Saturday, June 09, 2007

Paris Hilton

"A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance." ~ Anatole France



OK. So Paris Hilton had to go back to jail after a sympathetic sheriff gave her a nice ankle bracelet and sent her home. Then the judge sent her back. That's bizarre. By all accounts, she cried and screamed and pleaded with her mother to help her when it became clear she wasn't going to dodge the bullet any longer.

When I heard this news, one thought came to my mind:

She is a product of her environment.

I've heard all the comments about her being a spoiled little rich girl who gets special treatment because she is rich. To me, that simplistic explanation smacks of class envy.

I won't excuse Paris for what she did. She broke the law. She got what she deserved. Actually, I'm not so sure she didn't get some special treatment in this case. To me, forty five days seems to be a very short and easy sentence for repeated charges of drunk driving, along with failure to appear in court to answer those charges.

Driving while intoxicated should be treated much more seriously than it is currently, anyway. People should be made aware of the potential deadly repercussions of driving while intoxicated. A long stretch in prison would most certainly make that point clearly for the average offender.

But Paris Hilton is not your average drunk driver.

I realize that many people would challenge that statement.

No sentence will be short and easy for Ms. Hilton, and many people would say that is how it should be. And I will agree. But I also don't believe she needs to spend any more time in jail than she has already. Let me explain:

First, Ms. Hilton is a child of remarkable privilege. We poor average Americans tend to scoff at the super rich in this country, preferring to think of ourselves as somehow better, or more relevant to the real America. We are the people who do the real work, while people like the Hiltons take in the profits. Much of this simplistic view of the classes is true, but this view is nevertheless, simplistic.

I used to be afflicted with class envy, too, until I had an epiphany.

When I was a teen, back when the earth was cooling, you might say, I was involved in a church youth group, and most of the group were children of privilege. I was the only one among this small group of teens that didn't have a "rich daddy".

One of my friends was the daughter of a president of a large chemical corporation. One was the son of a man who owned a large prestigious Real Estate firm. Another friends father was a vice president for Boeing Military Aircraft division. My father was one of several thousand employees who worked at Boeing. He had worked his way up from a tool and die man to methods engineer, a fancy term for efficiency expert. He was moderately successful, but only made $15,000 a year when he retired. He retired in 1979, and back then, 15,000 was respectable but in no way could he have been considered wealthy.

The time of which I speak, I had an eye opening conversation with some of my friends that I still remember to this day. I was trying to explain why I couldn't go on some weekend trip with "the gang" because I simply couldn't afford the expense. One of the girls just smiled and said, "Why don't you just withdraw some money from your savings account?"

I was astounded. She really didn't understand that there were people in the world who couldn't buy everything they wanted without eventually running out of money. It was at this time that I realized these people were not to be envied. Instead, they were to be pitied for their ignorance of real people and real life struggles and the real value of a dollar.

A few years later, I was amused rather than astounded as I spoke with a friends wife, who was a daughter of a wealthy neurosurgeon. My friend's father was wealthy, too, but he had watched his father eventually attain millionaire status through hard work and perseverance. He understood the value of a dollar, while his wife had grown up with maids and butlers to help fulfill her every need. Once again, the topic was the need for funds. In her innocence, her response was, "Whenever I need money, I just ask daddy for it!"

She was blissfully and seriously ignorant.

My point in these examples is that Paris Hilton should not be vilified or even disdained for her behavior. It is the only life she knows. As I stated, she is the product of her environment.

Second, we must remember that one who has never been in real trouble is completely out of ones element when incarcerated for even a short period of time. Granted, Paris has escaped consequences of her many indiscretions in the past, but she was nevertheless wholly unprepared for the consequences of her hedonistic behavior.

No doubt she expected her public stature and family wealth to get her out of this latest predicament. This time it didn't.

Once again, I can relate to this situation. Although I have occasionally done things for which I should have been arrested for in my wilder days, I managed to keep myself out of jail.

But one time I did spend about four hours in the county lock-up. It was a severely traumatic experience for me. I can say, from personal experience, those four hours were more than enough to convince me that I never wanted to be placed in that situation again. And I never have been since.

The real reason, I suspect, that Ms. Hilton pitched such a fit in court, is that she already had experienced the reality of imprisonment, however short, and was given a false sense that she would never have to endure it again. Thinking back on my personal experience in a similar situation, I'm not so sure that I wouldn't react in much the same way, although I like to think I'd display a little less emotion.

Over all, I think Paris Hilton will ultimately learn a great deal from this. I think her incarceration will give her new insights and understanding of the less fortunate in our society.

If she hasn't learned her lesson by now, she never will. Any more jail time than she already has would be superfluous.

17 comments:

DAKOTARANGER said...

I'm not much for celebrity news, but being a defalt member of MADD the story has peaked my interest to certain point.

I'm dismayed at all those that are saying not everyone gets a sentence like she received and she is getting hit worse. If this is the case judges need to be tougher on everyone.

The same month an alcky ran down my dad a town cop was shot and killed. The guy that murdered my dad got only a year in the county pokey, because it was a car and the guy that killed Officer Braddock rightfully received a murder charge. They are both just as dead, the only difference was the weapon used.

I was even more greatly dismayed when that druggie ran over 35 people in DC and the "Washington Post" had an article mocking the fact that police were charging her with an armed assault...because she was armed with a car. Never mind a car has about a million times the potential FPS than that of my .45.

Drunk driving should be a felony, I think Ohio is the only state that recogizes this. By recogizing it as felony if they kill someone it becomes felony murder. For those that may think this is too harsh I ask you have you never seen a PSA, watched the news where the police talk about impaired driving? With as much talk and warning about the potential of causing a death the number should be 0 people slaughterd by alckys.

