Consider This
Politics, Life and Journalism in Northumberland County, Ontario

Paris HIlton give me a break

First published: July 12, 2007

This column is about Paris Hilton. That’s right, Paris Hilton. Scanning across the various headlines and news stories in search of column fodder, it is obvious this is the single most important issue right now. And, as a member of the media, it is vital to join with other journalists to cover this breaking news.

Paris Hilton walked out of a California prison, all similes, just after midnight Tuesday having served three weeks in jail for violating probation in a drunken-driving case. She was dressed in dark slacks and a short-sleeved top, a braided ponytail, sans her baby blue contact lenses. She received as much publicity behind bars as she gets on the Hollywood party scene. The Post-Chronicle, based in New Jersey, reported she was looking forward to a good meal, but most media reported she said nothing as she left the Lynwood Detention Centre.

Thankfully, Larry King Live on CNN will do the first live interview with her Wednesday night. All those unanswered questions will finally get a response. What was it like, Paris? What was your toughest moment, Paris? Were you lonely? What advice did family and friends provide you during your incarceration? What’s it like to live without hair conditioner? Count on good ol’ Larry to dig for the tough stuff. He’s fearless.

CNN is the place for Paris Hilton news. The once distinguished news organization, that reported the first Iraqi war from under a bed in a Baghdad hotel, changed the industry and raised standards. Now, it rides its reputation like a tired horse. But now, this Paris Hilton interview proves it still knows how to nail the big stories of our time.

NBC is reported to have offered over $1 million to score Paris. It is great to see a major American news network is prepared to get in there right next to the National Enquirer in the bidding war. So what if news organizations have to spend money for interviews. It’s a great investment consider the audience it will generate. And, boy, will they make a ton of money.

Soon, this phenomenon will not be limited to Hollywood. Just think of our own Todd Austin, former treasurer for Northumberland County and son of longtime Port Hope politician Rick. He shouldn’t worry about the 29 charges of theft, forgery, fraud and breach of trust he is facing. If he is convicted and has to go to jail, he can sell his story to the media. And, he can do the same thing as Paris Hilton – write a book. There is no downside anymore, Todd.

But it is the spectacle that creates this news. Amid a crush of flashing cameras and helicopters buzzing overhead, Paris Hilton walked calmly through the crowd, jogging the last few steps as she spotted her mother. Displaying the kind of journalistic professionalism the situation warranted anxious videographers broke through the police barriers to horde around the family’s SUV to capture this magic moment. Not wanting to forget her fans, Hilton blew kisses.

This story takes away from all the bad things like low level radioactive waste, Shopper’s Drug Mart applications, fountains, ice rinks, drunks in Victoria Park, and dead soldiers being driven down highways. Yes, these are the salad days of summer. We can stop worrying and start enjoying: BBQs, cold beer and a patio. Paris Hilton’s story is like ice cream on top of a piece of homemade pie.

But, it is not all fluff and fancy for Paris.

“This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I have had a lot of time to reflect, and have already learned a bitter, but important lesson from this experience,” she said in a prepared press release.

No doubt. Having served 23 of her 45-day sentence is plenty of hard time to do some soul searching. And, it has energized us all to see she survived. The American justice system has done its work, reforming this party girl. We can feel a lot better now.

So, thank goodness for Paris Hilton. And, if we are all lucky enough, we may get to Canada Day without any obnoxious bad news. It would truly be sad to lose this euphoria to something silly like First Nations’ protests planned for later this week. How insolent of them to block major highways and train tracks on the busiest Fridays of the year as people travel on-mass to their cottages or start their vacations. This is being done to protest the lack of progress on land claims and other issues the federal government has failed to address like poverty, clean drinking water, poor health care and the list goes on. Yup, it will just ruin everything.

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