Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Trash Princess: Why Americans love to hate Paris Hilton.
November 21, 2006 5:21 PM   Subscribe

The Trash Princess: Why Americans love to hate Paris Hilton. "You don’t need to share Osama bin Laden’s view of America to see that Paris mirrors us at our contemporary worst. But something still doesn’t compute: Why, if Paris says so much about us, do Americans—not just college professors and the commentariat but celebrity watchers and tabloid junkies—hate her so much? And why, if she is so offensive, is she so ubiquitous?"
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (142 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Doesn't this kind of answer it's own question?

Why ... do Americans ...hate her so much?

Paris mirrors us at our contemporary worst

posted by Zinger at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2006


Paris Hilton may be the result of a focused and savvy PR team and an endless market for skin, celebrity and scandal.
posted by psergio at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2006


Some people want to fuck her. Others hate her but want to fuck her anyway. That's why she's ubiquitous; she's just a sex symbol, manufactured to move product and draw the public eye.
posted by tehloki at 5:26 PM on November 21, 2006


It's hardly fair, is it? Rome had Nero fiddling while it burned, at least he had some talent.
posted by lekvar at 5:27 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


See also Where do Hitlons come from? Mmmm, Hilton sex.
posted by fixedgear at 5:28 PM on November 21, 2006


People like to watch NASCAR. Do you think they like watching cars drive in a circle or do you think they like the fact that if they fuck up in the least there is a massive crash?

That said, I am soooo getting some business cards printed with my job title as:

celebutante vaginalist
posted by Pollomacho at 5:29 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why, if Paris says so much about us, do Americans—not just college professors and the commentariat but celebrity watchers and tabloid junkies—hate her so much?

Because she represents purchased beauty & prestige, wealth, leisure and fame without effort, all the things that most of us can't even think about having and she's so oblivious to it.

And why, if she is so offensive, is she so ubiquitous?"


Because it's nice to have someone more fucked up than the rest of us around to make us feel better. (Don't get me wrong, I hate the stupid bimbo, too, but I'd be lying if my chest didn't swell with righteousness every time I see or hear about her.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


People like to watch NASCAR. Do you think they like watching cars drive in a circle or do you think they like the fact that if they fuck up in the least there is a massive crash?

Er, I watch NASCAR, for neither of the reasons you suggest. I watch NASCAR because (a) unlike many other forms of motorsport, the folks who run it continually tweak the rules to keep the drivers as equal as possible, so that the races are won or lost by tenths of a second through strategy, risk-taking and avoiding even the smallest mistakes (versus, say, Michael Schumacher winning again and again and again and again in F1), and (b) because it's exciting to watch the drivers and teams eke out the tiniest advantages by skirting the edge of disaster -- and it's more fun (to me, certainly) when someone takes an enormous risk and SHOULD crash, but pulls it off instead and wins the race. In fact, I find the crashes annoying and distracting.

My point is that you probably shouldn't generalize.

Of course, the drivers and teams in NASCAR actually gain their fame and fortune through risk-taking, hard work and talent -- so I have a respect for 'em that I'll never have for someone like Paris Hilton.

And at the end of the day, do we like the people we don't respect? No, but we still talk about 'em. Is attention good if it's negative attention? In her case, I suppose so, but personally I would have rather used the money she has to live an exciting and fulfilling life outside of the public eye.

But that's just me, a NASCAR fan.
posted by davejay at 5:37 PM on November 21, 2006


davejay: You seem to enjoy risktaking, strategy, and fast-paced action. Have you considered chess by mail?
posted by tehloki at 5:40 PM on November 21, 2006 [4 favorites]


Personally, I hate her because she's viewed as a sex symbol while being as ugly as a horse.
posted by luftmensch at 5:45 PM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


I'm certain that she is going to die badly. Probably involving drugs and one of her sex tapes with a methed up boy toy asphyxiating her or something.

The sad thing is that it will probably get the same kind of coverage that Princess Diana dying did.
posted by quin at 5:47 PM on November 21, 2006


One thing I have noticed here in Japan, and I may be wrong about this as I have not paid close attention, but despite having a longstanding tradition of talentless yet attractive celebrities known as "talents" who do nothing except appear on tv and look nice...Japanese media often refer to Paris Hilton as a "charisma girl" or other things with "charisma" attached. The implication seems to be that all she really has is her overpowering sense of entitlement and an ego that seems like a force of nature.
posted by nightchrome at 5:51 PM on November 21, 2006


You know who else wanted to fuck Paris? That's right... Hitler.
posted by found missing at 5:52 PM on November 21, 2006 [4 favorites]


Irony.
posted by The God Complex at 5:53 PM on November 21, 2006


[Paul Anka]
To stop those monsters 1-2-3
Here's a fresh new way that's trouble free
It's got Paul Anka's guarantee...
[Lisa]
Guarantee void in Tennessee!
[All]
Just don't look!
Just don't look!
Just don't look!
Just don't look!
posted by fleetmouse at 5:56 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Tina Fey has some insight.
posted by davebush at 5:57 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's just a particular form of misogyny. If she was a guy, nobody would "hate" her. (What an odd feeling to have for somebody who's done nothing to you or anybody you know whom and you've never even met.)
She's just a projection (or target) of people's neuroses, insecurities and prejudices.
posted by signal at 6:00 PM on November 21, 2006


It's just a particular form of misogyny.

That's an interesting idea, moreso because most of the "haters" are female, I'd guess.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:06 PM on November 21, 2006


quoth Tina Fey: She looks like a tranny up close.

And at a distance.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:09 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


She's everywhere because the people in charge of our media PUT her everywhere, are deaf to our cries, because the economic mechanisms that power their success is sufficiently detached from the results they obtain that their risk/reward weights are terribly out of kilter.

At least, that is what I hope.
posted by JHarris at 6:10 PM on November 21, 2006


It's just a particular form of misogyny. If she was a guy, nobody would "hate" her. (What an odd feeling to have for somebody who's done nothing to you or anybody you know whom and you've never even met.)
She's just a projection (or target) of people's neuroses, insecurities and prejudices.


No. People hate K-Fed equally. As I said, you can chalk it all up to irony. People listen to shitty Top 40 and watch shitty television shows, but they need that one thing that's worse so that their own banal tastes are (falsely) elevated.

So it's mostly irony, with a smattering of the good ol' western obsession with building up and tearing down stars. Interestingly, it seems that if a star handles the "tearing down" phase well, they're usually built back up again as a respected veteran of whatever entertainment industry they're apart of. When they reach this stage they're #*&@ing invincible.
posted by The God Complex at 6:11 PM on November 21, 2006


If she was a guy, nobody would "hate" her.

Kevin Federline?
posted by casarkos at 6:13 PM on November 21, 2006


on preview: damn, TGC, that was fast.
posted by casarkos at 6:13 PM on November 21, 2006


Paris Hilton almost seems unreal, like some sort of cultural Frankenstein, developed in a lab and unleashed for the purpose of teaching us all a lesson about human dignity and respect, when the media coverage of her pre-programmed suicide finally dies down.

Or she's a hologram.
posted by davebush at 6:14 PM on November 21, 2006


No. People hate K-Fed equally.

Hmm. Not sure. IMO...

People look at K-Fed and think, "How does he get away with it?"

People look at Paris and just think, "WTF?"
posted by frogan at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2006


Sorry for the derail but what is the difference in, it's exciting to watch the drivers and teams eke out the tiniest advantages by skirting the edge of disaster and if they fuck up in the least there is a massive crash? I didn't say that NASCAR fans were bloodthirsty, maybe I should rephraze: it's the excitement of near disaster, otherwise NASCAR would just be a bunch of people driving cars in a circle.

