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Opinion: Hollywood: Lindsay Lohan, you’re no Farrah Fawcett

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They don’t make sex symbols like they used to.

Thursday’s Times offered up the yin and the yang of Hollywood starlets.

On the Opinion page, columnist Meghan Daum wrote about Farah Fawcett’s famed 1976 swimsuit poster -- and the swimsuit, of course -- going to the Smithsonian, where it will be displayed alongside other icons of American pop culture.

Meanwhile, the main news section -– along with two or three other media outlets -- managed to find space to cover Lindsay Lohan’s latest brush with the law.

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(Also getting front-page play was a story about a movie on the life story of 16-year-old pop icon Justin Bieber, and a story on U2 guitarist the Edge’s proposed Malibu home -- somewhere, Gen. Harrison Gray Otis is rolling over in his grave.)

But back to our starlets. Fawcett was a tousle-haired Texan who rose to fame in the ’70s on the basis of her sexy swimsuit poster and her star turn on ‘Charlie’s Angels.’

As Daum writes: ‘It’s tempting to look at Fawcett’s one-piece bathing suit, lanky golden limbs and unaugmented breasts as emblems of a simpler time.’

Daum then traces the phenomenon of the It Girl, from Clara Bow to Mae West to Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps, she says, Fawcett was the last It Girl -- that today, we have It Girls.

Hello, Lindsay Lohan.

Lohan is a tousle-haired train wreck from Long Island who rose to fame making Disney movies and, lately, court appearances. On Wednesday, she strode into the courthouse wearing a white dress (‘This old thing? I’ve had it in the closet forever; I just shrink-wrapped it on this morning.’) but luckily not the necklace she’s accused of pilfering.

The judge got things rolling by telling the actress: ‘You’re no different than anyone else, so please don’t push your luck.’ Presumably, the rest of his remarks were drowned out by laughter.

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And just to prove to her that this time the justice system really, really means it, The Times reported that Lohan was ‘booked at the courthouse rather than arrested by police. She was taken into custody, but outside the view of TV cameras,’ then was ‘released on $40,000 bail and was escorted out a back entrance of the courthouse.’

Now, Daum may be right. As she writes, today It Girls are ‘found not only on bedroom walls but also on countless cable channels and deep inside the hard drives of anyone who can type ‘hot chick’ into a search engine. They’re not just models and actresses but socialites and reality stars and people who don’t do anything much.’

Which, of course, pretty much sums up Lohan right now.

On the other hand, who’s to say that, 40 years from now, you won’t be able to visit the Smithsonian and say: ‘Look, there’s the alcohol monitoring anklet Lindsay Lohan wore while on probation!’

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Best eccentric at an awards show goes to...

Oscar showdown looms between ‘True Grit’ and ‘The Social Network’

--Paul Whitefield

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