Defending Paris

In reading a review of Paris Hilton’s awful movie, I came across this good point:

But the real reason this film was savaged by critics is because Paris Hilton is the poster child for our current tabloid-blogosphere-TMZ-fueled obsession with the inane details of celebrities’ social lives. At the same time, it’s become hip among the more, shall we say, sanctimonious bloggers and critics to make knee-jerk declarations that the world is slowly getting dumber, to fondly reminisce about some golden intellectual age that never existed, and to piece together half-hearted comparisons between contemporary American culture and the fall of the Roman Empire. To those people, Paris Hilton represents the End of Western Civilization As We Know It.

Eh. To me, she’s just a vapid socialite who got famous for being famous. Nobody really thinks this a new thing, do they? I mean, honestly, what the heck did Edie Sedgwick ever do, really? Why does everyone know the name Charo? Why the hell was Anna Nicole Smith famous, again? And what, exactly, has Carmen Electra ever done with her life?

People act like it’s a new, shocking, outrageous thing that someone with no perceptible talent became a household name. But if anything, Paris Hilton just breathed new life into an ages-old phenomenon. The only thing that’s arguably different these days is that fame has become more pervasive, as people demand more and more information about celebrities at their fingertips. People complain that Paris and her ilk are always in our faces, and yet, her name is consistently one of the most popular internet search terms. Come now, Paris didn’t make you type her name into Yahoo, did she?

I’m sure back in Ancient Rome, the people followed the adventures of spoiled socialite Lutetia Villa just as ardently. We always seem to have a place for pretty but useless people.

I will add this in defense of Paris. The video she did on energy policy for her “presidential campaign” was quite funny. And she made more sense than the actual candidates.