The recent media storm over the alleged hacking of Paris Hilton's Sidekick 2 confirmed the hotel heiress' almost supernatural ability to attract attention, but what I want to know is, WHY? The issues at hand in this story are not all that compelling, even on a slow news day.
-She's careless. Check.
-She has a lot of celebrity friends. Check.
-She likes to take pictures of herself naked. Check.
We as a nation know these things.
Of course, the larger issue here is one of privacy and the possibly compromised integrity of mobile devices like the Sidekick and Blackberry that depend on information from centralized servers. But without Paris Hilton to sex it up, this is just a sidebar story in Wired. I lost my Palm Pilot a couple weeks ago, and you don't hear anybody talking about that, do you? They should! That thing was filled with TONS of sensitive information. Usernames, passwords, access codes" why, any unscrupulous character can now just log RIGHT in to my Amazon account and change my wish list. Just like that. If somebody's feeling like a bad boy, they could go to Netflix and look at my ENTIRE QUEUE, all laid out in front of them like a lifetime of family secrets. Full disclosure: Yes, I did rent New York Minute, but A.O Scott of the Times called it, "polished and bouncy, without being overly mawkish or unduly obnoxious." That man does not suffer fools gladly, I tell you, and if it's good enough for the head film critic of the New York Times, then it's good enough for me!
Another thing: my Palm Pilot contained the numbers of people who know SALMA HAYEK. That's right. If Johnny the Palm V Desperado were to call up the right guy and say, "Hey, Buddy. You think you could give me Salma Hayek's phone number?" and that friend were to comply, there would be hell to pay. I may never again be allowed to hold in my trust the numbers of people who also know famous people.
Suffice it to say, this information is already floating around out there. I'm just trying to let the public know that when stuff gets heavy, I had nothing to do with it. Also: I am not some creepy Olsen twins stalker. I am just a big fan of the great comic talent Eugene Levy, whom A.O. Scott calls, "reliably funny."
All of this Paris Hilton stuff really hit me hard today when I received a casual IM from a friend. You all have this friend. He spends most of his day on Limewire and underground P2P networks digging up media you never thought existed. He said, in a voice I have decided sounds like a pirate, "Do you need Paris Hilton's address book?" I paused to consider this question. Need is a relative construct. Do I need to call Lindsay Lohan and report that I found her Amex Black covered with low-grade bathroom crank in the men's stall at my local Arby's? No. Do I want to call Ashlee Simpson and tell her that, yeah, she's had some tough times, but to stick with it, kid, because there's still a few of us out here who are rootin' for ya! Yes I do.
At that moment I realized why Paris Hilton compels us like no other: We want to see her succeed. When her address book reflects a life replete with train wrecks-in waiting, fallen starlets, ex-drug addicts, and Fred Durst, we are reminded that making something out of nothing is the American Way. Paris Hilton cannot possibly fall farther or endure more degradation than she already has, so we as a public now want to push her back toward the great light that is success and admiration. She may be a tall, skinny, blonde millionaire, but in many ways Paris Hilton is a lot like your spunky next-door neighbor. After all, who among us hasn't bought the infamous sex tape and spliced in our own night-vision solo sex footage, carefully dubbing in Vin Diesel's lines from The Chronicles of Riddick as our own, just as a way of saying, "I'm right there with you, Paris. We're gonna make it after all."?
It's clear that we haven't heard the last of our fair Simple Life-er, and if one thing is certain in this crazy land we call America, it's that if Paris Hilton didn't exist, we'd have to create a remarkably life-like sex doll in her image so that horny rich dudes could go on the internet and buy her, then pretend they had a hot girlfriend for about 30 seconds each night before stuffing her back in the closet, coated with shame and other fluids.
We'll always have Paris.
Neel has a new OC Review column so check that out if you're a fan. Also, check some hotlinks, nerd.