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June 15, 2007

Is my capacity for forgiveness without reserve?

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And so it is that I find myself writing about Paris Hilton. I have either joined a particular club or been kicked out of one I didn't know I belonged to. But if Christopher Hitchens can justify writing about her, then I guess anyone can air their feelings on celebutards right now and call it relevant. Particularly if, like Hitchens, you have a pretty good hype-filter and can refer to her as a "tearful child" without sounding pious.

My own hype-filter, I'm afraid, has been sadly boggled by an aversion to girls who play dumb, badly, and in Paris' case, play slutty too. Because, girlfriend, when you play slutty, it aint play no more! You diss women everywhere but particularly the ones who fight to be taken seriously---and there are still many of us who do. Her brand of false naivete is one of the most dead-eyed, uninventive takes on a role that, if done well, can be a fun, energetic form of play that women in particular have excelled at. But Hilton seems to lack the energy, the life force necessary to pull that off, let alone the inevitable smarts to really play dumb and delight.

And so, I admit, a little bird in me grew wings when Paris entered jail a week ago and was forced to pull out the extensions and the coloured contacts and see just how unflattering those prison jumpsuits can be. I thought that some sort of karmic justice was being doled out; that after years of flipping the bird at the common man (remember those hilarious t-shirts she and Britney wore saying "I'm Paris Hilton; I can do whatever I want"?) the shallow-and-proud one would learn that there is still a world where money and fame can't protect you, and in her case, have probably hurt more than helped her in the hope for a fair deal.

But you can't make anyone learn anything just because you think it's true. And don't think I haven't asked myself why I am so invested in the goings on of a hopelessly lost girl who I will never meet, in a crazed town called Hollywood. Because I have. I have cross-examined myself and asked just why I feel so strongly about someone who, in my heart of hearts, I know is just trying to feel important and obviously wants to be loved by as many people as possible. Even if her tactics are hopelessly misplaced and her execution far from perfect, Paris Hilton is still one of us, and what we ultimately all want is acceptance, right? Sounds pretty understanding, doesn't it? I guess it does, but I don't think I could have got there until I'd heard the latest on the situation, namely the phone call between Paris Hilton and Barbra Walters that took place in the last couple of days.

After releasing a ridiculous statement about how she was "shocked to see all of the attention devoted to the amount of time I spend in jail", Paris Hilton has finally come clean and admitted that her dumb act is just not cute anymore. "I used to act dumb. It was an act ... and that act is no longer cute."

Now, maybe I'm just an old softie, but I think those words would be incredibly hard for anyone to say, famous or not. And it is those few words that have led me to the decision to lay off poor Paris for a while, at least until she does something obnoxious again. Or maybe I should just not read gossip blogs or care about them anymore. Either way, I feel that Paris, with those few words, has actually made amends for being such an asshole in public for the last few years. To admit that one's act is not cute is a huge step for anyone, and I have respect for Paris for saying it. Hopefully now, the madness, at least for me, can die down a bit.

Posted by linda at June 15, 2007 8:22 AM

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