Bling on the Blog, Part 2: Lady of the Bling

In the article “Harpy, Hero, Heretic: Hillary,” Jack Hitt wrote about the many faces of Hillary Clinton. What made this different from the volumes written about the subject was that instead of being an analysis of her fractured personalities, it was an exploration of our often-frenetic perceptions. There are very few people in this world that skirt the abyss of neutral emotions where most of us reside in others’ consciousness. Hillary is one of these people. Paris Hilton is another.

I have strong, negative reactions towards both of these women. Mentioning their names or their latest escapades will often elicit facial contortions of the snarling variety that I normally reserve only for practitioners of the most heinous acts. Clinton has called herself a Rorschach test, casting herself in the malleable role of inkblot to be interpreted by our creative fears, doubts, and antipathies. This week, as I have ranted and raved about Paris Hilton’s latest adventures with the criminal justice system, the Paris Hilton Rorschach of my mind has exposed some of the uglier sides of my personality.

When I heard that she was being forced to return to jail, I clapped my hands with glee. This was a victory for accountability, and in a society with a perverted criminal justice system, there’s nothing wrong with that. It got a lot worse, though. Later, I read out the accounts of her tearful courtroom pleas and mocked her for crying out for her mother. I cheered for someone’s fear; I made fun of a frightened young woman asking for her mother. What in the world does that say about me? Why would she inspire such cruelty? Why do I even care enough to waste my energy being so hateful?

It’s because I do not see Paris Hilton as a human being. Instead, she is a representation of the things that I find the most distasteful about a society that gives free clothes to heiresses. She spits on the face of the false notion of meritocracy; she is an acid trip of the American dream, and a bad one to boot. However, the hallucinatory image of Hilton, while carefully crafted by her phalanx of publicists, depends upon our participation in having our perceptions contorted.

banksy-hilton-06.jpg

Hilton now sits in her cell, apparently the lucky recipient of a timely religious conversion. She expresses surprise at all the media interest in her case and tells us that there are more important things to worry about than her—the war in Iraq, for example. Whether her overnight acquisitions of both depth and self-reflexivity are genuine or, probably more likely, the result of a carefully crafted plan to reshape her image, she is right. There are more important things to worry about than her. We should worry about what she inspires in us.

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~ by terrificwhistlers on June 12, 2007.

One Response to “Bling on the Blog, Part 2: Lady of the Bling”

  1. You should go to the Smoking Gun and read the latest of our jailed heiress.

    The stark, emotionless business letter from her father tells a great deal about her upbringing, both emotionally and priviledge..ed…ly…

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