed up a storm.
“I’m Not Crazy,” tweeted the young actress on May 29, 13…and it is far wiser for us as a society to ask ourselves why we should feel any level of entertainment or satisfaction by watching the demise and self-destruction of a young starlet we once idolized. Fame is perhaps the only mental condition that Amanda is suffering from. Or…if she really does need help why are we making her feel bad about it? I do not envy the struggle of a young woman in the midst of fame, glory and fortune. We could say that Amanda is just trying to discover herself. We could say that she is desperate for attention. A beautiful and healthy Amanda Bynes arrived at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Universal Studios’ Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011 in Universal City, California. In a recent interview with In Touch Amanda revealed the inspiration behind her new look: “I wanted to look like Blac Chyna.” Blac Chyna being the stripper. But why would she admire a stripper when the world is her oyster? Celebrity is mostly metaphoric sharks circling in the water for the drowning. The sharks were always human. To the world it appears like Amanda Bynes is in a downward spiral, caught in a web of lies, and yet the media is feeding on her like frenzied, blood-thirsty zombies. It is sickening to watch the media pick and tear apart a young woman that quite obviously needs a friend. Followers on twitter are merely entertained, but I suspect that few of her “followers” or the paparazzi care about her well being.
Bynes was charged with marijuana possession, attempted evidence tampering (supposedly tossing a bong out the window of her 36th floor Manhattan apartment) and reckless endangerment on Friday, May 24. In court, a disheveled platinum wig concealed her shaved head. I shaved my head during a difficult period in my life as a symbolic gesture for renewal. It would take patience and time in my life to heal. Some of my favorite female icons have shaved theirs, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, Sinead O’Connor, and more. It truly serves as a positive and liberating metaphor for rebirth, and more people should be accepting, and less judgmental. However, according to Bynes, it was an accident, “I had to shave my head because of hair damage from someone @ John Barrett so I’m not loving my paparazzi pics for a few years! I have extensions but you can see them!” she tweeted in a rant to E Online on Thursday, April 11. The salon tells In Touch, “When the colorist finished, she didn’t think her hair was blond enough, so she started rubbing bleach through her hair with her hands. Everyone was horrified.” Amanda claims that the media is picking on her erratic behavior.
In 2007, Amanda Bynes discusses why she believes that she and Lindsey Lohan have nothing in common at all in a clip titled, “The Amanda Bynes Lost Interview.” The “new” Amanda Bynes doesn’t sound anything like the young woman we fell in love with.
“What’s wrong with me? It is shocking how it has become popular to go to rehab, right? It is very odd. I dunno, I guess I would say I am very lucky I have a great family and I have my eye on the prize, which is a long career and I don’t want to blow what I have worked so hard to achieve.” Amanda continued: “The club scene and drinking doesn’t appeal to me, so it is actually easier for me not to do it. I have never even been offered drugs…birds of a feather flock together, and I definitely don’t fly with that crowd.” She ended the interview with, “I think people take advantage of the opportunities and the things people give you. For me, I am just grateful…Maybe it is because I had parents that worked really hard to earn money. My dad was a dentist for thirty years. He went to USC and he wasn’t given anything; his parents worked really hard too. He didn’t grow up wealthy and my dad taught me the value of a dollar.” There is a big difference between Lohan and Bynes. Lohan is an addict, and has a sense of entitlement. Bynes is perhaps self-medicating with drugs that make her troubles much worse. It seems like Bynes doesn’t know what the hell she is doing. Amanda posted a disturbing video on her twitter…something seems definitely off here: (http://youtu.be/C6cjJkI_f14). A short clip reveals her disheveled appearance in the courtroom: (http://youtu.be/pwzZCCJws5Q). She says there is nothing wrong with her but clearly there is.
