Celebrity Media, Heal Thyself
Anyone whose remote control wandered past an ABC, CBS, or NBC morning “news” show on May 5 probably found the “news” hounds barking enthusiastically over this supposed “news” scoop: Paris Hilton was sentenced to
The morning anchors interviewed legal experts and professional
Some blame the mother for botching the upbringing. No one's denying that Mama Hilton is a disgraceful figure in her own right, but that's still baloney.
Who is Paris Hilton? What is her claim to fame? She is utterly unaccomplished. She has done nothing but be rich, pretty, blonde, wild, and very, very stupid. She first surfaced in an unauthorized sex tape. ABC says it became “one of the best-selling porn videos of all time.” From there, it was the surreal world of “reality” TV, and Fox's The Simple Life, where Paris and her friend Nicole Richie made themselves famous as amoral nitwits.
Then everyone got involved: the ever-hungry
Just see the gleeful reaction of Janice Min of Us Weekly when asked to assess troubled Miss Hilton for
Back in January, ABC's 20/20 acted shocked when man-on-the-street interviews revealed that nobody knew who cured polio, but many could name Nicole Richie's best friend. Earth to ABC: did you ever think this could be your fault? This was the first time Jonas Salk had been mentioned on ABC... in the 21st century.
In the meantime, Paris Hilton has been mentioned in thousands of stories. She is so famous and omnipresent in the celebrity media that she's become a rich-brat pop-culture reference point. Paris Hilton was the number one “Google News” search of 2006.
Why can't the celebrity-obsessed media turn it off? If they can't just say no, then they should stop judging her, lest they be judged. There should be a national conversation about the media's role, and they should be convicted in the court of public opinion for enabling decadence. They are not really scolds and moralists. They are guttersnipes, feeding their audience a constant diet of “news” designed to build that rooting interest in the next perverse pratfall.
Look no further than a publicist named Ken Sunshine on NBC: “I think we want her to be more outrageous. We want her to get into more trouble. We want her to flaunt everything all the way. So, if anything, we want more
But the celebrity-exploiters raised her up to the pinnacle of fame. Without the spotlight, she might still be rich, pretty, blonde, wild, and very, very stupid. But once this cartoon character has been created, there is an expectation that this is what she's been put on Earth to accomplish. She needs to implode so the rest of us can wallow in her misfortune.
The media won't stop, and neither will Paris Hilton. Just watch. She'll want to play this sordid game until she's the next Anna Nicole Smith.