Rebel rebel, you’ve torn your dress

When I first heard the news, I assumed a grievous mistake had been made. Reese Witherspoon arrested? For sassing a cop who’d pulled over her fella for drink-driving? And then giving it the old “don’t you know who I am” line? And then having her mug-shot taken down the jail-house?

No, I thought. They must mean Rhys Ifans, the scarecrow-haired hobo who was in Notting Hill. He’s always boozing and causing a ruckus. Or Tim Witherspoon, the presumably punch-drunk former world boxing champ. Boxers are always fierce scuts.

Or maybe some notoriously alcoholic and trouble-prone celeb staggered out of one of the JD Wetherspoon’s chain of gastropubs and straight into the arms of John Q. Law. Or someone had a bizarre chemical reaction to eating too many Reese’s Chocolates and went on a sugar-enhanced rampage. Yeah, that must be it.

Amazingly, none of these outlandish scenarios was the case. Reese Witherspoon really had been arrested for sassing a cop. Reese Witherspoon, who looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth which occupies a front-and-centre position towards the lower half of her cutesy, blue-eyed, bushy-tailed, heart-shaped face. Who won an Oscar and went to Stanford University and seems a responsible mother and has never been in a lick of trouble.

Yeah, her. That Reese Witherspoon. Crazy, innit?

Needless to say, the jokes started flying before the camera flash had even died away. Huge movie star gets arrested? Sure, it’d be an immoral dereliction of duty not to make a joke.

The best one I saw was made by someone very clever and witty – me – on Twitter: “I didn’t buy Reese Witherspoon in that mug-shot. I mean technically, yes, it was a good performance. But I just wasn’t feeling it, you know?”

Har-dee-har-har. But if I could just put on a serious expression and pretend to actually be serious for a moment: what the Sam Hill is going on here? Has Reese Witherspoon been possessed by the collective spirit of Rhys Ifans, Tim Witherspoon and the CEOs of JD Wetherspoons and Reese’s Chocolates?

Almost certainly…yes.

Another pertinent question is: why do we love it when a good girl goes bad? Is there something petty and vindictive inside each of us, which exults in the fall from grace of a sleb who previously seemed a bit too sweet and wholesome and perfect (a description which also fits those aforementioned chocolates)?

Again, almost certainly…yes.

Still, at least Reese had the good grace to arrive at this point by accident. I mean, I’m presuming it wasn’t part of some strategic plot to further her career by getting into a bit of argy-bargy with a highway patrolman. She’s massive, she doesn’t need to do that.

At her level of fame, she’d be looking at engineering a spurious cat-fight with Ann Hathaway through selective leaked quotes to the media. Or vomiting blood onto George Clooney’s tuxedo at the Oscars after-party, then slurring, “That’s what I f**king think of you, Clooney. You git.”

So Reese’s run-in with Joe Q. Legality was spontaneous and unplanned. But I hate when some actress cynically decides to shatter her good-girl image by doing something – yawn – “daring” or “shocking”. It’s such a bore, isn’t it? So lazy and clichéd and manipulative.

You know how it goes. Such-and-such becomes famous for making Disney comedies and saccharine pop albums. Instead of keeping her head down and thanking Lucifer the Lord of Flies for his blessings in giving her this fame and money which she almost certainly didn’t deserve based on talent alone, she decides to do something – yawn – “controversial” or “outrageous”.

It’s always the same old sheeeite. Do a nude scene, do a lesbian scene, play a hooker/stripper/porno “actress”, allow a sex-tape to be “stolen”, fall out of a nightclub while conveniently wearing no knickers, et cetera.

Basically, the message is: Look at me, I have boobs and a vagina. Yes, that’s right – even though I was in a Disney movie, I possess the normal sexual characteristics of adult female primates of the family Hominidae and genus Homo Sapiens!

Wow, well done to you. Great achievement. Although I think evolution deserves most of the credit.

It’s boring, and kind of depressing, because it always involves sexuality. Is that the only way a young woman can show the world she’s now grown-up? Perhaps even worse, is that the only way a young woman can display rebellion?

Just once, I’d love to see a former teen princess join some hard-line Maoist terror cell, lead an insurgent army or make conceptual art so bizarre that the other conceptual artists are all like, ‘Whoa, that is some pretty goddamn bizarre conceptual art, dude.’

It’ll never happen, though, which is a real pity. But not as much of a pity as the fact that my theory about Reese Witherspoon being possessed is untrue.


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