Amanda appears in a platinum wig in court on Friday May 24. After she was arrested on May 24, Amanda tweeted: “I need Nicki Minaj’s wig person stat!” Her response caused me to wonder if it is all a big game. Yet, I still view her as a victim, a concoction of our unhealthy obsession with celebrities as a society. We glorify her behavior rather than dispel it. We could ignore her cries for attention. We could cut to the chase. She needs to muster the courage to step away from the limelight. This information doesn’t need to be publicized. It only serves as an icon for the next young Disney pop star to aspire to. Maybe she is taking drugs. But what does Amanda have to say for all that? Amanda tweeted: “I only smoke tobacco. I don’t drink or do drugs. I’ve never had a bong in my life! I need to get another nose job after seeing my mugshot! :D” (Bynes first revealed her surgery via Twitter May 5. “I had a nose job to remove skin that was like a webbing in between my eyes,” she explained at the time.) Yet, she claimed on twitter: “I’m allergic to alcohol and drugs and don’t partake in any of the above. I’m so offended by all of this but so proud to not be a drug or alcohol user.” Bynes said she had opened her window “for fresh air.” Her attorney at the hearing denied the charges and accused police of entering the actress’ apartment illegally. “Clearly a search was made for the bong and nothing was recovered,” attorney Andrew Friedman told the court. “My client completely denies ever having thrown anything out the window. She was followed illegally into her apartment for no reason.” If things couldn’t get any stranger than television, @AmandaBynes tweeted on May 25, 2013 at 19:59:
“Don’t believe the reports about me being arrested. It’s all lies. I was sexually harassed by one of the cops the night before last which is who then arrested me. He lied and said I threw a bong out the window when I opened the window for fresh air. Hilarious. He slapped my vagina. Sexual harassment. Big deal. I then called the cops on him. He handcuffed me, which I resisted, quite unlike any of the reports stated. Then I was sent to a mental hospital. Offensive. I kept asking for my lawyer but they wouldn’t let me. The cops were creepy. The cop sexually harassed me, they found no pot on me or bong outside my window. That’s why the judge let me go. Don’t believe any reports.”
This isn’t the first time Bynes has used twitter to address her legal woes. After she was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated and sideswiping a police car in April 2012, the All That star addressed President Barack Obama for assistance. “I don’t drink. Please fire the cop who arrested me,” Bynes asked the nation’s leader. “I also don’t hit and run. The end.” (Obama, 51, never replied to the She’s the Man star). On September 6, 2012, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Bynes’ driver’s license. On September 16, Bynes was caught driving with a suspended license, and had her vehicle impounded and on September 21, she was charged with the same. The Sydney White actress was officially charged with two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run in September 2012. The actress was soon seen driving with a suspended license in Hollywood, prompting police officers to pull her over. After a 25-minute conversation, Bynes was allowed to go home. Amanda is quite literally suffering from illusions of grandeur if she really thinks Obama cares… On September 27, she pleaded not guilty to two charges of hit-and-run with her court date set for December 17, but before she had to appear in court, she reached a settlement with the other parties in the alleged hit-and-run incidents from April and August and the charges were dismissed. On May 9, 2013, Bynes pled no contest to the charge of driving with a suspended license. She was sentenced to three years’ probation. Amanda tweeted:
“For once and for all, this is the last thing I’ll say about the mistaken arrest. I’m suing NYPD for illegally entering my apartment, lying about drugs on me and lying about me tampering with non existent drug paraphernalia, then I’m suing for being put into a mental hospital against my will, then locked up overnight for coming home after a facial and working out with my trainer like the good girl that I am. I’m allergic to alcohol and drugs and don’t partake in any of the above. I’m so offended by all of this but so proud to not be a drug or alcohol user. I don’t need to talk about this anymore. My lawyer and I are taking this offense so seriously! Everything they did was against the law and The judge saw that there was no drugs on me or proof of any type of bong or mental illness (I was so offended to even be taken to a mental hospital and they would not let me call my lawyer until the next day after being in jail all night, then I went to court and was immediately released because the judge saw that I was wrongly arrested. The cops found no proof of any type of drug use or evidence of drug paraphernalia such as a bong in or around my apartment) I’m also suing my apartment complex for lying about me smoking in my building. I’m free forever! You can’t lock up an innocent person! Thanks for caring!”