Hilton is always on the verge of a train wreck. We are waiting, expecting at any second we are going to be able to raise the flag and say, see she is just white trash, but somehow, someway it doesn't seem to effect her, she just keeps on trucking, keeps on partying, blowing people's husbands on film, and keeps getting album deals.

Next time you are in Talladega, be sure you stop off in Pell City at the America's Thrift Store (formerly Alabama Thrift Store, one of the best thrift stores in the known universe)
posted by Pollomacho at 6:20 PM on November 21, 2006


I think she is the queen of a Wraith Hiveship.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:27 PM on November 21, 2006


Surely this will help her image.
posted by ninjew at 6:29 PM on November 21, 2006


I don't recognize that she mirrors anything about mainstream society. If anything, her status is a brazen rubbing of our noses in our own impotence against a beautifully streamlined Riefenstahlesque publicity machine. The Foley scandal was in the news for what, less than a month before fading? Privately funded and executed, you have the L.A. billboard whore Angeline, whose publicity extends little beyond her own expensive self-aggrandizement. More than three years of publicity (that I've noticed) have been devoted to Paris's posing for photos. She's been in multiple movies and has a "reality" TV show. Much like the large protest of a vacationing President Bush in Maine earlier in the year that I never saw anywhere on TV, her fame reinforces my conviction that the newsmedia is a reflection of the priorities of its owners rather than what's happening in the world or what the public wants or needs.

What's striking isn't anything about Paris herself (not even the perfect absence of interesting features), but how the publicity surrounding her perpetuates artificially.
posted by evil holiday magic at 6:33 PM on November 21, 2006


It's just a particular form of misogyny.
That's an interesting idea, moreso because most of the "haters" are female, I'd guess.

Since when is misogyny limited to men?
posted by signal at 6:35 PM on November 21, 2006


They're waiting for her facial expression to change. Calendars will be consulted, small sums of money will change hands.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:35 PM on November 21, 2006



It's just a particular form of misogyny.


Right. Hating anyone female, even if they're hateful, is misogyny. I suppose the peasants who railed against Marie Antoinette were misogynists, too. Do you actually believe your own bullshit?
posted by jonmc at 6:36 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I hate her. She has no talent or obvious purpose, but so long as she's not sucking up any resources within 2500 miles of me, we're cool... for now.

But what if she happened to gain 200 lbs and grew some kind of strange, inoperable furry cyst on her face, right between the eyebrows? Would people still whine and groan if she kept on partying and throwing away money, jiggling her ample mass on top of a bar somewhere, causing it to collapse on that leathery brown bone-bag of a friend of hers? If she's no longer a threat to people's sexual self-image, would she just turn into some harmless, outgoing, party-chick with cankles?

Perhaps all that separates her from the embrace of the people is a daily regimen of shoveling beer and pizza into her gut and washing it all down with a fried Oreo milkshake.
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:40 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


krippledkonscious: Not at all. Britney Spears did almost exactly that, and she's still in the headlines all the time.
posted by nightchrome at 6:42 PM on November 21, 2006


Great reference, Fleetmouse!

"Her vagine is loose like sleeve of wizard."
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:44 PM on November 21, 2006


nightchrome: Ah! So that's why when I typed "inoperable furry cyst," the spellcheck suggested "K-Fed."

But seriously, Britney never raised the hate like Paris does. I'd be interested in which other celebrity females arouse as much ire...
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:51 PM on November 21, 2006


It's just a particular form of misogyny.

I disagree and counter that similarly undeserved success and publicity is publicly resented in both men and women. Show me an example of a useless, self-absorbed male heir being lauded by the public. I'd like to see some support for the premise that this is a gender issue.

If you're suggesting that "hate" is too strong a word for some of the negative responses directed at her, then let's not focus on the word itself; it's brought into this context only by the "love to hate" expression, and is distracting.

posted by evil holiday magic at 6:52 PM on November 21, 2006


jonmc: "Right. Hating anyone female, even if they're hateful, is misogyny. I suppose the peasants who railed against Marie Antoinette were misogynists, too. Do you actually believe your own bullshit?"

Where do I say "Hating anyone female, even if they're hateful, is misogyny."?
Strawman, much?
Seriously, if you want to argue with my "bullshit", please read my posts, don't just lash out at your own preconceptions.
posted by signal at 6:55 PM on November 21, 2006


In so much as Paris is product, she can only be a succesful if she moves units. There are dozens of other wealthy women who have used their wealth to recreate themselves into similar plastic barbie doll beauties, but Paris sells product.

In fact, hating Paris is part of what makes her as succesful as she's been. If people loved Paris, she wouldn't get nearly the amount of publicity that she gets.

Ergo, the hate is an essential part of the marketing, as is the artificial beauty. Technically, this makes the hate artificial also.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:59 PM on November 21, 2006


Via the always entertaining Idolator -- Joshua Radin's entertaining tale of catching Jay-Z with a certain celebutante vaginalist:

also crazy was paris hilton who was sitting next to me the whole night. seriously, next to me, like our legs were touching for a good 5 hours. now don't get the wrong idea. she never once said hello, nor even looked in my direction. five hours. and it was unreal to watch. she must have pulled a compact out of her bag every 6 minutes to stare at herself and pose, while jay-z was performing 18 inches from us.

so high-larious. then the best part: after jay-z was finished (by the way, he was introduced to the crowd by michael "let's get ready to rumble" buffer) jay-z left the stage and paris, who had been swilling straight vodka from the grey goose bottle for hours, gets up on stage, has the people in charge throw her "record" on the house stereo for her to lip sync two of her songs. she gets up on the stage, pukes, leaves. note this: she was unable to successfully mouth words that someone else wrote for her. i find the music business charming.

posted by docgonzo at 7:00 PM on November 21, 2006


Nice one, lekvar. Here's hoping that she puts out a bluegrass album.
posted by redteam at 7:05 PM on November 21, 2006


Show me an example of a useless, self-absorbed male heir being lauded by the public.

Can't you people forego the Bush-bashing for one thread?!
posted by kid ichorous at 7:07 PM on November 21, 2006 [5 favorites]


Most people who profess to hate her really don't. She is an easy target. If you're a certain type of comedian, all you have to do is go off on a rant about Paris Hilton and the audience will eat it up, guaranteed. People will say any kind of hateful thing and justify it by saying they "couldn't help it," Paris Hilton is just sooooooo awful.

Really, they are looking for a target they can say something hateful about, and their audience will let them get away with it. The same goes for people who get "outraged" about her in conversation: it's not about her, it's about proving what an upstanding/smart/moral/whatever person you are through trashing her.

For the comedians, it's bad comedy. For the others, it's disingenuous and lazy thinking. Morality does not work on a sliding scale. You can't say hateful things and still claim to be a wonderful human being just because the target "really really deserves" it, and because your audience will let you get away with it. There's a Godwin analogy if I keep going far enough, but I'll stop.

Bottom line: she doesn't contribute much to society, but she's not hurting anyone either. People would be well-served to direct their faux-outrage elsewhere.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:16 PM on November 21, 2006


I love and hate Paris. But mostly, love.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:18 PM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Where do I say "Hating anyone female, even if they're hateful, is misogyny."? Strawman, much? Seriously, if you want to argue with my "bullshit", please read my posts, don't just lash out at your own preconceptions.

