The Patch

February 4, 2007

Paris Hilton showed me the way.

Filed under: Celebrity/TV — denesha @ 11:29 am

This is fairly old news for most blogs but when it came out last week, I didn’t care about it or really understand it. I still don’t quite understand it, but I do slightly care about it now. It’s unnerved me because the story in question is about one of the vilest creatures in existence. It’s about Paris Hilton. I wouldn’t blame you if you all left now, screaming “she’s lost her mind, she’s trying to suck out my brain with heiress speak!” In fact, I’m contemplating a similar act, but I have to post something and it’s been a slow news week. I wish Lohan would come out of rehab and do something funny, other than say she wants MacDonald’s and sex, which is actually what most people want… in that exact order.

Last week, Paris Hilton’s belongings showed up on a website called The people behind this website (which has now been closed down pending a lawsuit) obtained the private belongings after Paris ‘forgot’ to pay the bill on a storage unit. They released her stuff online on a subscription basis, so for under $40, you could access every part of her life in its tampon smoking glory. It’s almost as if they thought in a weed fuelled daze, “You know what people really need to see more of is… Paris Hilton’s vagina!” Unfortunately, they were slightly successful for a while there.

The entire sordid business is voyeuristic to say the least, but the same could be said of anyone who buys Heat magazine. Of course, as a ‘celebrity’ who revels in her private life being public knowledge, and who has made a career out of making her life as public as possible, surely she has relinquished any right she may have had to privacy? Right?

Yes, she has. Of course, she has. However, I cannot shake the feeling that this is morally wrong. Reading Paris Hilton’s diary unsettled me. At first I was surprised she could even write, and partly because, I wouldn’t even read my sister’s diary. Yet, all the gossip blogs I’ve read seem to be lapping it up like Lindsay Lohan at a cocktail bar. While we know virtually nothing about Guantanamo Bay, we now know everything there is to know about a 25 year old woman and all her friends!

Despite the ensuing law suit, I imagine Paris is enjoying the attention and this will probably just land her another godforsaken record deal or reality TV show. Nevertheless, I still believe it is wrong. Gossip blogs are acting like vultures, picking off her skinny noodle-like carcass and doing so in the most invasive manner. Reading her diary? Mocking her love letters? Publicising her eating disorders, STDs and possible abortion? Is this secondary school all over again? While Paris Hilton may not care, I do. Yes, she relinquished her rights to privacy, but as a collective group, we can choose to honour some aspects of a person’s life as their own, despite their public profile. We can choose to be better and we can definitely choose not to pay in order to relish in another human being’s humiliation. Our society has to be better than this. I need to believe that as a society, we can care about something other seeing Paris Hilton’s forgotten belongings. If people can care so much about this, who knows what could happen if people chose to care about the fate of a blind Chinese anti forced abortion lawyer who has been sentenced for four years in prison for “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic”? Perhaps, people will pay $39.95 each to help him. I doubt it, because as far as I know, he doesn’t smoke any tampons or say that it’s totally ‘hot’ to do cocaine.

I can understand that for many of the people who subscribed to the site, their interest is a guilty pleasure, akin to paying £1.50 to read this week’s Heat. One only has to look at the popularity of reality TV shows to recognise the extent of voyeurism in modern society. However, this invasion into the very core of a young woman’s life has scared me. No one seems to be raising the moral question of ‘have we gone too far now?” Have the lines between celebrity news and perverse invasion become so blurred, that what would ordinarily be the most humiliating experience of an average person’s life has become an internet free for all?

Why is it ok for us to read her diary and love letters without permission when we’d kill our respective younger siblings for doing the same thing? She did relinquish her rights for anonymity when she became a ‘celebrity’, yet did she also give up her right to write a diary? I’m not sure where either side stands morally on this issue. I’m not a moral compass (I once laughed at a three legged dog) but this made me feel slightly dirty and I didn’t even pay for the privilege. As far as guilty pleasures go, I think this makes me feel too guilty to have any semblance of pleasure. Well done, Paris. It turns out that you’re the one to have shown me the line between decency and perverse invasion! It’s a surprise to say the least.


1 Comment »

  1. maybe to the general public, paris hilton feels like an obnoxious older sister so really it’s not so wrong to read her diary and dig through her belongings (which is not to say i personally feel like she’s my sister, i just mean in the overall scope of society itself). you’re so right about peoples’ misplaced ambitions. people will pay $40 to see paris hilton’s shit, but ask someone for a dollar toward a good cause and you’ll be lucky to even get THAT out of them. ask them for $40 and you will go home with nothing.

    Comment by Amie — February 4, 2007 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

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