Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We'll Always Have Paris

[posted by Callimachus]

No prize for guessing who this is:

Now despite her fame and good fortune, for most sentient adults Hilton personifies the decadence of our cultural moment. With her nightclub brawls, her endless sexcapades, her vapid interviews, her rodent-like dog, and her lack of ostensible talent, she reeks of every vice ever ascribed to our poor country. She has become a synonym for American materialism, bad manners, greed, “like” and “whatever” Valley Girl inarticulateness, parochialism, arrogance, promiscuity, antifeminism, exposed roots and navels, entitlement, cell-phone addiction, anorexia and bulimia, predilection for gas-guzzling private transportation, pornified womanhood, exhibitionism, narcissism — you name it.

Now, I happen to like Paris Hilton. Yeah, sure, whenever I see her face, even in fashion mag ads, I can't help hearing the chirping sound effect the old Bob Clampett cartoons used to indicate "bird brain." So what? I think she's fun to have around.

This witty article correctly identifies her as the modern American scapegoat; the sin-eater wears Prada. She triangulates half our national vices and we manage to project onto her the rage over the rest of them. But the article approves this:

Paris Hilton may be a composite of contemporary American sins, but hating Paris Hilton is another thing entirely. It’s a sign of lingering cultural sanity.

I don't. Not only is this a kind of self-loathing, it's deeply dangerous to be in the habit of projecting such feelings.