You didn't really say much else about the misogyny really. As for me, I think

If anything, her status is a brazen rubbing of our noses in our own impotence against a beautifully streamlined Riefenstahlesque publicity machine.

covers my feelings on the subject. Hate is not an "an odd feeling to have for somebody who's done nothing to you or anybody you know whom and you've never even met" when people won't stop talking about that person. And yeah, here I am, in a thread about Paris Hilton, leaving now, etc., etc.
posted by furiousthought at 7:18 PM on November 21, 2006


signal : "If she was a guy, nobody would 'hate' her."

If she was a guy, she wouldn't be famous, though, would she? I can't think of any male analogs for her.
posted by Bugbread at 7:31 PM on November 21, 2006


Since when is misogyny limited to men?

I think you may be misreading me. What I meant was that if it's truly misogyny, then this case of it is far more interesting than the typical male-harbored variety.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:31 PM on November 21, 2006


What does "Riefenstahlesque publicity machine" mean?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:33 PM on November 21, 2006


Bottom line: she doesn't contribute much to society, but she's not hurting anyone either.^

She's not individually responsible for her fame, and she's not individually responsible for the problem she's hopefully dimly aware she prominently represents. The media corporations, including those subsidiaries charged with letting us know what's going on in the world, are funded (and therefore run) by the kind of people who lay awake nights thinking about how to sell us carbonated corn syrup. Taking something nasty, toxic, unpleasant, but abundant; and convincing the public, through the bludgeon of daily exposure and astroturf campaigns, they would step over their own grandparents for the privilege of paying a 1000% mark-up for it, is the business they are in.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:35 PM on November 21, 2006


Kraftmatic: it refers to Leni Reifenstahl, Nazi propagandist.
posted by lekvar at 7:38 PM on November 21, 2006



Where do I say "Hating anyone female, even if they're hateful, is misogyny."?

shall I quote: "It's just a particular form of misogyny."

I'll take the liberty of assuming that the 'it' you were referring to was 'hatred for Paris Hilton' since she's the subject of this thread. and in my first comment, I gave some pretty clear reasons why I find her hateful. But, I guess it's all just misogyny, right? Couldn't be that she's actually a vile person.
posted by jonmc at 7:39 PM on November 21, 2006



If she was a guy, she wouldn't be famous, though, would she? I can't think of any male analogs for her.


Porfirio Rubirosa. But that was another epoch. And I guess he did have some skills...he was good at polo.
posted by spicynuts at 7:40 PM on November 21, 2006


Whoops. On preview, it turns out that she's apparently released a single or an album or something, and also had a TV show and appeared in movies. I wasn't aware of any of that when I said I couldn't think of a male analog of her. I thought she just did modelling, appearing at parties for photography, hanging out with other famous people, and being the spokesman for bad video games, and I couldn't think of a male analog for that. I'm a little more divorced from American contemporary culture than I thought.
posted by Bugbread at 7:41 PM on November 21, 2006


Yes, Levkar, I know who Leni Reifenstahl is, but the reference doesn't make much sense to me. Reifenstahl was a film director, not a propaganda machinist. Goebbels-esque might make more sense.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:41 PM on November 21, 2006


signal : "It's just a particular form of misogyny."

signal : "Seriously, if you want to argue with my 'bullshit', please read my posts, don't just lash out at your own preconceptions."

I dunno if your position is bullshit or not. What are your arguments supporting the misogyny hypothesis?
posted by Bugbread at 7:44 PM on November 21, 2006


I can't think of any male analogs for her.

Shit, I just remembered of those goddamn British princes. Does royalty count? I have no sense of the public's concensus on those a-holes.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:47 PM on November 21, 2006


KAC - it was the first name I thought of regarding effective and polished propaganda. I agree, Goebbels would have made more sense technically.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:50 PM on November 21, 2006


You just need to get to know her. Don't be shy.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 7:50 PM on November 21, 2006


Oh Paris, you'll always be my little fart in a mitten.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:55 PM on November 21, 2006


I'd be interested in which other celebrity females arouse as much ire...

Tara "I'll Never Be Perfect Again" Reid
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:58 PM on November 21, 2006


People look at K-Fed and think, "How does he get away with it?"

People looked at Donnie Wahlberg and thought that. People look at Federline and understand why Gore Vidal says America has lost its soul.
posted by aaronetc at 8:03 PM on November 21, 2006


I find her fairly attractive physically, as I do like thin women with high cheekbones, so I am disposed to tolerate her personality more than I otherwise would ... but even so, personality-wise I feel the kind of part-contempt, part-pity for her that I feel for any person apparently bereft of intellectual curiosity, and I'm bemused at the idea that people find her interesting enough to interview. Even though there is a regular poster here who uses her name as his/her username, I would be astonished to find out that the real Paris Hilton actually posted here, and would immediately revise my opinion, assuming her posts were at least somewhat intelligent. (As an aside, I have long suspected Jessica Simpson of being much smarter than her public persona shows.)

But hate? That ought to be reserved for people who actually have done something evil, with perhaps a further qualifier that the evil thing is done to you, or those like you, or those you feel deserve protection. As far as I know Paris hasn't even been evil enough to neglect her little dog. If you choose to hate her, what emotion do you have for actually evil people?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:06 PM on November 21, 2006


Tara "I'll Never Be Perfect Again" Reid

See, I was going to say that, but I don't think people really hate her. I think they just kinda feel sorry for her.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2006


People hate her because she's rich and famous and utterly without talent. She's not even that pretty.

Isn't that enough reason?

The world has been handed to her on a silver platter for no reason at all. Even her sister, Nicky, hates her. Nicky has everything that Paris has, but she's ignored.

The people who love Paris only do so because they have been trained like dolphins to jump through hoops for fish.

She's vaguely fishlike. So they do their trick.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


In a weird way I think kid ichorous is onto something. For nonpolitical Americans who feel awkward about discussing or even aknowledging class disparity (particularly in the case of the Bush clan), it's safe to vent that pent up rage at an easy target like Paris. I think the author of the piece is right; that's basically her purpose as a media concoction. She just seems so right for the last few years. I can't imagine her image working during the Clinton years, or at any time in recent memory.

nightchrome's "charisma girl" is apparently a manga star, too. There's some examples at my crappy blog. I wonder, do the Japanese hate her too?
posted by maryh at 8:10 PM on November 21, 2006


"The only thing complicating this picture of dissipation is that Paris Hilton isn’t quite the airhead she plays on TV. She created her persona of Paris the Heiress with an instinct for America’s suspicion of the idle rich. Confession of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose is the title of her best-selling book. It’s the title of a woman who is in on the joke."

I am so completely sick of post-modernism.

It is lazy and reflexive, callow and unreflective. It bleaches meaning from personal identity and cultural expression, spits in the face of humanity and then tries to laugh it off. It blinds itself and then rolls its eyes.

This is not a critique of the author or the article; this a critique of the apathy and cynicism inherent in culture that the more intellectually-inclined apathetic cynics have tried to pass off as cultural awareness. And it's not that Paris Hilton is endemic to this kind of culture, that it has neccessarily created her; but it has created the conditions necessary for the flourishing of a certain kind of a newly-ubiquitous shuckster --- the kind who could give a shit about spectacle or signifier but who has a keen eye for an opportunity. They thrive in a culture that acts like it's seen it all; they do the trick in slow motion, explain each step of it, and the audience applauds anyway and asks what kind of idiot could fall for that.

It's a thorny issue, what 'meaning' is supposed to mean and what we're supposed to do about it, but when even the intellectuals have shrugged it off and refused to look deeper than the image, because, like, the image is all there is, then we are in bad trouble.

