FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Liberation of Paris

by RICHARD RHAMES

“This is the end of Western civilization as we know it, and we’re watching it live.”

Harvey Levin, TMZ. com

This weekend, as July 4th looms and the bodies pile higher in Afghanistan and Iraq, putrefying in the sweltering heat, our nation’s warrior dwarf will return to the family manse at Walker’s Point, just down the road. The press will assemble. Attack planes will cruise the skies overhead. They will shatter what little silence there is here a few mile north of The Compound. Helicopters will patrol, adding to the din. From my perch on the tractor or squatting among the plant rows I will salute them with my customary rude gesture. They won’t mind. People without power or influence are allowed bad attitudes. That’s what makes this country great.

Serious media will converge, and furrow their collective brow. Miles of video tape and digital photography will record the boy king and his foil, the rascal Putin, as Vlad calls on our favorite serial killer to discuss matters of State. Journalists will visit local businesses to detail the effects of the Plunderer’s proximity on sales. Then they’ll all leave and we can return to the serious work of terminal downward mobility.

On our way back to 19th century peonage we are encouraged to revel in the sundry distractions which our betters spread before us. Which, of course brings me to my favorite subject of late—Paris Hilton. I know. It ill-befits a toiler on the vineyards of failed causes to waste time or newsprint musing on the crimes and punishments of a “celebrity jailbird.” And yet….

Who are we kidding here? Universal health care? Not a chance. Bringing the assaulters back from Iraq? Not ’til the oil’s gone. First World-style rights to food and housing? In your dreams. Majority rule? Sorry, that’s unconstitutional. Free education? Too expensive: Bomb now, study later. A democratic media system? Media control—like justice—is for the rich. They know what’s best. And they know what the little people want. What, after all, is the point of writing about fantastical notions of economic and political justice when anyone paying attention understands the profound futility of such struggles.

And so, dear reader, into this pathetic void, sashays my favorite GED recipient, Ms. Hilton. Paris was simply doing what came naturally, browsing the verdant green of Los Angeles and providing happy diversion to a people without hope and desperately in need of somebody rich they could relate to. This was no Sam Walton who busied himself screwing industrial and retail workers and forced his (food-stamp-eligible) employees to cheer him every morning in the bargain. This was no Bill Gates who made a fortune ripping off government investment and creating a Generation X-box of zombie droids.

The foreign press seem a bit perplexed by the Paris phenomenon. Leonard Doyle observed, somewhat uncharitably in London’s Independent that while “She is neither talented nor clever; her only claims to fame are her egotism and her inherited wealth. Yet to millions she is a heroine.” (6/27/07) Leonard , Leonard—- “neither talented nor clever???” She has played out her young life, affecting a pose which she understood would be welcomed. In her first interview as an inmate she revealed to Barbara Walters the “queen of US media” that she was far from the un-sharpest tool in the shed. “I used to act dumb,” she said. “It was an act.” But for a young woman who understood the US media’s (hard-to-miss) fascination with institutionalized violence, ritualized dehumanization and the policing of women’s behavior and appearance (not necessarily in that order) it was a natural enough gambit. Cut her some slack.

Doyle reports that while in the slammer, Paris worked the important media, preparing the ground for her release. In a self-portrait and note sent to one Harvey Levin she “depicted herself at a pay phone inside the jail with (of course) a television playing in the background. ‘Dear Harvey,’ she wrote in what could have been a child’s handwriting, ‘I just wanted to thank you for your fair and unbiased reporting in my case. I truly appreciate it.’ ”

So who is Harvey Levin? He’s The Cheese at TMZ.com, an outfit that the New York Times picks as representing the “future of celebrity journalism.” Doyle observes that “TMZ.com now dominates celebrity news in America—its name stands for ’30-mile zone’ or the area of Los Angeles where celebrities congregate.” Mr. Levin will co-host Ms. Hilton’s premier post-release interview on the Larry King show.

The celebutante cum entrepreneur got the money up front for her international interview. Huffed US Weekly editor Janice Min, “She symbolizes everything that’s wrong with celebrity behaviors,” most notably, it appears, getting paid for the King/Levin gab-gig. Media queen Barbara Walters is miffed, USA Today reports. Upon learning that Paris wanted to be “paid to play” Walters hissed that, “I suddenly felt this was not up to my standard.”

This is the same Barbara Walters who regularly hosts mass-murderers and kleptocrats and only months ago devoted an hour to a tawdry slime-fest feasting on the rapidly chilling corpse of Vicky (Anna Nicole) Smith. Hey Barbara. You do some time in stir. Navigate the cavity searches, no cable, and the conspicuous finger-sandwich deficit. Then see if you don’t want the ratings-ghouls to pony-up. Paris got the money in advance. She’s an American girl. People like that.

When Nancy Cleeland (one of only a handful of labor beat reporters nationally) left the LA Times recently, she cited the paper’s disinterest in covering working people’s economic issues. She noted wryly that the paper was even then advertising for writers for what it called the “Celebrity Justice” beat. Stories about celebrities and their petty offenses are safe distractions for a people with diminishing hopes. In a world made cruel by their own selected leadership, Paris is just “what’s on.”

RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine whose place is just north of the Kennebunkport town line. When the swaggering cod-piece king is in town one dreams of Paris. He can be reached at: rrhames@xpressamerica.net

 

 

RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the Kennebunkport town line). He can be reached at: rrhames@xpressamerica.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Martha Durkee-Neuman
Millennial Organizers Want to See An Intersectional Understanding Of Gun Violence
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail