July 1st, 2005, 10:35 AM
I think Kahn that if we made it through the Scripture and History thread without any major homicides, we can deal with Paris' travails.
July 2nd, 2005, 07:01 AM
Kiss my axe!
I think it's termed "car crash TV", which makes it compulsive viewing for some, but it's just a couple of spoilt rich kids freeload their way across America with no real regard for the consequences.
Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
July 3rd, 2005, 12:50 AM
Vonnegut and this thread
Paris Hilton and what she stands for, seem to me a lot similar to Malachi Constant from The Sirens of Titan [Vonnegut]. But I do sincerely hope there aren't many more.
Just choosing to ignore her is so difficult! Look at this thread for example!
July 3rd, 2005, 12:06 PM
You know what I love about Paris Hilton -- everybody seems to buy into her act. She's definitely not stupid, she's not a whore. She may well be spoiled but material goods don't seem to be her chief concern -- she likes the spotlight. And she's been incredibly strategic about getting it. And apparently, her family is either clueless, or has seen an increase in business in their hotels and so backs her up. She is, obviously, willing to take her clothes off, but that's hardly a select group.
Take for instance her show, on which she asked if Wal-Mart sold walls. She admitted later that she knew exactly what Wal-Mart is and had asked the question deliberately to seem clueless. That admittance was dutifully reported in some press and then ignored. Whereas her fake Wal-Mart question was frantically quoted everywhere, becoming endless foder for commedians' jokes. The thing is, we want her to be a dumb, clueless, spoiled, outrageously nasty sexpot. Especially because she comes from a rich, American-version of a blue-blood family. And she's constructed a personna that gives the public exactly that. Like Marilyn Monroe on down. Of course the clueless innocent sexpot doesn't work anymore, so she's doing the trashy one, but the theory is pretty much the same.
I imagine in real life, she's probably not a very nice person. But man, she's smart, or at least smart enough to have a good strategy team. And she can act. She's got a nice sense of comic timing too. Which has distinguished her from all the other gals who take their clothes off for pictures.
July 3rd, 2005, 03:57 PM
Yes yes and yes. But, the reason I brought her up was more to help me understand how it is we have seemed so easily to blur the moral lines that formerly kept children's role models out of certain areas. I just find it amazing that mothers and fathers think it's okay that their young children aspire to be like her. Is it the lowest common denominator effect here?
Yes, she smarter than she seems, or the people around her are at least. But she is rude and being rude is part of her persona, so again the message she sends is so perverted. She's rude, she's inconsiderate, she's tactless, she's hurtful in her comments etc etc. Maybe she's nice. This really isn't about her. It's about what the media has done to capitalize on her and how we so readily accepted it all. She's just a girl from a rich family. She's probably laughing every day and enjoying every minute. She's entitled to. None of this is her fault. She can't choose who will love her.
July 4th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Yes, but you're assuming that the kids know she's rude. Here's some things I've learned from raising a nine-year-old girl:
Young girls really like dancing. They don't know that certain moves are sexually suggestive, and if you tell them the moves are, they don't care.
They think the singers and actresses are beautiful, funny, smart and confident. And, in most of the things presented specifically for them and their tween counterparts, that's exactly how these women appear. They don't really know much about these women's personal lives, and don't really care.
They don't understand the sexual content to much of the lyrics of some singers. They pick up the curse words at a certain point, but those aren't important to them. They just like the singing.
They have no clue about Paris' sex tape and the other stuff you're worried about. She's just some personality they see on t.v. (They didn't understand all the hoopla about their wearing corset bras and fingerless gloves like Madonna back twenty years ago either.)
They'll learn, of course. They'll learn about the Playboy Mansion and Playboy Magazine, which little boys have been looking at for decades. They'll learn that a lot of men see them as essentially live inflatable sex dolls. They'll learn that looking sexy is dangerous, but that women who aren't seen as sexy are considered worthless. They'll learn that Colin Farrell can booze, and plow through actresses, and be outrageous, rude and stupid, and everyone thinks it's cute and endearing and masculine, whereas when Paris Hilton does the same, she's a skanky slut. But I'm really in no hurry for my daughter to learn all that. If she wants to listen to Gwen Stefani, who occasionally curses, and dance around to Ciarra singing "I shake my goodies" with no clue what it means, it's okay. The more confident she thinks women are now, the better chance she'll have of surviving high school.
