Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paris & OJ

Up until now, I have found the antics of Paris Hilton to be a harmless diversion from the Bush body count. I admire her for being someone with no discernible talent, other than for "making the scene," turning the media frenzy over her into a cottage industry including a TV reality show, commercials, fashion, and fragrance. Of course, I may also be the last computer-owning male who has not seen, nor has the desire to see, the Paris Hilton sex tape. I'd prefer for her naughty parts to remain virginal in my imagination, and consider the whole thing grossly ungentlemanly for some swine to take advantage of her in that way. I also think she's sweet, but then I made the terrible mistake of voicing those opinions to my wife, Melody. My sweet God! I lit the shortest fuse since the cannons fired on Fort Sumter.

Everyone recalls the huge racial chasm uncovered by the OJ Simpson verdict. The Paris Hilton case has revealed similar raw reactions, only along gender lines this time. While male talking heads have mostly discussed the merits of another wacky judge's decisions, women commentators have verbally torn Ms. Hilton limb from limb. I was shocked, shocked, at the venom directed toward her, and the glee with which some have greeted her predicament. I haven't seen the desire for stark female vengeance like this since Linda Tripp. Women seem to hate her guts. Melody says she brought it on herself and could have killed someone while drunk behind the wheel. But that's not what she was incarcerated for. Celebrities get stopped for DUI every night. How else are they going to get home? I would be more afraid of Lindsay Lohan crashing into a tree and fleeing a cocaine-laden vehicle than Paris Hilton at point 08. But Hilton was given the 45 day sentence for driving on a suspended license. The last person that happened to was Ted Bundy. Hilton did everything asked of her by the courts. She surrendered herself and was photographed, fingerprinted, and booked. If the Sheriff cut her loose, it's over. But the public's hatred and hysteria over the young heiress, colored the judgement of another Anna Nicole-like raging and arrogant jurist, just enough for him to commit double jeopardy. Paris Hilton is now a political prisoner.

What might have been just a show-biz footnote, has morphed into yet another case of a Los Angeles judge attempting to make a name for himself at the expense of this young girl, and she is a girl. If Paris Hilton bred puppies for slaughter, she wouldn't deserve to be caught in a power struggle between an angry judge and the sheriff in this way. She is not just being made an example of by the appropriately named Judge Sauer, she is being punished more severely simply because of who she is. But women commentators, including many attorneys, say she is being justly punished for flaunting the law. Sheriff Lee Baca says that justice would be better served without the world's most famous woman losing her sanity, like Frances Farmer, in his jail. Let he who is without sin cast the first ankle bracelet.

Meanwhile, I have learned to temper my remarks about Paris around my wife. She wants her drawn and quartered before she parties again. But Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the woman's round table on CNN, and others, want to see her under the jail or on a chain gang, and I can't quite figure out why this is. The women seem to want to see Paris Hilton suffer in jail as much as I'd like to see Bush and Cheney in there with her. Melody says she's a frivolous person who wouldn't be concerned about me were I in the same situation. That's the point; I wouldn't be in that situation. In my wildest youthful transgressions, a reckless driving charge or driving on a suspended license, would have gotten me a fine, probation or community service. No one is sentenced to jail for 45 days for a misdemeanor unless the judge has a point to make. I believe Ms. Hilton will get the last laugh, however, when her lawsuit against L.A. County and Judge Sauer results in her owning the correctional facility in which she was housed. It can become the Hilton Lockaway.

Having said all that, there is a war going on and soldiers and civilians are still dying. Whatever happens in the Hilton case is no longer a harmless diversion, and I hope it passes from the public's attention quickly. But I don't expect it will. Should Paris wish to repair her tattered image after her release, I suggest she make a USO trip to the Green Zone in Baghdad to visit the troops. She would be welcomed like Betty Grable in Berlin after the blitz. And it would give the women another reason to hate her.