In retrospect, I see what brought this little rant on (why yes, I have been drinking, why do you ask?): last night, I was down at the bar (and yes, everybody is a little worried about me), talking to one of those hipster girls with that haircut that they all have but still somehow looks like you've never seen it before, but also trying to follow along the conversation her friends were having about our friend, Ms. Hilton; and listening to these guys, versed in all manner of ironic rhetoric and pop cultural minutiae, fuzzy on the specifics but knowing enough about Derrida to drop his name (twice!), having mid-entry level positions on Canadian production companies and television networks aimed at the youth demographic, was like listening directly the brains of the whole operation.

And listening to them talk about Paris Hilton (and Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, FedEx, Clay Aiken, all these whispy archetypes and perennial stereotypes) was like listening to nothing so much as to very clever and ironic commentary on a WWE match from people who should have known better. Purposefully superficial, unapologetically mocking of history and sociology and human life, and conspicuously silent on the subject on whose strings were being pulled, and who was pulling them.
posted by Tiresias at 8:11 PM on November 21, 2006 [18 favorites]


Slight derail: Paris before and after.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:20 PM on November 21, 2006


I view Paris Hilton in pretty much the same way as I view most shows and commercials on television: with detached curiosity and bewilderment. There was a time in my life where the inanity and facileness of it all would fill me with impotent rage and disgust.

But I guess I've gotten so little exposure to it over the last several years that now, when I watch television commercials, if I didn't already recognize the product, I wouldn't understand what they were trying to sell me, or why their schtick was supposed to affect me one way or another. I don't get the jokes on most sitcoms anymore.

I don't understand the obsession with celebrity culture. I mean, I guess I understand it, intellectually. But there isn't a fiber of my emotional being that can make any sense of it. I simply don't have feelings about Paris Hilton, or really any other celebrity, outside of the milieu of his/her performance in movies or music or whatnot (mostly the former two).

But hey, maybe I'm just getting old. Or my interests are just directed elsewhere. Who knows? I guess I'm the wrong audience.

On Preview: I guess I agree with Tiresias' comment; I don't really see what there is to discuss. But here I am, so....
posted by Brak at 8:32 PM on November 21, 2006


Paris Hilton almost seems unreal, like some sort of cultural Frankenstein, developed in a lab and unleashed for the purpose of teaching us all a lesson about human dignity and respect, when the media coverage of her pre-programmed suicide finally dies down.

Ashlee Simpson Chaos Theory. (self-link)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:34 PM on November 21, 2006


nyxxxx: People hate her because she's rich and famous and utterly without talent. She's not even that pretty. Isn't that enough reason?

No, it's really not enough reason.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:05 PM on November 21, 2006


And listening to them talk about Paris Hilton (and Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, FedEx, Clay Aiken, all these whispy archetypes and perennial stereotypes) was like listening to nothing so much as to very clever and ironic commentary on a WWE match from people who should have known better. Purposefully superficial, unapologetically mocking of history and sociology and human life, and conspicuously silent on the subject on whose strings were being pulled, and who was pulling them.

Where celebrity gossip media are concerned, I think it has less to do with people pulling strings, than it has to do with structural issues calling the shots (although some people are obviously making a buck out of it).

The two main structural issues, for me, are:

1. Churning out fresh content on a regular basis is extremely tiring. Easier to keep recycling the same pap (especially when the pap is predigested by PR flacks, paparazzi etc).

2. The recycled pap has mass appeal due to its familiarity, both in the sense of having the same characters & same content as last week, and also in the sense of it holding up a hyperreal mirror to peoples' lives. Essentially, it is the same subject matter as banal everyday existence: people fall in love, get married, have affairs, get divorced, gain weight, lose weight, get trashed, have good & bad hair days, have children, take holidays, and so on. It appeals because of the very familiarity of its themes, which are largely universal.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:11 PM on November 21, 2006


They thrive in a culture that acts like it's seen it all; they do the trick in slow motion, explain each step of it, and the audience applauds anyway and asks what kind of idiot could fall for that.

Well said, Tiresias.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:22 PM on November 21, 2006


maryh : "nightchrome's 'charisma girl' is apparently a manga star, too. There's some examples at my crappy blog. I wonder, do the Japanese hate her too?"

They don't hate her, but you have to keep in mind just how much less exposure she has here than she has in the West. I didn't know she had a TV show, released an album, or appeared in a movie until this thread. People know what she looks like, but I've never seen her interviewed, or, for that matter, even speak. It's hard to tell how dumb someone is when you've never heard or read a single thing they've said/written.

Basically, Japanese knowledge of Paris Hilton is: She's famous in America. And she has a sister. And a sex tape. And she's rich, rich, rich. That's probably what people know most of her: she's a very very rich American model who is famous.
posted by Bugbread at 9:30 PM on November 21, 2006


Why, if Paris says so much about us, do Americans—not just college professors and the commentariat but celebrity watchers and tabloid junkies—hate her so much? And why, if she is so offensive, is she so ubiquitous?"

Um, because they're petty little bitches?
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:34 PM on November 21, 2006


I remember several years ago when she began showing up in dispatches about town in NYC mags about how she and her sister were seen at such and such club or private party. These Hilton girls were waaaay underage at the time and pictures of them with drinks in their hands and stories of their drunken adventures pricked up my ears at the time. I simply couldn't believe that 1) their parents tolerated this, 2) that the editors of said gossip mags didn't seem to grok that they were glorifying the drunken adventures of children. To be honest I was aghast at what I was seeing. Then a few years later Paris popped up onto the pop culture screen in all her glory and I realized they, the editors of the gossip mags - her parents?, had been grooming her for this role since long before I or most of the population at large ever encountered her image or stories of her adventures.
posted by filchyboy at 9:35 PM on November 21, 2006


The Paris Hilton manga (which is just a 4 page one-shot affair that appeared in a fashion magazine, Glamourous) is pretty harsh, actually. It's written in that style which appeals to really, really, really vacuous, bitchy types, so I'm having a hard time deciphering if it's:

1) The manga artist just plain making fun of her
2) The manga artist couching his making fun of her in a way that goes under the radar of the readers of the magazine
3) The manga artist both making fun of her, and of the readers of the magazine.

The more I think about it, the more 3 seems likely.

Regardless of the manga author's intentions, or how it's read by readers of Glamourous Magazine, when read by a non-Glamourous Magazine reader, it comes off as quite scathing.
posted by Bugbread at 9:47 PM on November 21, 2006


It's Marilyn Monroe 5.0, albeit sans the Bruce Conner homage.

(Conner's magnificent short film 'Marilyn Times 5' isn't available on YouTube for too-obvious reasons, but hopefully the Eno-Byrne clip will suffice to fulfill the point.)

Paris is the American poster girl for the burning of all real Parisian values.

Baudelaire wouldn't wipe his ass with this shit.

Vive Segolene! Vive la France!
posted by objet at 9:52 PM on November 21, 2006


P.S. - Points to anyone who catches the fierce deconstruction of Kasimir Malevich's 'point' occurring in the first 20 seconds of the above-linked video.

Paris herself is, in a Cartesian sense, what boorish suburban assholes say when witnessing Malevitch's "Black Square":

"I could'a done that."

But you didn't, asshole.

Word.

And thus - those who follow "The Blonde Square" - are likewise the assholes now.

Welcome to po-po-mo conceptual economy, 101.

Can we pretend to take your order?
posted by objet at 9:59 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


She's not individually responsible for her fame, and she's not individually responsible for the problem she's hopefully dimly aware she prominently represents.