As for parents, well, I don't get why some of them bring infants to loud action movies. And these same parents will take a nine year old to see Paris Hilton get killed while having sex in a horror movie, which wasn't made for children. And there's not much you can do about that, Gary, and never was. Paris Hilton, I have to say, has never marketed herself to kids, which is more than I can say for some of the other ones. I don't have a particular agenda to defend Paris -- I don't find her personally interesting. But I don't think she's the start of a moral Armageddon. Anymore than Elivs shaking his hips was going to corrupt the children who saw that, despite the panic in the streets. And what little I've seen of her acting, she's very funny.
Now, if your boys are asking you awkward questions about Paris Hilton, that's another issue, but your youngest is a teenager, right?
July 4th, 2005, 07:38 PM
I don't see Paris as "the End of All Things", but her celebrity is more of symptom of our needs and desires. To build people up for no other reason but to ridicule and abuse them. I really don't see why ANYONE would want to be a celebrity, other than the money and certain goodies.
We need to give people who deserve our admiration the pedestal of admiration than some silly and really, non-important pretty face our attention. I think that we have more magazines, 'net sites,tv shows and the like dedicated to celebs than we do for more important things, like science, arts and so on. We've seemed to have allowed ourselves to be lowered in quality and need by these so-called celebrities.
I'm not blaming them(celebs), but I think that we as a people, need to say enough and get back to doing real things.
July 5th, 2005, 07:38 AM
I agree. We need to focus on other things. But we probably won't.
Paris is a symptom, no more. She's not to blame. But it's interesting that she already had the fortune and still sought the fame. I think that having fortune without fame is a much happier way to live.
I saw her last night on TV talking to the troops overseas and wishing them well after Jessica Simpsom sang with Willie Nelson. I am beginning to think that Paris represents more to younger people than we might imagine. The combination of wealth, cool, disrespect for what many consider to be acceptable behaviour (but disrespect in a casual way, not defiant) and lifestyle must seem liberating. Marilyn Monroe is an icon. She had a rare beauty, but also a troubled life and a troubled lifestyle. She was a much more sympathetic character, but she was not the girl next door, and neither is Paris. She is in a way the epitome of success in our jaded culture. She has everything a young girl might want and the freedom to take advantage of it. But why have we sunk to the point where what a young girl might want is so regressive again? She seems free, but not liberated. I wish that someone with some intelligence and slightly loftier ideals would become an icon.
July 5th, 2005, 08:42 AM
That's the trouble though - those type of people tend to stay out of the spotlight unless forced into it by achievement. Icons are often people of extremes.
Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
July 5th, 2005, 11:09 AM
But must they be notorious extremes? What generates this phenomenon? I wonder what it is in human nature that draws us to these kinds of personalities rather than others/
July 5th, 2005, 11:49 AM
I think that I'll go with the "Bright and Shiny" Theory that as long as it flashes and catches our attention that we'll be more likely to want more of it.
Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
July 5th, 2005, 02:48 PM
Isn't notorious now just a word for publicised - we say 'there's no such thing as bad publicity' and it's true, a few decades ago antics today would be ignored let alone given the front page. As the media saturates our lives to even greater degrees we are harder to shock and thus it takes extreme personalities and mentalities to do so. More than that, to be noticed without such affectations in the present day means being beyond exceptional - again I would point to Tom Hanks or more recently Roger Federer if your a tennis fan - something only one in ten million or more will achieve, because otherwise your staid, boring or 'uncool'. In acting, sports and entertainment it isn't how good you are at your profession but dealing with everything outside that marks you out. Having microphones and cameras shoved in your face, people telling outright lies about everything from your treatment of the opposite sex to pinching some candy or smoking a doobie in high school, your hounded and isolated to ridiculous levels. In the face of that you have to be a little nuts and one hell of an exhibitionist. Then after a while it gets to you and you crazy anyway, damned if you and damned if you don't.
Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
July 5th, 2005, 06:44 PM
Well, yes, it would be nice if the noble were the pop icons, but they never have been before. Noble figures tend to be polarizing for one thing, and tend not to work in the entertainment fields that put the pop in pop culture. And if the pop icon tries to be noble -- Bono, etc., we lambast them for sticking their noses in where they don't belong. We did once make the politicians our noble icons and some folks still do, but it's kind of hard right now. But even so, most kids and teenagers are much more interested in rock singers and actors and always have been.
