1. An article from some time ago made the point that Paris Hilton was a celebrity – in fact, I know people who admire her – because her shamelessness can help one navigate the brave new world of creating your own cult of personality through Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Heck, if you’re using entirely new media, you have the ability to be a huge star at least within a medium. But one has to be shameless because even if one isn’t doing the awful things Miss Hilton does, criticism would come anyway from those jealous or looking to be stars themselves through heckling.
So one needs a very thick skin to navigate a world where even celebrity can be entirely democratic (as opposed to a democratic phenomenon, something stemming exclusively from the tastes of the masses).
2. The other day I was thinking about that clip from SNL where Jimmy Fallon was interviewing Miss Hilton and saying something like “Woah, there really is a Paris Hilton” – meaning a hotel in Paris – and asking something like if there was a backdoor anyone could enter.
And she was cracking up while saying that the Hilton in Paris was the most exclusive of hotels, etc., and she didn’t seem at all like the person who’d do any drug, pull any stunt, crash anything, or manipulate anyone just for an extra five seconds in front of the camera. She seemed really sweet and girlish – heck, one might have assumed she was actually modest – and wow no wonder girls everywhere dream of being celebrities. They’re all born actresses, and good for most of them. If I could act better, I might actually be somewhere in life, and able to do more for the people that count.
I wonder, though, if the main problem is that we are too soft about beauty. One wants to believe that what one sees in this physical realm has some correspondence to higher things. Even in literature we routinely get figures like Richard III who are ugly on the outside and the inside. And it doesn’t help there are people who are beautiful in nearly every way: that a few exist makes us think there is a general rule.
After all, the deep issue is why we should care whether Miss Hilton was genuine or not. Most people in our lives don’t get even a first moment’s consideration, let alone a complete reconsidering of the image they have purposely cultivated and that is guiding a whole generation of young women.