Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: Reese Witherspoon's Mugshot Is a Thing of Beauty

Is anything as undignified as a mugshot? There you are, maybe it's late at night/early in the morning, maybe you're drunk, with all the physiological side effects that confers (bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair). Whatever the reason for your booking, the harsh fluorescent lights of the police station give everyone an unhealthy pallor. And that grainy, law-enforcement-grade film stock isn't doing you any favors either. I guess sex tapes are worse. We don't have quite as large a celebrity pool to choose from, unfortunately, but give it time.

Anyway, you probably heard about actress Reese Witherspoon's arrest for disorderly conduct last Friday. The arrest would've raised eyebrows on its own, considering Witherspoon's previously innocuous reputation (right, like *you* wouldn't have cheated with Jake Gyllenhaal), but it was her hilariously stupefying uses of the "Do you know my name?" approach that really got everyone's knickers in a twist. "How dare she?" we regular folk demanded, secretly wondering why she didn't just try to bribe him, like I always assume rich people do.

She's been apologetic ever since, which is probably equal parts genuine embarrassment and fear that her latest movie (Mud) she's been promoting will suffer as a result. But if you ask me, she ought to be proud of that phenomenal mugshot.

To sum up:

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after a state trooper said she wouldn't stay in the car while her husband was given a field sobriety test in Atlanta.


As the test continued, "Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer. I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet," Trooper First Class J. Pyland writes.


At that point, the report says, Witherspoon got out and asked the trooper what was going on. After being told to return to the car, she "stated that she was a `US Citizen' and that she was allowed to `stand on American ground,"' the report states.


"Do you know my name?" Witherspoon is quoted as asking the trooper. She also said: "You're about to find out who I am" and "You're about to be on national news," according to the report.

I don't want to make light of drunk driving, especially when the offenders are clearly capable of springing for a goddamn limo, much less a cab. But "stand on American ground"? I can hear that in any number of voices, from Ron Swanson to Dale Gribble. That is some epic shit right there.

So Witherspoon gets arrested for disorderly conduct. The mugshot was probably on TMZ before the fingerprint ink dried. And with good reason. I mean, look at this:

Yes, it's pixelated as hell, but it's all right there: her eyes cast downward, as if already contrite. Yet at the same time, a wry smile turns up the corners of her mouth, implying a secret she doesn't yet feel like sharing. The soft focus conferred by the cheap film softens the occasionally harsh angles of her jawline. Really, just stunning.

Given this country's terrible history of celebrity mugshots (well, maybe not this guy's), we should all be grateful to be gifted with something this goddamned artistic. As far as I'm concerned, she doesn't even need to apologize.

Except of course, she already did:

Out of respect for the ongoing legal situation, I cannot comment on everything that is being reported right now. But I do want to say, I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said. It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. The words I used that night definitely do not reflect who I am. I have nothing but respect for the police and I'm very sorry for my behavior.

Oh, I think they "reflect who you are" just fine. In vino veritas, as Mel Gibson once said. Hey, you're a millionaire actress who, well, *used to* make critically acclaimed films. Nobody's surprised that you dropped the "Do you know my name?" card. They're probably just jealous of your magnificent mugshot, is all.

Especially this guy:

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar