I LIKE to think of myself as a humanitarian. I would be moderately displeased should Paris Hilton or any other heiress be forced through an enormous garlic press specially designed and built for the purpose. Her celebrity, or "celebrity", as you choose, may be somewhat more disconcerting than that of your run of the mill People fodder famous for attacking songs, or "songs", with the vocal end of a ball-peen hammer or "performing" in some teevee program whose only possible explanation, for producer or audience, is as a demonstration of just how rapidly Great Civilizations can collapse.
(Okay, it's Saturday morning and I told myself I wasn't going off on any tangents, but this is the thing that's really offensive about the Reaganaut nostalgia for the Golden Age that Never Was: they pine away for things like chastity, and segregation, and Patty Page, stuff your contemporary American wouldn't actually put up with for twenty minutes, and they miss the stuff that might really make a difference. Edd "Kookie" Burns, once the most famous practitioner of personal grooming on the planet, never got another job. It took thirty years before Jerry Van Dyke was forgiven for "My Mother the Car". Those were the days. Today, somebody who had a fookin' walk on on those shows is famous for life. You cannot enter a restaurant in Indianapolis, at any hour of the day or night, without detouring around that Rupert guy from Survivor, signing autographs for what you swear, until the next time, must be the last people in the Midwest who don't have one.)
Because it's damned hard not to see Paris Hilton as the embodiment of the Bush administration, as the Bush Daughter who didn't have to toe the line in public lest Babs freeze the trust fund for twenty years, the one who didn't have to promise not to run drunk and naked through any hotel corridors on this continent. For anyone who's half-followed the foibles of the stock market the only way not to imagine Paris Hilton as the result of some murky Murdockesque figure's decision to speculate in the heiress market as George W. Bush's potential ascendancy began ("Here's the deal: Brain-dead fourth-generation Money plus Sex. It can't miss") is to ignore her completely. And good luck trying. So it's hard not to imagine she deserves jail time. And impossible to think that could happen without some 11th hour bail-out à la Bush.
(More tangents: I was home all day yesterday, making sure the furnace installers stayed away from the silver, and I got to watch some of the fun. No matter how distasteful the subject, those teevee wall-to-walls are your best example of Just How Far Down the Shithole We've Fallen. The answer is, so far, at this point, that the CNN gang was apologizing for covering the thing, as if it were beneath them or distinct from the rest of their hard-hitting, issue-oriented coverage. Best line: to the Hairdo who proclaimed the situation was "very minute-to-minute right now," confirming my long suspicion that the studio is the only place where these people hear, or use, English. Runner-up was the Celeb reporter-on-the-street--dressed and coiffed like a Hunky Teevee Carpenter, minus the hunk--who was running down the visitors' list chez Paris, and said something like, "There was Nicky Hilton, Paris' less well-known but still frequently photographed sister." )
All I intended to mention about this is that by some weird Cosmic Reduction, some HO scale of Chicness brought Indianapolis its own Celebrity Alcohol-fueled judicial news arc this past week as former Colts quarterback Jack "Is He the Guy Who Married Jane Pauley?" Trudeau was busted for furnishing liquor to underaged partygoers at his daughter's high-school graduation party. He's also charged with obstruction for not giving up the clipboard list of attendees he'd been holding when the cops arrived--Jack (an ath-a-lete, after all) apparently not understanding that he was in a helluva lot more trouble than the kids who'd been hitting his beer bong. I suppose one should be cheered by the fact that the claims of White Tony Suburban Privilege in the matter were fairly drowned out by condemnation of the practice, if not the privilege. And of course there were the cries of "Kids are going to drink anyway," the defenders of which idea always sound like my teenaged compatriots whose "drinking anyway" totaled roughly a case of beer per night. And, as is required once such stories hit the air, the whole thing turns into a debate over the dangers of alcohol, and nobody gets around to asking why Jack Trudeau was blaring loud music at his tony neighbors in the middle of the night, or why kids today would be willing to drink in the presence of adults, or why there were so many adults around, anyway (including the still publicly-unexplained attendance of Why Aren't You a Fugitive? former Conseco CEO Steve Hilbert). Were they waiting for the kids to get drunk enough to start diving in the pool naked? Shouldn't Vague Creepiness be a C felony?