Give me some credit. Do you really think this all just 'happened'? You really think the media fixates on me for no reason?

This is art on a grand scale. The greatest postmodern performance art piece ever created. Jay-Z worked hard his whole life and through his sincere artwork got himself out of the ghetto. What do I do? I get on stage with him, vomit, and then leave. If that's not brilliance I don't know what is.

I am famous for being famous, a blank slate with no (apparent) soul and no center to get to get in the way of my fundamental existence as a idea. Gibson's (bridge series) ideas made flesh. I'm a platonic ideal of celebrity, come down from heaven. A void, a blank slate for people's aspirations to adhere to. And those aspirations collected on my empty form create my being and feed itself.

My self, my center, is an enigma. That's what makes me so compelling.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:01 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Baudelaire wouldn't wipe his ass with this shit.

Even a filthy bidet-splasher like Baudelaire would surely realise that wiping your ass with shit is somewhat self-defeatist, n'est pas?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:06 PM on November 21, 2006


And by the way, the income from my modeling and performance work far exceeds that from my inheritance.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:07 PM on November 21, 2006


Bitch, absence is compelling.

The art of contemporary construction is - interruptive, not assuaging.

Venus of Venereal Diseased Willendorf, 2006.0.

As it were.
posted by objet at 10:08 PM on November 21, 2006


Gain some weight.
posted by objet at 10:09 PM on November 21, 2006


"Po-mo?" I almost prefer the elephants.
posted by evil holiday magic at 10:19 PM on November 21, 2006


Thanks Bugbread. I walked right into the "Japanese-pop-culture-HAS-to-be-odder-than-American-pop-culture" trope by assuming that was a comic book. My bad.
posted by maryh at 10:54 PM on November 21, 2006


When she dies in a car accident, Ballard will orgasm.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:57 PM on November 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


People hate Paris Hilton because they immerse themselves too much in the media culture, get caught up in the über-wealthy-daughter-of-privilege-bad-girl storyline, and react, Pavlov-style, to what she is selling.

Or, in other words, many people hate Paris Hilton because they don't have enough other things to do.
posted by moonbiter at 11:15 PM on November 21, 2006


i think a lot of the love/hate thing we have for her is related to her alcoholism & drug addiction.
posted by facetious at 11:22 PM on November 21, 2006


Paris Hilton : My self, my center, is an enigma. That's what makes me so compelling.

Your clarity, diction and eloquence demonstrates that you are not the real Paris Hilton. Sir or ma'm, I take affront to your deceptions. Clearly you have an educational level that this character does not posses.

I'd call you a liar, but that would be rude.

[though you other posts demonstrate you to be a lady or gentlemen of some refinement, so we will tolerate this particular breech of protocol this time. Just be warned; your buffoonery does nothing to improve our view of the real Paris Hilton, because clearly that chick is a total whore. Seriously, she ho's out loud.]

Thank you for your continuing discretion in this matter.
posted by quin at 11:37 PM on November 21, 2006


i think a lot of the love/hate thing we have for her is related to her alcoholism & drug addiction.

yeah, certainly not her eating disorders or sex addiction.

You know it's been two days now since a TomKat/Scientology thread!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:39 PM on November 21, 2006


If she is ubiquitous in your world, and it bothers you, then change your media consumption habits. She isn't ubiquitous in my world and I'm pretty happy.
posted by markhu at 12:02 AM on November 22, 2006


If she is ubiquitous in your world, and it bothers you, then change your media consumption habits.

It's more bothersome to me that a media company could make a celebrity out of a turnip if it told its subsidiaries to give it enough public exposure.

You're right, though, markhu, that it's up to the individual to determine their mental priorities and landscape. I only wish there were enough public outcry for "better!" "smarter!" "less crappy!", and enough public rejection of goods manufactured for artificial demands, to affect changes that could make things a little less vapid and depressing.
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:20 AM on November 22, 2006


You're right, though, markhu, that it's up to the individual to determine their mental priorities and landscape. I only wish there were enough public outcry for "better!" "smarter!" "less crappy!", and enough public rejection of goods manufactured for artificial demands, to affect changes that could make things a little less vapid and depressing.

You know, there is plenty of outcry and plenty of rejection. What is lacking is a mainstream media production company willing to actually try delivering a higher quality product.

Why is it exactly that "indy" lables have done so well in recent years?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:47 AM on November 22, 2006


It's not that I hate Paris Hilton herself all that much. It's the fact that she makes me hate all humanity that bothers me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:50 AM on November 22, 2006


Paris Hilton makes my teeth itch because I'm clearly much more qualified than she to spend that vast inheritence. (So much money. So little taste.)

Celebrity gossip is such a guilty, guilty pleasure.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:55 AM on November 22, 2006


Paris Hilton: the final crisis of capitalism.
posted by stammer at 1:04 AM on November 22, 2006


I thought the final crisis was "now where do we put all this shit?"
posted by Pollomacho at 1:20 AM on November 22, 2006


Pliant ho, Sir.

Hail its porn.
posted by bwg at 1:22 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why is it exactly that "indy" lables have done so well in recent years?

I guess. I figured a lot of them went bankrupt or were bought out by the big old fart companies, turning them into the new face of committee-approved, $22-a-pop rebellion. Is this not so? Is art alive and well and enjoyed over steaming cups of free trade coffee by bescarfed graduate students?

Sorry, bad L.A. Arts District flashback brought on by word "indy."
posted by evil holiday magic at 1:35 AM on November 22, 2006


Stupidity, dullness, had for him an immense attraction. He never wearied in the contemplation of the unimportant. He gloated over things base. His repulsion took the morbid form of lingering over its object, turning it over, examining it on this side and on that, regarding it with a fascination hideous and exclusive. --Frank Thomas Marzials, about Gustave Flaubert (and MetaFilter?)

I think I'll presume Flaubert's fascination with PH and I think I'll shamelessly share it, especially since we (Paris and I) both wear (well) nightgowns and boots (each of us separately but both of us simultaneously), and we both (and each) grow most of our hickeys (certainly the best ones) without making physical contact with anyone (else).
posted by Opus Dark at 2:28 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


France should sue for defamation
posted by altman at 3:26 AM on November 22, 2006


Mu: Paris Hilton.
posted by moonbird at 3:26 AM on November 22, 2006


I don't mind her. And all the hate is a bit misguided --it's not like she invaded a foreign country on false pretenses and on borrowed money, murdering thousands in the process.

She's rail-thin, blonde and rich -- the trinity of America's materialist fetishism, really. If you add the (boring, but it's irrelevant) Internet porn, the recipe for success is there. Brand Paris is in a bit of trouble, though, at this point: Naomi Wolf was spot-on describing her as “an empty signifier onto which you can project absolutely anything, the perfect situation for branding”. The problem is, she seems unable to evolve, something marketing pros have noticed, and this is hurting her "career", so to speak. She's the polar opposite of that other no-talent (fake) blonde, the now middle-aged Mrs. Ciccone -- Hilton seems to have no ability to evolve. Money, parties, miniskirts, luxury cars: rinse and repeat. It doesn't last. Because today staying power for "celebrities" who can't do stuff to entertain us is all about morphing, really, and -- burdened by an incurious nature and subpar handlers -- Hilton cannot do that. Being a blank slate is her strength and, eventually, will be her end.
posted by matteo at 3:29 AM on November 22, 2006


This is art on a grand scale. The greatest postmodern performance art piece ever created. Jay-Z worked hard his whole life and through his sincere artwork got himself out of the ghetto. What do I do? I get on stage with him, vomit, and then leave. If that's not brilliance I don't know what is.

