Thursday, February 10, 2005

The End Is Near, or, Why I Like Paris Hilton

The thing about Paris Hilton is that she is an organic celebrity. She is a celebrity because she is rich and famous. She is rich because her great-grandfather invented Hilton Hotels. She is famous because she very much wants to be famous. She has a TV show because she's a celebrity. She has a jewelry collection because she is a celebrity. Her dog has a book deal because she is a celebrity. How can you not love that?

When you're a celebrity due to your own actions and abilities, say an actor, musician or athlete, the things you do and say off the job tend to be highly scrutinized. In essence, you, as a celebrity, are representing your industry, gender, country, etc and are held to certain standards. Such as, don't get into drunken cat fights when the paprazzi are around, don't make out with strangers on the sidewalk outside of your favorite Chinese restaurant, do show up on time to your club's opening--you know, basic celebrity stuff.

That's the thing about Paris Hilton. She doesn't have to answer to anybody, yet her audience is as big as the planet. All she has to do to maintain her fanbase is proclaim that some things, people, or concepts are "hot," and occasionally do an interview in a fashion or special interest magazine. And giggle. A lot. And she doesn't even necessarily need to stand behind the alleged hotness of the thing, person, or concept in question. For example, voting is hot. Paris modeled one of P. Diddy's "Vote or Die" t-shirts for the 2004 presidential election's get out the vote movement focusing on MTV-ers (I really dislike those bangs. But what do I know about bangs?). Here's the fun part: she herself did not register to vote. Shortly after the news broke, Paris was being interviewed at one of the many social functions she attends. When asked about her failure to register, she sweetly replied "No comment," smiled, and giggled.

Now, that's just magical. Horribly, muscle-crampingly magical.

I'm not saying that Paris Hilton is an appropriate role model for young women, or that I would hire her to cat-sit, or that I long for her companionship. What I am saying, however, is that Paris Hilton is tremendous fun to watch. Some liken this fascination to that of watching a train wreck, others to that of a dirty magazine. To me, it's not about how ridiculous she is, or how pretty--though both of these aspects of her persona are undeniable. It's something about her eyes, narrowed to blackened slits of mascara, the pinky pink smirk of a smile, and the trembling little chihuahua clutched in her arm as poses and prances that keeps me coming back.

And for goodness sake, how cute is that little dog?

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