Amanda’s tweets aren’t adding up. New York police say they’ve found no evidence Amanda Bynes was sexually harassed after police were called to her apartment. New York police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said, “As it would with any such allegation, regardless of its credibility or lack thereof, the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating it.” A NYPD Internal Affairs representative said, “A credible civilian witness who was with the officers throughout told investigators that none touched Ms. Bynes inappropriately or otherwise engaged in misconduct at any time.” Even without knowing the witness’ identity, we tend to believe the police over the bemusing Ms. Bynes. Amanda is suing everyone! Amanda is suing the police officer that allegedly assaulted her, her apartment complex, any magazines and blogs that post inaccurate stories about her, and her parents, of course, otherwise her total meltdown would be incomplete. Amanda Bynes tweeted on May 26, 2013 at 14:51:
“…I’m suing for all of the above! I’ll be happy when I get money compensation from the cop who assaulted me and NYPD for wrongfully arresting me and having me put into a mental hospital and jail overnight! I don’t want to keep talking about it. My lawyer is taking care of it for me. My real friends don’t talk about me on twitter. Also, never trust or listen to a word any person from my family says to the press. I am suing them for money laundering/unethical manager work, I never signed a contract with them, and they had been stealing my money without me knowing, claiming they were managing me somehow when they have no right to act as if they did anything to help or enhance my career and I want $ back that I earned on my own. I’m 27 and don’t like when press talks to my parents. My parents are almost 70 years old. We are no longer on speaking terms. I would rather them be homeless than live off of my money.”
In Touch recently posted a series of photographs from inside the starlet’s apartment (http://i.imgur.com/BUhJ5p7.jpg). Amanda tweeted: “I’m suing them! They fucked with my photos!” However, In Touch issued this formal statement: “In Touch has not altered or photoshopped these photos in any way. Additionally, the photographer has assured In Touch that these photos of Amanda were not altered or photoshopped in any way prior to the magazine obtaining them and they are, in fact, of Amanda Bynes taken at Amanda’s apartment in New York City. All of Amanda’s claims pertaining to the photos in this week’s In Touch are false.” These dudes are scumbags. When you buy a copy of that magazine to look at the pictures, doesn’t that make you a scumbag twice removed? So she’s mentally ill—and yet you got high with her until five in the morning? Why is this news? Or better yet, why is this entertainment news?
Amanda Bynes tweeted on May 27: “I’m also suing my apartment complex for lying about me smoking in my building. I’m free forever! You can’t lock up an innocent person! Thanks for caring! Look forward to seeing me in music videos! I’m getting in shape and getting a nose job! I’m looking forward to a long and wonderful career as a singer/rapper!” This is more entertaining than her skits.
Her transparent words reveal to the world a self-absorbed narcissist. Narcissism is a condition in which one does not properly or adequately love oneself, even if the actions of the person might appear the opposite. “If I am not following you on twitter, I hate you.” FYI, she is following a total of nine people. Amanda has fallen out of love with herself. Point in case, on April 30th Amanda Bynes tweeted: “About to put on makeup! I weigh 135, I’ve gained weight! I need to be 100 lbs!” Amanda is five feet and eight inches; one hundred pounds is underweight for a woman of her stature. And on April 4th she tweeted: “I have an eating disorder so I have a hard time staying thin.” Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia etc. is known to cause erratic behavior and mood swings. It is clear that Amanda may be suffering from a multitude of things, but clearly she needs support right now. “I’m on that 24 hour walking diet,” she tweeted, which sounds exhausting.
In another bizarre story, Amanda claims to have a doppelganger in Manhattan with red hair, prancing around and posing as the young star. The Easy A star was pictured looking a mess with newly-dyed red hair in New York City on Monday, after the photographs emerged online, the 27-year-old took to Twitter to insist it was not her, but instead an imposter, amid the fact that snapshots of her in nearly the same outfit, with now-fading red hair, have surfaced. But the troubled star tweeted on Tuesday night before her arrest: “Fake or real microdermals same glasses! I don’t own those clothes and I’m a blonde! Haha!” “My hair is blonde I’ve never been a redhead!” “Somebody keeps posing as me! Check my photos on twitter for up to date pictures!” she added. But why would she lie about it? Perhaps she is obsessed with the media. Her tweets reveal her obsession with her image: “@HuffingtonPost Choose a better photo or remove the story because I don’t smoke in the bathroom. I also don’t smoke pot I smoke tobacco! There are always tons of photos to choose, you pick the worst one! Read my twitter! Please don’t make the same mistake you saw someone else just make! Tweet your contact information if you want to interview me, which you seem to be dying to do! Stop writing continuous lies. Post my twit pics! Stop posting old photos!”
She also tweeted UsWeekly: “Dear @UsWeekly – I don’t know why u feel the need to make up stories about me. I don’t talk to light fixtures. Contact me to ask what I’m up to, instead of stalking people who always make up crazy stories about me! Tweet me your contact email. I’ll email you then always email me to fact check when someone calls in a fake story about me, they’re all fake! I don’t want to be in your magazine in a negative way! I do nothing wrong! Thanks!”