To view that level of vapidity and cravenness as performance art is to demean genuine performance art. She inherited not just a shitload of money, but access to media prominence, and the best she can do with it is act like Courtney Love?

At least Courtney had to fuck her way into prominence before getting access to the spotlight.
posted by psmealey at 3:31 AM on November 22, 2006


The thing about her that strikes me as the most bizarre is the fact that even if no one paid attention to her, she'd still be astoundingly rich. She does not need publicity, attention, marketing, etc. She has it made, regardless of whatever anyone says or does in reference to her.

The only thing I hate about her is the fact so much attention is paid to something so insignificant.

Ask people their position on global warming, or energy policy, and for the most part you'll find very little there. Ask about Paris Hilton, and people have all sorts of opinions and thoughts.
posted by Talanvor at 3:32 AM on November 22, 2006


On the plus side, Paris is Garanimals for people who worship/hate celebrities. IOW, if such and such a celeb hangs with Paris, it's appropriate to hate him or her.
posted by psmealey at 3:43 AM on November 22, 2006


You know, I recant: all you people who hate her are actually edgy, cool, and independent thinkers. Not misogynists or neurotics or herd beasts at all. Kudos for having the acuity to see right through the false media image when nobody else could.
posted by signal at 3:50 AM on November 22, 2006


It's interesting how, past a certain point, celebrity becomes self-sustaining. We pay attention to her because we were paying attention to her last week. Next week, we pay attention because of all the attention THIS week.

I suspect the answer is not to care.... but to do that, we have to win The Game. :)
posted by Malor at 3:52 AM on November 22, 2006


Adam Richman has a cute song that I've always read as a riff on this same fascination-repellence dichotomy:

MARY-ANNE
Mary-Anne's my favorite girl
but she's living in her Hollywood world
her daddy owns a 4-star hotel
mommy owns another

Saturdays she's never around
'cause she's at the hippest party in town
and she tells me that she's settling down
so I'm waiting, waiting, waiting

she tells me to let it go but I'm the one who let her in

CHORUS*
Mary-Anne shows up wasted at my door
Mary-Anne takes my bed, leaves me the floor
Mary-Anne, you're such a whore
Mary-Anne Mary-Anne

Met her at a rock n roll show
she was diggin' on some rum and some coke
she told me she was ready to go
take it or leave it (I couldn't believe it!)

Mary-Anne says love at first sight
shouldn't be confused with spending a night
but she'll come 'round when the timing is right
so I'm waiting, waiting, waiting

she tells me to let it go but I'm the one who let her in

CHORUS

she tells me to let it go but I'm the one who let her in
and I don't wanna be a sad, weak, frail, meek, love-struck geek
who's waiting up for her again

CHORUS x2


*the chorus builds from frustration to annoyance to anger, yet the last repeat of her name is forgiving
posted by dhartung at 4:50 AM on November 22, 2006


The very first time I saw Paris Hilton was on the cover of the National Enquirer standing in line at the grocery counter. This is the only place I see her routinely. It was a great shot. She was wearing a turquoise cocktail dress, which is something not one woman in 10 000 can do without appearing to be a total clown. And she must have just gotten her hair and her face done and the pose was modelesque.

Photographs can flatter or tear down however and I have seen many more unflattering shots of her than flattering. The ups and downs of celebrities are an ethereal truth and sometimes have .000001 X Reality behind them. What you see on the cover of the tabloid is what the editors choose to put there to go after your cash.

Most of you people watch too much television.
posted by bukvich at 4:54 AM on November 22, 2006


My personal dislike of the Paris Hilton stems from the fact that the room was small and overpriced, the bed was lumpy, the wake-up call never came, my room service breakfast was late and cold, and they never credited any points for my stay to my HHonors account.

In summary, I cannot recommend the Paris Hilton.
posted by kcds at 5:12 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The only thing that comes to mind: heir-head
posted by zorro astor at 5:51 AM on November 22, 2006


Let see what is packed with the product Paris Hilton (which isn't the girl acting the part anyway, who knows her)

1. celebrity : envy of attention

2. not that incredibly beautiful : challenges "beauty conducts to power" assertion, allows for easier identification , irritates lesser beauties not reaching her

3. filthy rich : traditional envy of the goods coming with money

4. superificial, vacuous, stupid : attracts the most unconsciously scared male audience, elicits enormous envy from these who think they deserve because they know, allows for easier identification

5. sluttish : attracts insecure male audience, outrages well-to-do females that identify with her, but are in denial

Good product indeed ! Congratulations to whoever invented the persona.
posted by elpapacito at 6:02 AM on November 22, 2006


The only thing that comes to mind: heir-head

Aww never mind. The article already used the term and I thought it was original with me.
posted by zorro astor at 6:18 AM on November 22, 2006


And why, if she is so offensive, is she so ubiquitous?

posted by jonmc Because it's nice to have someone more fucked up than the rest of us around to make us feel better. (Don't get me wrong, I hate the stupid bimbo, too, but I'd be lying if my chest didn't swell with righteousness every time I see or hear about her.


Damn, man. Out of everyone here, I thought you'd be the last person to need a benchmark by which to gauge your own self-worth.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2006


I guess Americans hate Paris Hilton because we'd just like the rich to shut up and feel ashamed of their wealth and to be fat and maybe hideously ugly and to smell bad too. Then we might not hate them so much. Maybe. Anyway, I wish I cared about Paris Hilton enough to care about Paris Hilton.
posted by hojoki at 8:13 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I guess Americans hate Paris Hilton because we'd just like the rich to shut up and feel ashamed of their wealth and to be fat and maybe hideously ugly and to smell bad too.

Wow. That misses the mark by a few thousand miles.

Americans a priori, don't hate rich people, they mostly LOVE them.

This particular person is so loathed because she's a wannabe. She has it all, yet, she wants to be something other than she is. She can't sing, but wants to be a singer. She can't act, but wants to be a movie star. She wants to be hanging out and be seen with people who, love or hate Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, came from NOTHING to be rich and famous, whereas she's a whole lot of nothing that came from money.

Paris isn't hated because she's beautiful or rich, she's hated because she's a phony who hates herself and she spends all of her time (and money, apparently) acting out in the only ways her tiny little brain can come up with.
posted by psmealey at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ahhh Paris. I think the reason so many people hate her is because she's doing everything that everyone secretly wants to do, at least for one make-believe night.
Unlimited money supply? Check. People of all sexes fawning over you? Check. Pretty good looking and people pay you to go to their parties? Check. A music deal, a perfume line, a TV show, designer clothes and a pet gerbil? Check.

Personally, I could never hate her because in 6th grade, she and her sister transferred to my school in LA, way before they were famous or even standing out from the crowd. So, every time I see some bimbo Paris headline, I just remember that lonely girl whose teachers and classmates made fun of her name for a whole month. No, I wasn't her best friend.
Today, obviously, she couldn't recognize me from a line-up, but that's ok, I am not envious of her life and achievements. It would only be funny to see how our lives parted after 6th grade. Something like, "ah look here, when you were shooting the finale of The Simple Life, I was defending my thesis on monetary policy. Weird."
posted by ruelle at 8:51 AM on November 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


I have to disagree with you about Americans loving the rich, psmealey. I think we're fascinated with them but we don't love them. Our fascination is akin to the curious expression kittens have when presented with a mouse for the first time. They'll attempt to play with it for a while and when they become skilled enough they'll kill it. We do that with celebrities, especially the loaded variety. The initial fascination many had with Paris is now over and she's being eaten.
posted by hojoki at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2006


I think that most of you hard-legs in here would leap at the chance to go home with her. Me....I wouldn't touch her with a 10' pole. I am, however facinated by her ignorance.

