The “Poo” in Reese Witherspoon

Actress and patriot stands up for shit-faced Americans.


In Atlanta, Georgia last week, actress Reese Witherspoon did the Disorderly Conduct dance during an altercation with Georgia State Patrol Officers over her husband’s DUI stop. Witherspoon got mouthy, so the police got bossy. She was told to sit in her car, but she got in an officer’s face instead, allegedly multiple times. Once out of the car, she’s said to have shouted, “I am a U.S. citizen! I am allowed to stand on American ground!”

But the Stand-Your-Ground law doesn’t apply to drunk uncles, so only after hands were firmly placed on Witherspoon’s shoulders in anticipation of a struggle did she become physically compliant. Still, as the cuffs went on, so did Witherspoon, with the sanctimonious don’t-you-know-who-I am!? schtick. The arresting officer assured the tantrum-throwing actress that he didn’t need to know her name, but Reese wouldn’t let him diffuse things with his cop mind tricks. She reportedly insisted he’d soon find out who she is, and under the harsh light of national attention. But the harsh light of the Atlanta City Jail got to her first.

File this one under the Diminished Expectations reserved for most public figures, but Witherspoon deserves credit for not blaming her drunken stupidity on ibuprofen, eye irritation, Hollywood exhaustion, or a condition known as hotdog fingers. While staying clear of details or comments so loved by Saturday Night Live writers, the actress issued an apology, taking full responsibility for playing the celebrity card about as discreetly as Bieber or Lohan. As she sought to distance herself from the roadside antics of a skank – going so far as to state that her fear of the police is no excuse for her behavior – she showed relative class. Relative because the fear line is horse-poo. Berating police as if they were uppity house servants isn’t what terrified arrestees do, but she used the ides of it to her advantage, creating a platform upon which to rise above entitled pardons. The celebrity world has spoken in Witherspoon’s favor, as expected, but she earns it with:

“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.” 

Who cares if she has respect for the police or not? Who cares whether those are really her own words? Her lawyer has already won approval for a pretrial intervention plan that would allow Witherspoon to avoid a conviction, yet her statement demonstrates an awareness of how her actions affect those around her. Like it or not, at least it’s contributory. She has every reason to be embarrassed, but for an event of such utter meaninglessness, it offers  – Witherspoon offers –  a meaningful lesson: Own your poo!