I really don't see the difference in kids watching "Laugh-In" and seeing Charo shake her kootchi-kootchi and Goldie Hawn pretend to be a ditz, and watching Beyonce shake her jelly and Jessica Simpson pretend she doesn't know that buffalos don't have wings. And I really don't see that Paris Hilton has done anything particularly horrible or symptomatic of a social disease. She had a show in which she was a trashier version of Eva Gabor in "Green Acres." She had an ex-boyfriend release a private tape and spun it into a PR advantage. She supposedly likes to party and be with some guys, though who knows what's fact and what's fiction. She gets a lot of media coverage about things like how much she spends on her dog. Wow, call out the National Guard.
My generation (the big one of which I'm on the tail end,) was raised on incredibly violent cartoons and incredibly violent R movies with lots of bare-breasted women running around. My husband's first movie (he's at the beginning of the next generation,) was "Live and Let Die." Can people who as kids and teenagers watched movies like "Animal House" and "Porkies," listened to the comedy stylings of Cheech and Chong and Eric Clapton singing about cocaine while Ozzie Ozbourne bit the heads off of animals as the Prince of Darkness, truly shake their finger at Paris Hilton? Especially after thirty years of having women in bikinis sell beer?
It is the perogative of the young to dominate popular culture, to rebel in any way they see fit (safety pins through the cheek, anyone,) and to generally act wild, crazy and mindless (and possibly make money off of doing so.) It's just Paris Hilton's turn. And I'm not fond of the double-standard that seems to be applied by critics to her because she's female. It seems to include a certain amount of resentment that the party girl, once expected to just be eye candy on the arms of Mick Jagger or Andy Warhol, is now in the center spotlight.
July 5th, 2005, 06:55 PM
Do you think she is today's Gloria Steinem? Is Paris the new liberated woman?
Look, I don't really give a **** about her at all. I sat by her during a fashion show that started 45 minutes late because they were waiting for her to arrive, and she got there, chatted on her cell phone the whole time and reeked of pot. Do I think she is entitled to everything she has achieved? Sure. Why not. It's not her fault people envy her and aspire to being like her. It's not the morality at all that bothers me. My idols were Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Grace Slick, Sinead O'Connor, Dennis Hopper etc. And I don't think it's a double standard. It has nothing to do with the person's sex. It's just that she's so god damn dumb acting and careless. She shouldn't be a role model. That's all I am saying. Let her be adored for her enviale qualities. I just can't seem to find them.
July 5th, 2005, 07:32 PM
Just Another Philistine
She shouldn't be a role model?
A role model for who? You? Your boys? Your spouse? Anyone you know personally?
Who determines role models? I always liked Charles Barkley's response: that he wasn't anyone's role model. He was just Charles Barkley.
Yesterday, the headlines screamed with the identity of the latest child abductor up in Idaho. That's news; that's publicity. Does it make the guy a role model? Yes, it does. Some folks somewhere will think what he did sounds kind of neat and they will emulate him and some more children will be harmed. It's a fact of the information age. Columbine keeps repeating itself.
What's your point, Gary? That you don't approve of other people's values, of the way they raise their children? Neither do I. Can I change it by ranting about Paris Hilton or yesterday's headlines or by telling a classroom full of teenagers not to use her as their role model. You named some of yours from your youth and I didn't like most of them then or now but that doesn't make you wrong or me right. It means I had a different set. I thought James Bond was the coolest but I didn't go around saving the world; I thought RAH was on the right track and I tried some of what he suggested. I thought my NCOIC's wife was the smartest, bravest person I ever met and all she was doing was maintaining her sanity with three kids and him on duty and not available two weeks out of three. But she opened my eyes to what it was costing her to do that job.
Got a daughter-in-law doing the same job right now. Those kinds of people turn out to be my role models. Never cared for James Dean or Elvis or Avalon or Fabian. I suspect that most folks choose their own heroes and pay little attention to what the media is foisting. Katherine the Great has it down pretty cold in her above post. Role models are people individuals select; they don't need any help.