I generally reserve my "hate" for something/someone truly worth hating. She is not even on my HATE radar. She's kinda like a train wreck, we want to look at it. We know it will be gruesome, we still want to see it.

IMHO...I stink it's unfair that I am schleping to and fro my 8-5 with all of my talents and good looks and all she has to do it sit up-right and it's newsworthy and cool.

She tried to come off as aloof in her little "Simple Life" series and came off as downright ignorant. The only reason she could hang on the show is that every obstacle she encountered was knowingly temporary. I give her 1 day in the real world and it may change her outlook on life. I seriously doubt it would.

But then again, I am not very fond of the "rich-for-no-reason" types. It's kinda disgusting.
posted by winks007 at 9:01 AM on November 22, 2006


Damn, man. Out of everyone here, I thought you'd be the last person to need a benchmark by which to gauge your own self-worth.

Hey, like everybody else, I get the guilts over child slavery in Kajagoogoostan, and it's not like I seek Paris Hilton out, but if I stumble across mention of her, I can't help but feel like a pillar of virtue by comparison, which is nice, I won't deny.
posted by jonmc at 9:21 AM on November 22, 2006


I can't help but feel like a pillar of virtue by comparison

Because you are not blonde ? :)
posted by elpapacito at 10:49 AM on November 22, 2006


I can't think of any male analogs for her

Brandon Davis? He's her friend & peer. Famous for being rich & really greasy, but a fair bit more worthless as a personality because he's never done anything at with his life. At least Paris Hilton goes to work once in a while. I kind of feel sorry for her, as it appears she's trying to make something of herself and polishing that turd has got to be very draining.
posted by zarah at 11:22 AM on November 22, 2006


I liked Paris when she adopted Butters.
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2006


She inherited not just a shitload of money, but access to media prominence, and the best she can do with it is act like Courtney Love?

Bah. The day Paris Hilton hauls off and punches a fan at one of her appearances, just cold knocks the dude out, is the day I become a true believer. Courtney Love is pretty ridiculous but at least she has exploits like that going for her.
posted by furiousthought at 12:28 PM on November 22, 2006


Pliant ho, Sir.

Hail its porn.


Hi! (Loins part)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2006


. Our fascination is akin to the curious expression kittens have when presented with a mouse for the first time.

I'll accept that, ruelle, and I apologize for my brusque rejoinder. I will maintain that, loved or hated, the super-rich (and super-famous) are idolized in the US, even if it's only to set up for the inevitable fits of schadenfreude when they stumble.

Honestly, as someone who watches only a couple of teevee shows, and takes pains to avoid corporate media "news" (infotainment), I could give a shit about Paris Hilton. But as the original poster points out, the idea of her irks me because what she represents (lack of taste, originality or anything sincere or pure) goes to the very heart of what I found corrupt and contemptible about our popular culture.

That said, I'll begrudingly (only to a degree) co-opts jonmc's admission as my own, that all this in some way makes me feel better about myself.
posted by psmealey at 3:47 PM on November 22, 2006


Celebutard indeed.
I don’t love or even remotely like hating her. In fact I hate her because she’s there. She shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t know about her. Nor do I want to.
And I don’t want to bed her. I would in fact kick her out of bed. And that’s only partly because I don’t want to get crabs.
There’s a great scene in “The Big Sleep” (book) where Carmen slips into Marlowe’s bed. He kicks her out, but later can still see the outline of her body. And he messes that up and takes all the sheets off the bed.
Kinda like that. She’s very much like Carmen or Daisy (from Gatsby) empty headed and devoid of responsibility or understanding, creating chaos and leaving a mess or emptiness in her wake.
Now all that isn’t reason enough to hate her, merely abjure her, and despise her. Being deserving of fame has nothing to do with it. No, I hate her precisely because she’s on my t.v. In my face. Like a jehovah’s witness.
It’s hatred out of constant irritation. A passing, cheap, sort of hatred.
A ‘bad money drives good money out of circulation’ sorta hatred. Nothing else.No attachment there at all.
Just want it to go ‘way now. Shoo.

In “The Big Sleep” the Sternwoods had the decency to put their sadistic nymphomaniac pathological daughter Carmen into an institution. The Hiltons, not so much.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:54 PM on November 22, 2006


Ah, Paris Hilton! I always join the fun topics too late! I guess I used to be annoyed by Paris, but I've come to like her more and more. On a certain level you've got to feel bad for her. She'll wake up one day and want some kind of real life, but it will be impossible. If she hasn't already, she'll give up on ever trusting anyone. If she isn't already, she'll become addicted to the attention such that nothing well ever fill that empty space inside. It's a tragedy waiting to happen, and she is a person, after all--no more or less misguided or shallow than the rest of us.

But I think that's why she's hated. I don't buy at all that she's taking up some kind of space on the cultural landscape that we would otherwise fill with someone more noble or deserving. To say that she is undeserving is to make the assumption that fame is earned by anyone who has it. Those who are best at what they do are not famous--in some part, I think, because the work of fame (and I think it's hard work) would not allow one the time and energy to be committed to much else.

From the article: Paris Hilton is our communal dartboard; skewering her gives the American public a chance to reaffirm who we are.

No, I think it's more like she exposes that our reaffirmations are lies; we've confused reality with the ideal, as if our words magically transform us into something our actions betray. She represents what we really are but don't care to admit. We're shallow; we're overly image-conscious; we like shiny, pretty things. We want to be better than that, and we fight it, and that's a noble thing about us, but for whatever evolutionary/historical/psychological reasons that's just what we are. It's not horrible to want to be rich, to live in luxury, to have all doors opened to you, to be one of the right kind of people, to be sought out and celebrated; who doesn't like praise, even if strictly undeserved? And the choices that become available to you! I'm sure I'm like most who feel that, given the opportunity to be in that place, I wouldn't squander it; I'd go everywhere, meet all kinds of people, become a student of the world and maximize opportunity for those who don't have it. I assure myself that once there--beyond the point of having to worry about the survival or even comfort of me and mine--having need of nothing, I would be free to be selfless. I wouldn't be one of those who gets plenty and then raises the stakes, only ever wanting more. But still, I've got to be kidding myself on some level; wealthy people aren't generally like this, and I have no real reason to think that I would react any differently. It seems to be merely a move to a different coliseum, with a higher price of admission.

So does Paris really just remind us, loudly, of a lot of lies we tell ourselves? We say 'image/money/beauty isn't everything' and yet many of us chase it just the same. She has all the things our culture values and lacks the things our culture should value. The fact that we as a culture put her where she is is proof of our lie; she couldn't do it on her own, without us.

And on some level, isn't she doing something for us by rubbing our noses in it? The more horrible we say she is, the more we'll elevate her--so which of us is being more ridiculous? I think she handles it rather gracefully considering that, of all of us, she more knows that she's not worthy of what we've elevated her to; she just smiles back, and leaves it to us make her what she is. We deserve her. We probably deserve worse.
posted by troybob at 7:32 PM on November 22, 2006


Respectfully, I must disagree completely. Not only with the analysis I've seen so far of the supposed power of her persona on the public, but the very need for analysis of this supposed dynamic. She is not the valuable void, and she doesn't fill a void the public possesses. I reject that there is a demand for her, save for the conditioning and abuse people have suffered as a result of the incongruity between what's real and what's portrayed in the media.