It seems the misrepresentation of the starlet’s grandiose behavior is larger than life. Real or fake videos swarm the web revealing an Amanda in less than flattering light. In a video, we see her grab the camera from a member of the paparazzi and delete pictures. In another recent clip she refers to a member of the paparazzi as a “ugly black man.” Clearly, the paparazzi is stalking and harassing Amanda Bynes, and worse than a psycho ex boyfriend we condone the paparazzi and gobble it up. We can’t wait to hear the next story about Amanda, or the next troubled starlet. She has serious self-image issues, hence why she’s obsessed with calling everyone ugly on twitter. Shame because she used to be such a pretty girl (before the piercings and the nose jobs or whatever). I just don’t get why she continues to deny it. It scares me how defensive she gets about this.
Some of her recent tweets have many people talking: “He’s Rocking That Incest Face.” “Please don’t take paparazzi pictures of me I like taking my own!” “Only read my twitter for photos of me.” “Believe everything I say on twitter!” “I want @drake to murder my vagina.” “It doesn’t matter what you think about yourself. All that matters is what your lover thinks of you.” “I’m suing certain blogs and magazines saying I have a mental illness! They take pictures anytime I’ve gained weight then write a fake story.” “Stop posting old pics! I’m on twitter every day posting new pics for whatever you write! Thanks Forever.”
Her tweets surely show signs of misguided youth. Maybe her obsession with her own image is what caused the starlet to deny the pictures of her with red hair. Is it all a publicity stunt?
I’m not judging Amanda. I smoke pot. However, research reveals that cannabis use can cause drug-induced psychosis, trigger the first episode of a psychotic illness, or make a pre-existing psychotic illness worse. Adolescents and young adults who smoke marijuana have an increased risk for experiencing psychotic symptoms, according to a new study; the findings appear online in the journal BMJ. “Carefully conducted prospective studies such as this one provide the best evidence available that cannabis contributes to the cause of some cases of schizophrenia,” says Matthew Large of Prince of Wales Hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Large recently published a similar study linking marijuana use to earlier age of onset of schizophrenia.
After investigation, the NYPD found the retired actress’ claims to be complete bullshit, Amanda tweeted on May 29: “My lawyer is getting my case dropped! There was no proof of sexual harassment or drugs. Instead of me asking for the cop to be arrested for sexual harassment, I want my case dropped as well. His punishment will be being the cop who sexually harassed someone who would never find him handsome enough to be my boyfriend. That’s worse than any time in jail. But I am suing him for money compensation. I love having more money in my bank!” For anyone that tries to intervene, be forewarned, Amanda has gone on a tirade for any tweet.
Chrissy Teigen, a sports illustrated model, was quickly biting her tongue (tweet tweet). Amanda quickly replied to her tweet: “@chrissyteigen Ur not a pretty model compared to me. I signed to Ford models @ age 13. I don’t look up to u beauty wise. I’m far prettier than u! I’m offended that you’re saying I have a mental illness when I show no sign of it, but thankfully not one man that wants me wants you and you are an old ugly model compared to me! You look 45! You’re not pretty so I’m not intimidated by you! I think you’re jealous that you’re just an ugly model whos career is uninspiring! I don’t respect you! You’re no beauty queen! I’m a beauty queen!”
I really like what Chrissy Teigen wrote in her blog sodelushious.com on May 15: “Someone just asked me why I think shaming is okay and why I think it is beneficial. I don’t particularly think it is okay to make anyone feel badly about themselves. I don’t think it’s my job or anybody’s job to go around shaming people. I do think that, somewhere along the line, we lost our feelings of being ashamed for our actions. We have a society now where we too often reward poor behavior. I don’t like that society seems to reward a girl who stages a so called sex tape and tries to get pregnant so that she can further her career as a reality star.”
Rihanna tweeted on May 26: “Ya see what happens when they cancel Intervention?” Heck, she could have been talking about how I knocked a bunch of dishes off the table. Bynes allegedly tweeted, “@rihanna no one wants to be your lover so you call everyone and their mother that I almost named my new dog Rihanna.” “@rihanna Chris brown beat you because you’re not pretty enough.” ”@rihanna unlike ur fugly faced self I don’t do drugs! U need the intervention dog! I met ur ugly face in person! U aren’t pretty u know it!” Although Bynes denied the tweets, since then she has referred to many stars as ugly including Jay Z, Courtney Love, Jenny McCarthy and Chrissy Teigen. How rude. Derogatory slurs are an outward projection of a person’s own poisonous self-loathing.
