Kathy Shaidle of relapsed catholic is once again after my own heart, by doing a piece on the public's endless fascination with Paris Hilton. Actually, I wouldn't be so hard on the girl with respect to her physical attributes. Not that they're all that remarkable, but that's not what bothers me. It's just that the granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, as far as I am able to determine, has no discernible job skills, and nothing important or even mildly amusing to say, thus appearing to offer society nothing but the ability to call attention to herself, all the while spending away her family fortune. (She is quoted as saying that "I'll put all my energy into the guy, and I don't really pay attention to myself." This is far too modest, when you can pay other people to pay attention to you.) There is little remarkable in this, as the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, DC -- among others in California, I suspect -- is full of such people.
Where is the appeal in this? Do men really covet her? Do women really want to be like her? Is that imaginary night really worth the imaginary next morning? Is that what we call "the near occasion of sin"? (Just checking.)
Kathy pays brief tribute to starlets of the past, who left more to the imagination, and let the story define their attractiveness. She cited Ava Gardner as an example. Personally, I was surprised she didn't mention Lauren Bacall, more affectionately known to my late father-in-law as "that foul-mouthed b****." Oh well.
There is a quality that has pervaded the world of female media celebrities of late, that of the courtesan, or more bluntly, the "skank." Yes, Hollywood starlets of the past may have lived less-than-exemplary lives, but that was not their appeal. Those who follow such exploits don't appreciate even the higher ideals of haute couture, bowing instead to the rudest and crudest segments of humanity. Like The Jerry Springer Show with some semblance of a script. Whether we simply want to make ourselves appear just as glamorous with less effort, or simply herald a remake of Rome before the fall, is unclear to me.
Fortunately, I don't see that so much in some of my favorite actresses -- Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep, to name two. And Winona Ryder, before she got into shoplifting.
But hey, that's just me.