Paris Hilton – “our Marie Antoinette”

At this moment, Paris Hilton may be the most famous woman in the world, God help us.
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[T]he evolutionary theory of celebrity does not begin to explain Paris Hilton mania for one reason: people hate the woman. She must be the most powerful snark magnet in history.
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What drives Americans crazy about Paris is what has incensed Americans since before the Revolution: her haughty air of highborn privilege. She is our Marie Antoinette: “I’m the closest thing to American royalty,” Paris explained when she wrote to Prince Charles to ask for permission to use Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle for her wedding to her soon-to-be ex-fiancé. We Americans, uncomfortable with inherited wealth and power, just don’t cotton to that sense of entitlement.
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Part of the job definition of the publicist, in addition to increasing his clients’ fame, is to manage celebrity so that megastars can keep a piece of themselves for themselves. Paris Hilton said to hell with her private self. She erased the boundary between her life and her career and turned her entire existence into a public story and herself into a “brand,” as she has put it. She deliberately and programmatically offered herself up to us as an “It,” a being without an inner life, a personality whose only value is to be seen and known by all. She is, in other words, the total incarnation of postmodern identity, the individual who has disappeared completely–and happily–into her image.

The Trash Princess,” by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal, Autumn 2006

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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