Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Paris Hilton phenomenon

The world has ground to a halt in the USA. I have surfed and surfed the TV news channels and there is only one subject being reported - being reported with obsessive minutiae, repetitive minutiae - and, of course, it is Paris Hilton, the tarty hotel heiress who is famous for being famous.
At first, I was amused and horrified. It seemed that the celebrity gossip which has been passing for news in this country had soared out of control.
But, pausing to scrutinise some of the coverage, it became apparent that, while it is, indeed, celebrity gossip reportage, there is something else at play here - something very interesting.

It is an exercise in national schadenfreud.
It is the display of country renewing its commitment to principles.

America has been inflicted with a daily diet of Paris's vapid and vulgar activities.
She has been a grotesque media creation, a cartoon of the American fascination with celebrity, riding high on endless concocted photo opportunities, not to mention the most artificially contrived un-reality TV show of them all.
But now she has tripped in demonstrating contempt for the DUI laws, in believing that as the celebrated Paris Hilton she is somehow above the laws, and the country has turned on her in a spirit of unified loathing.

Even Martha Stewart did not cop this sort of national vilification when she was jailed for insider trading. For all her faults, Martha has talent and has contributed to the world, albeit her contributions are stencilled cards and DIY Christmas decorations.
Paris Hilton is just the cheapest rich girl in the world. Even stencilling a card would be beyond her. But her country now is forcing her to contribute something towards its social mores. She is to be an example of comeuppance.
To that end, there were five helicopters and hundreds of media surrounding her house when she had her brief liberation from jail yesterday. The media halted all other news coverage to mull over the justice and ethics of her case. From channel to channel, there were debates, discussions and analyses - from Fox's savage talking heads to Larry King, from The View to Jay Leno.
And no one had a good word to say about her.
All of which has given her a new crown to wear.
Paris Hilton has taken over from O.J. Simpson has the most hated celebrity in the USA.


meeyauw said...

I am leaving a comment here because I can no longer get the comments on the smoking post to work. Whenever I open a comment window on that post, the window jumps to the Discovering Alcoholic site. Whatever that person did to your comment box was pretty damn rude.

Samela said...

Thanks Meeyauw. It was an accident. All fixed.

American Interests said...

One can imagine what Al Gore thought about all this...