Marshall Art said...

Perhaps, but she should do her time. I can't say that I feel one way or the other. Frankly, there's far too much exposure for a girl who's done nothing to merit it. But she's like part of our "royalty" and as long as there are those who must know, there will be others who bring the "stories" of the Paris Hiltons of the country. On a side note, the picture you've chosen is one of the few that makes this waif actually look, as she would say, hot. Generally, she looks like a skinny plain-Jane with way too much make-up.

I recall a documentary that came out about a year or so ago. It was made by the son of a stereotype. His father inherited his wealth and never worked a day in his life. This kid of his wondered about the "stigma" of wealth, the rule of never speaking about one's wealth, and the nature of kids of wealth. So, he made a documentary about himself and other kids born into wealth. Frankly, all the kids (and these are teens or older) are vacuous cretins of varying degrees. The only one who impressed, was Trump's daughter. She actually seemed concerned about learning Dad's biz and being able to do it as well. Others seemed totally disinterested in learning any more than when the next party was and where. Some, who's parents actually made their dough, had to learn in order to inherit it. He inteviewed one particular piece of Euro-trash who was proud that he had no concern for the less fortunate. This film supports some of what Mark said about these kids not knowing anything else about the real world.

Marie's Two Cents said...

Truly who cares?

Gayle said...

I'm not interested in Paris Hilton other than the fact that this entire thing has pointed to something wrong regarding the legal system in California, Mark. Who's in charge? The judge gave her 45 days, the Sheriff let her out, the Judge put her back in! Something seem to have fallen through the cracks in the California legal system.

I don't envy Paris, or wish her any harm. I simply hope she grows up. Her wealth is of absolutely no importance except to the media. If she were just like you and me this never would have made the news.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

While i see your point and agree to a certain extent, your statement that she will ultimatly learn from it I think will not be the case.

The fact that her last statement from the court room was a whine to her mom that it was wrong and unfair proves that she sees herself as a victim and not one who is getting what she has earned.

Also this story about her proves that Tabloid Journalism has take over the news cycles!

mudkitty said...

Now that she's found god (and who are you to judge if she has or hasn't) shouldn't all you Christians be dead set on forgiving her. Isn't that your first duty?

Who cares? Don't you guys know? The gals found God Himself! The bible is her new defense.

Abouna said...

I pray that this rather short stint she spends in jail, will wake her up to the fact that driving drunk or under the influence of "whatever", is wrong and dangerous. If she refuses to use the brains that the Good Lord gave her, and she ends up killing someone, she will have to spend a hell of a lot longer in prison (if she gets off easy then, you will see a backlash that will be out of this world.

Yes, she is to be pitied.

mudkitty said...

Can't you Christians find it in your heart to forgive this new convert?

Timothy said...

Hi Mark,
I appreciate your insight into this, but have to disagree with your final analysis, that Paris should not have any more time in jail since she probably won't learn much more.

Jail time is not there for the learning experience. It is there to punish those who break the law. You are using the same reasoning that many use to get rid of the death penalty... that said penalty is only there as a deterrent. It is there for that and more.

Paris needs every day in jail in order to merit the crime committed. I do hope she learns from it, but come on... the most we can really hope for is that she appreciates her freedom a bit more.

AS for Mudkitty, and I'm not engaging the cat, just clarifying for others... if Paris does come to know the Lord, then she is forgiven by the Father, and we too should forgive her. But that does not mean that she is excused from serving her time in the pokey.

The same was true for that Christian girl on death row in Texas back in the 1990s. Yes, we forgive her, but she still had to suffer the consequences of her sin of hacking some old lady to death.
Blessings

mom2 said...

mudkitty said...

Can't you Christians find it in your heart to forgive this new convert?

Who gave you the authority to know who holds unforgiveness?

Mark said...

You are right, Tim. She has to do her time. I only menat that she has probably learned her lesson now. Any more jail time is uneeded, but she still has to serve it.

If a murderer goes to jail, he might commit to never murdering again the first few days due to the loss of freedom, but he still has to do his sentence, regardless. Same for Ms Hilton.

Marshall Art said...

"Can't you Christians find it in your heart to forgive this new convert?"

Why would I? She didn't do anything to me. She broke the law, several times, received a sentence that she is obliged to serve, and if she gets off early for good behavior (good for her if she does), then she's at least learned to follow SOME kind of rules.

But forgive her? I'm not even asking her for an apology. I've got nothing to do with it. I like it that way.

mudkitty said...

Call me crazy, but is not forgiveness the underpinning of Christianity?

mudkitty said...

"She is a product of her environment..." As if middle American red state teens and young adults never get drunk, or drive drunk.

What do you expect? They're a product of Kansas?

Marshall Art said...

"Call me crazy, but is not forgiveness the underpinning of Christianity?"

You're right. I forgive you for being crazy, and goofy, and a pain in the ass...Feel better? I do.

mom2 said...

Marshall Art said...

"Call me crazy, but is not forgiveness the underpinning of Christianity?"

You're right. I forgive you for being crazy, and goofy, and a pain in the ass...Feel better? I do.

June 14, 2007 7:19 PM

Yeah, I forgive her too, but this would be a better site to read if she would take her litter box and go over to DU or moveon sites where she is in agreement. She just likes to stink up good places.

Marshall Art said...

C'mon, Ma,

A few moonbats make it fun. I like to let them indict themselves. If they're too out there, the best move is to either ignore them or point and laugh. They can be great straight men.