Jill Filipovic wrote a very insightful article into the plight of a troubled young starlet: Amanda Bynes’ public meltdown says more about us than her: What does it show about society when we commodify a pretty female celebrity’s meltdown? We certainly don’t do that to men. In a compelling and insightful argument, Jill offers her perspective on why we as a society glorify poor behavior from our icons, especially female ones, “We love watching women the way we watch things.” She continued:
“Clearly, we love a good train wreck, especially a female one. It’s easy to go the “Leave Britney alone!” route, or to insist we collectively look away, or to criticize the media for perpetuating these downward spirals by giving the spiral-er the attention she craves. Those are all fair responses – we should all leave Britney alone and stop staring at people who are visibly troubled; the tabloid model that profits when bad things happen to famous people is clearly an evil one. But it’s also worth taking a look at why we find it so satisfying when women appear to descend into madness, especially when those women were, like Bynes, previously paragons of female sweetness and innocence. Their erratic behavior is a particularly female kind: they’re brash when they were once admired for being demure, they amp up pinup model femininity in their appearance to the point of parody (think Bynes’ bleach-blonde wig and push-up bras, or Anna Nicole Smith’s heavy make-up and bleached hair) or tear it down in some dramatic way (head shaving seems to be a popular choice).
In an effort to restrain myself from quoting Jill’s entire article, I find her words poignant, powerful and pertinent, she beseeches us:
“While we’re transfixed, women are especially punished for appearing to go off the deep end. Men who behave like raging narcissists and actually get violent, on the other hand, are routinely enabled and placated. Take Charlie Sheen as the most obvious example: he attacked a couple of women and went on TV ranting about tiger blood, all while maintaining his role on a popular (if astoundingly bad) television show. His behavior, though violent and abusive, was laughed off as “antics”. Chris Brown, who beat up his famous girlfriend and engaged in several other rage-fueled incidents involving throwing chairs and destroying dressing rooms, continues to have a successful music career and hasn’t had his mental health roundly questioned. Those men actually hurt people, and appear to lack any sort of regret for their actions. We may tsk tsk them, but we still line their pockets and perpetuate their careers. The women we use as morality tales. It’s a sort of superiority to be able to take to Twitter or any tabloid pages and remark on how sad a woman’s behavior is. It’s the nice-girl flipside of flat-out calling her a whore, as model Chrissy Teigen did to Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham. It is, of course, sad to see anyone descend into what looks like an untreated mental illness. But wide mockery followed by feigned concern for the person behaving erratically only benefits the pontificators.”
There is nothing wrong with discretion, compassion, and respect for privacy. It is gossip. One can argue, and make a valid point, that any form of reproduction of the story is perpetuating. Jill writes: “I suppose I’m doing my part by even writing about Amanda Bynes in the first place.” Similarly, Chrissy Teigen mirrors this sentiment in her blog entry on sodelushious.com, “And the fucked up part is the fact that we’re even talking about her right now plays right into her plans. So god fuckin dammit.” We need a paradigm shift. Amanda’s behavior, and lack of concern for herself or anyone—is not pretty. And we need to stop writing about these stories in the media…Lindsay, Britney, Justin Bieber, their notorious bad behavior seems like a cry for help and we make them famous by it. What has the perpetrator learned from all this? “I’m getting in shape and getting a nose job! I’m looking forward to a long and wonderful career as a singer/rapper!” Most of us are presumably thinking that if Amanda Bynes’ raps are anything like her tweets..I’d listen. Because what have most of us learned from this experience?
In conclusion, Amanda Bynes tweeted on June 3, 2013: “The DA and my lawyer talked today. They have no proof of drugs on me or around me at anytime during the arrest of after. All I’m becoming is more famous! Thanks for lying about me!” Court dismissed, now bring in the dancing lobsters!
Filipovic, Jill. “Amanda Bynes’ public meltdown says more about us than her: What does it show about society when we commodify a pretty female celebrity’s meltdown? We certainly don’t do that to men.” May 30, 2013. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/29/amanda-bynes-meltdown-why-we-watch?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter). May 29, 2013.
Teigen, Chrissy. “Alright.” May 15, 2013. (sodelushious.com). May 29, 2013.