I don't recall the show, but there was a documentary some years back, on Bravo, looking at reality TV. They followed MTV employees doing demographic studies, and they followed camera crews looking at partying teens. Where hitherto "normal" people would have been coached in some capacity to make their behavior read better on TV, the kids were so instinctively imitative of shows they'd seen, it wasn't necessary any longer. The narrator concluded that media corporations go looking for a reality that no longer exists because they've so effectively shaped the way youth view certain things. I don't recall how they supported their conclusions, but I suspect
they're correct.

So conditioned, I think some people aren't equipped to question the legitimacy or the source of fame, hype and publicity. They unhesitatingly accept it, and fame created by any mechanism becomes self-justifying.
posted by evil holiday magic at 8:35 PM on November 22, 2006


Hi! (Loins part)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:13 AM ACST on November 23
[+]
[!]


Exactly.
posted by bwg at 9:37 PM on November 22, 2006


I feel obliged to give credit where it's due - to whoever submitted that to the Washington Post Style Invitational competition for celebrity anagrams that best describe the person. From memory, that was the winning entry.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:19 PM on November 22, 2006


try the strip paris naked flash game at http://www.extremefunnypictures.com/funnypic819.htm
posted by regicidal at 2:11 AM on November 23, 2006


No.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 AM on November 23, 2006


Paris Hilton is like a nasty, toxic snack food that keeps getting force fed to America. "Here," says the media, "Have another bite." I keep my lips closed, I don't actively seek this product out, but it pops up everywhere. What is alarming is the young girls around me eating it up with a spoon. "Mmmmm this poison is tasty."

She and Donald Trump have the exact same photograph pose: head tilted back, lips pouted in a sneer, eyes staring out from half-closed lids. The look is: "Fuck you, you'll never be me, everybody in America wants to be me." And their intensity is such I half-believe them even though I most assuredly don't want to be them. If I was Paris Hilton, I wouldn't be Paris Hilton, if you know what I mean.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:17 AM on November 23, 2006


Thank God some one else thought of Donald Trump..

It's just a particular form of misogyny.

I disagree and counter that similarly undeserved success and publicity is publicly resented in both men and women. Show me an example of a useless, self-absorbed male heir being lauded by the public. I'd like to see some support for the premise that this is a gender issue.

Donald Trump

And if you want to claim that he builds things, consider the fact that he went bankrupt after inheriting that fortune, then almost went bankrupt again before his siblings bailed him out.

And then he sued a writer that said at the time, he is worth well, well over a hundred million dollars.

"I just remember that lonely girl whose teachers and classmates made fun of her name for a whole month."

The story about her reaction to being kept out of a new hip club suggests she still could be that girl.

I've never hated Paris Hilton, but I have been appalled at the fact that nobody around her tells her, 'Dude, they're looking up your dress, and you should stop it.'
posted by abbotuhhm at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2006


Wow, I think that I am post 137 or something like that; in any case, a whole lot for someone everyone HATES SO MUCH! Personally, I really like Paris, and have been blasted by many a friend for saying so.

I read the article that started this whole 136 + rant from y'all; and, personally, I thought that while it was adroitly written, it was grade-school mudslinging couched in the lingo of yet another pretentious post-graduate school wannabe intellectual. In my mind, this article failed to enlighten, since it failed to exhibit tolerance, sympathy, or wisdom. Instead, while guised in quotes from extaneous others, the article only succeeded in titillating the reader with cat-calls and lewd insults.

I think Paris is beautiful. She was gifted with beauty, a flawless physique, a strong nuclear family, and oodles of money. We should all be so lucky, but unfortunately, almost none of us are. I find her fascinating because she was given everything and I like to follow the choices she has made given her background and resources; it seems to me to be a study in what is possible in this modern (or should I say post-modern) world.

Almost no one will read this, since I am post 137 or whatever, but I am glad to finally have a forum to say something about that kindly Arkansas family that took Paris and Nicole oh-so-gently to the warmth of their collective bosoms. Paris is correct when she states that she is American royalty. It seems to me that throughout history, societies tend toward monarchies. While we Americans are staunchly opposed to anything that sniffs of royal rule, our capitalist culture has nonetheless created people who fit the within the perameters of wealth and power that have always been reserved for the bejeweled wearers of purple.

Paris was dumped among bumpkins. While believing themselves kindly, they nonetheless gave Paris a crash-course (without a metaphoric crash helmet) in the awfulness of being poor and regular. I have been poor, but even at my lowest, I was never asked to skin a goddamn chicken. As hard as I have worked in my life, I feel that I would be unprepared for getting up at 4:30 in the morning to work on a dairy farm or stick my arm up a cow's ass.

If you listen closely to what Paris has to say during that first season, she makes it clear that she recognizes her privilege and wanted to learn about life outside of her world. At any point, she could have called in the private jet to fly her away, but instead she got up at 5 AM and helped with the dishes and baked a pie and worked. It must have been hell for Paris and I don't think that family did anything but wallow in the opportunity to throw their high-profile guests on a crude back porch (complete with a grated well) and make them eat off plastic plates.

Personally, I think that family was made up of nice, common folk, but I would treat a homeless stray better than they treated their high-profile guests. If no one saw the extras, they even scoffed at an expensive meal the Hiltons had flown in. Forget how Paris and Nicole made that family look to the community (they actually gave that boring community a breath of life), and think of how that family made middle-America look to the modern-day nobles that we all have created. I don't blame Paris for deleting those people from her Blackberry or being as over-the-top as she wants with her good looks and wealth. I hope she has a fabulous time with the karmic rewards she must have reaped from spending a past life as one of those poor, whipped workers who built the pyramids without the use of wheels.
posted by melangell at 3:46 PM on November 23, 2006


*A single pair of hands claps tentatively. It slowly builds until the audience is at their feet in a frenzy.*

A small, diamond encrusted violin plays for America's least sympathetic minority: the 2% of people who own everything. Yes, if you find yourself resentful of the long chain of inheritors squandering their old, old money, just remember, they paid their dues in a past life or something. Furthermore, they're uniquely gifted somehow, and inherently better than you, and don't you forget it. It's also apparently worse to be a patronizing tourist, paid and televised, than to actually have to do a laborious task, anonymously, every day, with no safety net. Oh wait! The laborers have riches in the afterlife, right? Or the next? Or whatever consolation is necessary to keep the workers busting their humps and not sealing their social betters into windowless towers.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:10 PM on November 23, 2006


I think Paris is beautiful. She was gifted with beauty, a flawless physique, a strong nuclear family, and oodles of money. We should all be so lucky, but unfortunately, almost none of us are. I find her fascinating because she was given everything and I like to follow the choices she has made given her background and resources; it seems to me to be a study in what is possible in this modern (or should I say post-modern) world.

Really. What's possible? Getting shit-faced drunk in public and treating everyone around her like garbage can be a study in what's possible given unlimited resources?
posted by psmealey at 8:12 AM on November 24, 2006


melangell: be honest, you're hoping Paris reading this and she'll throw you a hump in gratitude, right?
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2006


Getting shit-faced drunk in public and treating everyone around her like garbage can be a study in what's possible given unlimited resources?

Exactly. I do that all the time and I'm broke.
posted by jonmc at 9:00 AM on November 24, 2006


And, because my resources are limited, I can get shit-faced in public, but not treat everyone around me like garbage.
posted by Bugbread at 7:26 PM on November 24, 2006


« Older Teen goes nuclear (but in a good way)....  |  Steam Train Maury caught the W... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments