Lindsay Lohan, the actress-cum-fashionista, has posed provocatively on the cover of Purple, a French fashion magazine (to which--zut alors!--my subscription just ran out) as Jesus Christ. (H/T to David Gibson at Politics Daily.)
Sort of. Ms. Lohan is wearing a crown of thorns and holds her arms outstretched, in a cruciform pose. On the other hand, her white dress seems decidedly more Marian, appropriate for today's Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. (Doubtless the "stylist" Christopher Niquet had a liturgical calendar handy.) Not so Marian, though, is her decolletage, which descends to roughly her navel. Too bad that the editors of Purple couldn't have timed this cover closer to Lent since that's when it would have the most shock value, and offended the maximum number of...oh wait, Lent begins next week. I get it.
Some Catholics are annoyed. Bill Donohue, my friend at the Catholic League, said, "Not only is the pose inappropriate, the timing is offensive: Lent begins next week. Lohan, an ex-Catholic who is spiritually homeless, recently said, 'I’m all about Karma…what goes around comes around.' If she believes that, then it behooves her to apologize to Christians before it’s too late." Gibson, on the other hand, suggests a more generous interpretation: she may be returning to her Catholic roots. If so, it would balance out a departing star: Anne Hathaway just left the church.
My take on the Purple cover is that it is a naked (almost) grab for publicity by the magazine and the star, which trades on images that are dear to Christians. And really, does Lindsay Lohan want to be compared to Jesus? In that case, let's take a look at how their records stack up. Consider:
Linday made her debut as a child prodigy at age 11 in "The Parent Trap." Jesus made his debut at age 12 in the Temple when his parents were looking for him.
Lindsay starred in "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen." Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confession, and is the King of Kings.
Lindsay is followed by crowds of paparazzi who hang on her every move. Jesus was followed by crowds of people who hung on his every word.
Lindsay starred in "Herbie: Fully Loaded," about a car that becomes human. Jesus is God become man.
Lindsay was arrested for drunk driving by the Beverly Hills police and was guilty. Jesus was arrested for sedition by the Roman police and was innocent.
Lindsay is a "triple threat" in Hollywood: a singer, a dancer and an actor. Jesus is a member of the Holy Trinity.
Lindsay has recorded for Universal Music. Jesus is the King of the Universe.
Lindsay released a self-tanning product in collaboration with Sephora, and was the face of the Fornarina, an Italian clothing line. Jesus visited the Roman town of Sepphoris in Galilee, and is the face of God.
Lindsay refused to comment on politics because she doesn't wish to alienate her fanbase. Jesus refused to comment on politics because he didn't wish to endanger his followers.
Lindsay worked on a film called "I Know Who Killed Me." Jesus knew who killed him, and forgave them from the Cross.
Lindsay dropped out of production of "Poor Things" after being arrested for drunk driving. Jesus was poor, and was arrested after drinking with his friends at the Last Supper.
Lindsay posed in Purple for a fashion shoot, which would help sales. Jesus was clothed in purple before his crucifixion, which would redeem humankind.
Lindsay will star in a movie called "The Other Side," hoping for a comeback. Jesus died, went to the Other Side and had a big comeback, too: Easter.
Life lesson for Lindsay: Be careful who you imitate, lest you suffer by comparison.
James Martin, SJ