by Caren Crane
While at the beach celebrating my birthday this week, I picked up a book one of my sisters had brought along. It was The Bolter by Frances Osborne. Osborne is the great-granddaughter of one of Edwardian England's most scandalous socialites, Idina Sackville. Idina was from a very rich family (the daughter of the 8th Earl De La Warr) and she married into a very old and titled family when she wed the handsome (David) Euan Wallace. The young couple were off to a fun-filled, monied and happy life.
Then came World War I.
The War To End All Wars had many unintended consequences, such as decimating most of the titled families of England, wiping out most of a generation of young men and providing an excellent excuse for a group of entitled, wealthy and terribly bored young people to ruin their lives. Idina - beautiful, impeccably dressed, charming and the toast of London - did just that. Here she made the cover of The Tatler with her soon-to-be third husband, the 22-year old future Earl of Erroll. In reading about her many exploits, shenanigans, marriages and divorces, the question running through my mind was: why would she do that?!
It seemed to boil down to Idina's addiction to scandal. Once she had made her untidy bed, she chose not just to lie in it, but to wallow in it and invite others to take pictures of it, write newspaper articles about it and even to turn it into novels. When Euan broke her heart, Idina dug a hole she could not escape. So she turned around and dug even harder. That seems a foreign notion...until you consider other Scandal Addicts. Like who, you ask?
Consider the case of young Lindsay Lohan. Poor Lindsay was (like Idina) once a fair-haired darling of the entertainment world. Talented, beautiful and poised to take over the world, Lindsay broke down under a burden of "too much". Too many late nights, too many parties, too many public dramas about too many men. Once she fell, she kept finding ways to make things harder for herself. Will she dig herself out and over come her addiction to scandal? Time will tell.
There is also poor Amy Winehouse. Amy has been arrested for several things at this point, but she has been noted in past news articles for sticky wickets such as drug abuse, stints in rehab, attempts (along with her now ex-husand) to pervert justice, assault on various random people (fans, photographers, etc.) and crimes against hair, teeth and tattoos. She is an incredibly talented singer, musician and songwriter who should have a long, successful and award-winning career. Will she? The Magic 8 Ball cannot say, for the Force of Scandal Addiction is strong in this one.
I do not count provocateurs such as Madonna or Marilyn Manson as true Scandal Addicts. They certainly display scandalous behavior, but it is calculated to gain them publicity of a very certain type. I am far more interested in those who seem to want nothing more than to rewind life back to that moment before everything went wrong, but cannot find a way to do it. The struggle to win back respect, admiration and love seems to haunt the beautiful and incomplete like Idina, Lindsay and Amy.
Can you think of a true Scandal Addict? There have been many novels written about "scandals" in recent years, including Bandita books Something Scandalous and Scandal's Daughter. Are we, as a society, addicted to scandal? What draws us in and makes us long to gobble up other people's journeys on the dark side? And...have you heard any good scandals lately? *g* Inquiring Banditas want to know!