Friday, May 25, 2007
If We Have to Hear About Hilton
I don’t seek celebrity news and gossip, and I avoid most traditional news outlets, but I can’t avoid knowing about the latest saga of Paris Hilton. It could be infuriating if it weren’t so amazing. Maybe she’s really got the heart of Mother Theresa, or maybe she’s the antichrist in Gucci. I don’t know, and — until the day that Paris Hilton rescues my grandmother from drowning or is elected head-of-state, forms an army and organizes mass genocide — I don’t care.
Still, this celebrity stuff has a way of finding us all. Even if you politely ask the clowns to leave, the mainstream circus sets up the big top right outside your door and parades the screaming chimps along your porch rails until you pay attention. Somewhere, on an island off the coast of Indonesia, there’s a man in a loincloth eating roasted insects who knows that Britney Spears shaved her head.
Like Arnold the Governator, I also feel that I have “more important things to do,” than to closely follow the misdemeanors of the rich and famous. Some people think they deserve it, but I feel like it’s bad karma to revel in the low points of someone else’s life. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted press coverage during my early twenties.
But if we have to know about it, here is a very serious suggestion for the entourage of Paris Hilton or those in charge of her legal fate. If the point of her jail sentence is to make her feel like someone who doesn’t have millions of dollars in a bank account, it won’t be effective. Until the day that Paris Hilton is magically transformed into a poverty-stricken racial minority or someone born to a homeless mother or someone sexually abused by foster parents, she’ll never know how it feels to live like “the other half.”
Instead of trying to erase her fame and fortune with a 45-day jail sentence, why not put it to good use for a cause that serves her community and the world? Here is a recommendation for alternative sentencing that would do just that: Require Ms. Hilton to become a spokesperson for environmental building practices, greenhouse gas reduction and clean, renewable energy for one year. Just imagine the world stage you could create for spreading awareness of these serious issues.
First, Ms. Hilton could do this by spending her money to build a zero-energy hotel and conference center, featuring green building materials and the latest solar technology for heating and cooling. You could require that she organize renewable energy rallies to help pay for the project and mandate that a percentage of the profits return to the community. Second, she could be required to use only biofueled transportation. In fact, once she does return to driving, I know someone who can set her up a Porsche to run on 100 percent ethanol. But then she’d probably have to fund an ethanol station in Hollywood to fuel it.
There are some celebrities out there, like Darryl Hannah, who have chosen to focus their limelight in a way that also serves others. Rather than spanking those who don’t by trying to make them feel poor, doesn’t it make more sense to help them direct their considerable resources and popularity in positive ways? Rather than wishing the mainstream media outlets would give more attention to critical world issues and less to celebrity hairstyles, why not commandeer one of their favorite targets and do it for them?