Normally I don't write much about crimes and trials -- because if I ever did start those threads, I'd do nothing but trialblogging. Having weathered the OJ trial as an Angeleno, I have a profound distaste for what celebrity trials represent in terms of media coverage and have no real desire to add to it. Inevitably, the commentary becomes misinformed if not obnoxiously misanthropic.
Wesley Strick should have avoided commentary on the latest celebrity trial as well. The third-tier screenwriter takes on the Phil Spector murder trial in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that reads more like a Top Ten Worst Cliches About Hollywood Women, and quite explicitly blames Lana Clarkson for her own murder:
Who knows what Lana and Phil were chatting about, in the back of that limo? They'd only met an hour earlier. Maybe Lana was staring out the tinted window as DeSouza merged onto the 710 North. Was she thinking about two other Hollywood blonds — real ones, this time — who were butchered, slaughtered: Sharon Tate and Dorothy Stratten?
Stratten would have been about the same age as Clarkson had she not found herself at the wrong end of a shotgun more than 20 years earlier. Hadn't Clarkson seen "Star 80"? But Stratten was a rube from Vancouver, a naif, whereas Clarkson was a native who'd been around the block. A survivor.
And what about Tate, another sex goddess who, like Stratten, was involved with a world-class director who'd starred her in his own movies? Clarkson would've been 7 when news of the Tate murders broke. Slain in her own home on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, Sharon was. And Lana didn't have Polanski or Bogdanovich in her corner. Just Roger Corman, and the lead in "Barbarian Queen."
I think it's fair to say that this is the most incoherent piece of tripe that has appeared on the pages of the Los Angeles Times, and that's saying something. Strick can't even distinguish between fiction and reality as he blames Clarkson for living in a dream world. He references Dorothy Stratten, who was killed by her loser ex-boyfriend and not anyone in "Hollywood", and Sharon Tate, whose murder had nothing to do with her film career. Strick fails to mention Robert Blake, probably because he didn't want to get sued for libel.
Strick starts rattling off Hollywood movies, both A-list and B-movies, in a shotgun approach that makes little sense. First comes Citizen Kane, even though Kane doesn't kill any paramour. He then mentions Beyond the Valley of the Dolls as a cautionary tale that Clarkson should have considered -- despite it being a piece of fiction almost as incoherent as his column. Strick considers it the "Rosetta Stone" of the Clarkson murder even though the facts of the Clarkson murder bear not the least resemblance to the killings in the movie, with the single exception that breast-obsessed director Russ Meyer and writer Roger Ebert (yes, that Roger Ebert) loosely based the character of the murderer on Phil Spector.
Strick uses all of these silly references to do one task: blame Clarkson for her own murder. Didn't she see BVOTD? Apparently every self-respecting Hollywood actress should do so for her own good. (The rest of you should skip it; it's a dreadful exploitation film. I've seen it.) And beyond Clarkson, somehow Hollywood is responsible as well, as Clarkson is another in a long line of actresses who have been murdered, both in real life and in fiction.
Strick's essay is a cheap shot taken at a dead woman who cannot speak for herself any longer, written by a man whose biggest credential to date is writing the movie based on the shoot-em-up computer game Doom. The LA Times should consider its editorial management of the op-ed page if this is the kind of work that makes it through the checks and balances of its mainstream media operation.