Hogan's Alley

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Celebutante Vaginalist"

Kay S. Hymowitz has written a brilliant exploration of the Paris Hilton continuing event in City Journal. Thanks to Ann Althouse for the link.

The above title for this post is one of the many titles of twisted affection crafted by the gossip industry for Ms. Hilton quoted by Hymowitz in the piece. If you have ever wondered what in the hell the Paris Hilton phenomenon is about, read this piece. It posits a reasonable explanation for "it", the totally public non-personhood of Ms. Hilton and fully describes every justifiably mean spirited word or thought you have ever hurled at your TV screen when her unavoidable image appears.

Here is a choice quote:

Now despite her fame and good fortune, for most sentient adults Hilton personifies the decadence of our cultural moment. With her nightclub brawls, her endless sexcapades, her vapid interviews, her rodent-like dog, and her lack of ostensible talent, she reeks of every vice ever ascribed to our poor country. She has become a synonym for American materialism, bad manners, greed, “like” and “whatever” Valley Girl inarticulateness, parochialism, arrogance, promiscuity, antifeminism, exposed roots and navels, entitlement, cell-phone addiction, anorexia and bulimia, predilection for gas-guzzling private transportation, pornified womanhood, exhibitionism, narcissism—you name it.

Paris deserves almost all of this. You don’t need to share Osama bin Laden’s view of America to see that Paris mirrors us at our contemporary worst. But something still doesn’t compute: Why, if Paris says so much about us, do Americans—not just college professors and the commentariat but celebrity watchers and tabloid junkies—hate her so much? And why, if she is so offensive, is she so ubiquitous?