Back when I did a lot of Playboy Interviews, we interrogators shared a joke among ourselves. At some point in every interview - celeb, politician, sports hero, etc. - we knew we’d get an answer that required us to respond, “Oh, come on.” You know: “Do you expect us to believe that malarkey, that specious explanation, that rationalization, that equivocation?” It was meant to signify, in case any had doubts, our editorial integrity, that we weren’t playing along as publicists might have us play, that despite valuing our privileged access we weren’t about to just bend over and bring the personal lubricant. If we didn't get to respond Oh, come on!" to an answer, we knew we weren't doing our job. Those were the days.
These days Penn and Teller put it best: Bullshit!
Anyone who knows that two plus two is four knows that the recent Paris Hilton events are more bullshit than believable. How many fingers am I holding up? No, that’s just my middle finger.
I’m still waiting to hear what medical condition convinced Sheriff Baca to let her go home. But instead of a peek behind the doctor/patient privacy shield, I get two pages of absolutely no information in today’s (6/8/07) LA Times - lots of pictures though - and tonight I get some air head on KNBC blathering that “not since O.J. ... has such a spectacle ...”
Yeah, some spectacle, especially when your obsessive door-to-cell coverage is responsible for the spectacle in the first place.
My diagnosis: Paris is on anti-depressants and she conveniently forgot to tell the Sheriff’s Department that she needed them. Five days off the meds, and the crying jag begins. Great plan. I’m only speculating of course, but it’s not as if, in her private cell, she was in much danger of being brutally raped, just brutally rapped. This should have been easy time to do, and a perfect setup to get some good publicity for taking it like a grownup. Instead, she’s taking it like a pampered heiress. Whats-a-matter? Sheriff wouldn’t let Nicole Richie come over to play with your dolls?
Wait: maybe she’s inconsolable because it’s Friday and she had a bunch of parties she won’t be able to hit this weekend, for her usual fee plus expenses.
I’d believe she had a medical condition -- more than a spoiled brat panic attack -- if I’d ever seen Paris’s shrink trailing her around to the usual festivities, to hand out extra meds, just in case she didn’t make it home for a few days or forgot to stash some extra pills in her purse. Instead I see Britney with no underwear.
Here's a thought: You've heard of minors being tried as adults (a practice I do not agree with), but I'd make an exception just this once if we could try this adult as the child she is. In other words, you're grounded. Indefinitely. No car. No phone. And clean up your room while you're at it.
(Note: if Paris really has a problem, then get her help Mom and Dad. Part of that help is having consistent boundaries and consequences -- something clearly missing in her upbringing. Not much you can do about it now until Paris finds her own bottom -- and no jokes here about how we and others have already found it, on videotape.)
What’s even more mystifying is Baca’s willingness to go along with the whole charade. What was he thinking? I suspect the stuff’s just starting to hit the fan.
Do Paris and her ilk exist in a different world than you and me. Don’t answer that: of course she thought she could get away with it. Paris needs to man-up.
Where’s Martha Stewart when you need her to write Paris a letter on cell block comportment, on some of that stationery she no doubt made at home from plants grown in her own garden. Whoever thought Martha would be a role model?
How many fingers am I holding up?
Oh, come on.
** Update (6/9/07): Today’s Times finally sheds some light on the matter at hand. Apparently Paris does have some psychiatric issues that Sheriff Baca believed warranted her release. However, having received a few emails about this column, I’m inclined to agree with one writer – Bob – that “Long before Paris Hilton went to jail an agreement was worked out that she would only spend a few nights there . . . Only, when the judge ordered her back to court she went hysterical -- why didn't she go hysterical when she first went in? Why now?”
Indeed. Hysterical because the deal was undercut by its own hubris. The agreement had been violated. “But you promised!” What about her promise not to drive without a license – and violating it twice?
What’s also significant here is the coming clash between the Sheriff and the courts about who has the discretion to decide on early release, and for what reason. One suggestion: If it’s all about overcrowding, how about releasing the huge number of inmates locked up for most drug offenses? (Nationwide, anyone?) Bet we’d even have some empty cells for a while. Another thought: If it’s overcrowding we’re worried about, has anyone considered renovating some of the empty office space/floors in buildings around town? So what if you need a special key to get the elevator to stop at floor 13? It doesn’t exist anyway?
**Update 2 (6/10/07)
Seems Paris WAS on meds, and didn't take them -- but not as part of some grand ruse. She also didn't eat or drink because she was afraid to go potty in case a greedy or creepy guard snapped a cell phone picture. Now this is a legitimate concern. Truly. And the way to handle it was not to let her go home just because she was dehydrated and hyperventilating. Being that no one thought she'd hurt herself, a simple privacy curtain could have been rigged. Bed, Bath & Beyond sells everything she'd need.
Anyway, Paris has returned to jail, and something must have been arranged to guard her privacy. Perhaps it's a curtain, perhaps the guards just have to empty their pockets. Meanwhile Paris wants us to turn our attention to Iraq instead of her. Good advice. I'll take it.