06/23/2007: "Really, it's not my fault!"
I promise you that I tried not to write about this. I swear. But there are times when you need to do the difficult in as few words as possible, so here goes.
I admit that I had sympathy for Paris Hilton when she first went to jail. She's young and, even though she'd violated her parole three times, deserved, I thought, the benefit of the doubt. When she thought she was going to get out after a few hours and serve her time at home, I even felt like it was okay, if clearly the kind of justice that the rich often get.
As I have written elsewhere, I knew Paris' family well. I was engaged to her great uncle Nicky until I discovered that he was an incorrigible drunk. In the course of our rocky romance, I met The Family: Conrad, the patriarch and creator of the fortune; and Baron and his wife Marilyn, Paris' grandparents. On a night when the four of us (Baron, Marilyn, Nicky and me) went dancing, Marilyn was pregnant with Paris' father. Baron was the businessman. Nicky had zero interest in the family business. He only wanted to maintain his fast, playboy lifestyle and spend money. Unfortunately for Baron, Nicky was Conrad's favorite. He spoiled Nicky and forgave his constant carousing and the embarrassment that it caused. This is the same treatment Paris has received from her parents. The money has continued to flow to her (through a trust fund, no doubt) and enabled her to reach the point at which she now finds herself. My guess is that the drinking gene runs in the Hilton family, and Paris has inherited it directly from her great uncle Nicky. Sadly, Nicky died at an early age from alcoholism. Paris would be lucky if someone could convince her to stop, but that seems unlikely. She has shown little inclination to listen. No one really believes all the stories of how she has found Jesus and walks around carrying a bible.
What sympathy I had for Paris was the rumor thundering around the internet and cable that NBC would pay her one million dollars for a exclusive interview when she gets out of jail. NBC has vehemently denied the story, first published in the New York Post, but many "inside sources" continue to say it's true. Maybe NBC will be too humiliated to do it. If it does happen, it's the kind of thing that makes you wonder what the networks think are the really important issues in this world. And what they think of the intelligence of their viewers. (Answer: they think we're STUPID!) But it makes you understand how professionally bankrupt our media companies really are.
And Paris? She will be rewarded handsomely for behaving like a spoiled child. Like her late great uncle Nicky, it's what she does so well. I've seen Paris many times at Playboy Mansion parties, thoroughly drunk, squatting outside smoking a cigarette. No doubt she will be back there again, renewed in the knowledge that she can do as she damn well pleases, no matter what the consequences. Because, you see, it's all about the consequences.
Paris cried before she went to jail saying that it wasn't her fault that she broke her parole. It wasn't her fault that she was DUI over and over. And if, in the course of one night she had an accident in which someone was killed, that would not be her fault either. And Paris cried when she had to go BACK to jail, because it was unfair to treat her like every other serial DUI offender. (But please note: Paris is media friendly. She always cries with the car window open so that the paparazzi can get a good shot.)
This is the world we live in. A world in which, say, a president can level an already helpless nation, and conduct a ruthless campaign of occupation based on lies. And when it all goes bad and public opinion turns against him because too many of our children (and theirs) are dying, it's not his fault. It's the fault of the people whose nation we have all but destroyed.
No one wants the consequences. Only the fame, or the power, or the money. Paris is not much different.