Admit it. When you heard that Paris Hilton was carried screaming from the court room, blubbering for her mommy, off to jail, you felt just a little bit of scheudenfreud. For those of you who do not know what scheudenfreud is, it is a nice German term that means, roughly, taking joy of other peoples’ misfortune.
Now it is not just that Paris Hilton has vied with Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Hillary Clinton for the title of most irritating female in the known universe. The fact is that Paris Hilton represents for everyone that cheerleader, that most popular girl in school, that beautiful bubble head who was undeservingly worshiped who snubbed you and made you feel like dirt when you were young and callow. Revenge is sweet, even if it is vicarious.
Paris Hilton wouldn’t be as noxious if she were just another rich kid spending her nights flitting from one rum soaked, drug laced soiree to another. But the media insists on covering her. We are forced to set eyes on that anorexic form in between serious news about Iraq and immigration. What did we do to be tortured so much?
Paris Hilton also represents for many something a little more sinister. She is the celebrity who gets away with stuff on the basis of popularity and cash. OJ Simpson many believe literally got away with murder. President Bill Clinton got away with-well-quite a lot. What Paris Hilton did was hardly in the same class as either of those two men, but she was unlucky enough to be in the spotlight when the patience of the American people finally snapped.
Mind, there are some commentators who suggest that Paris Hilton is being tormented because she is rich and considered in some quarters cute. People do not ordinarily get sent up the river for driving with a suspended license. What these people do not point out is that people are very often sent up the river for probation violations. Paris Hilton had gotten popped for a DUI which, fortunately, did not involve in any damage to property or people. As part of her probation, Paris Hilton’s license to drive was suspended. However, Paris Hilton choose to regard the orders of a judge as suggestions not once but twice. Judges are usually not happy with people who defy them, even if they are rich and considered in some quarters cute.
So a little scene was played out in a Los Angeles court that should be too melodramatic even for an episode of Boston Legal, though it will probably show up on an episode of Boston Legal in some form or another. Unfortunately for Paris Hilton, Alan Shore is not her lawyer. So it’s off to the pokey for her.
One problem with Paris Hilton is that she is not getting how to behave as a celebrity jail bird. She should have consulted with Martha Stewart, what was sent up for several months on a conviction that on close examination was unfair. Instead of wailing for her mommy like a banshee, Ms. Stewart butched up, took her medicine, and came out of jail all the stronger.
Paris Hilton, waif like, probably can’t tough her way through jail. But she is said to have a certain amount of charm. If she can get past that sense of entitlement and persecution, she can learn something from her next month and a half of bad food, horrible living quarters, and worse company. At the very least, it will make her appreciate the lifestyle her inherited millions have bought her. And if she can wrap her mind around the idea that her actions have consequences, she will have gained some much needed wisdom. Jail could be, in fact, the making of her if she approaches it with a proper attitude.