Critics, always in need of finding larger social implications, have misguidedly written thousands of words on how the ascendance of Paris Hilton means our culture is now so addicted to celebrity that we are willing to reward people with fame who've done nothing to earn it. Last summer, an Associated Press writer even diagnosed the condition with the coinage "PAC"--for "pre-achievement celebrity." But it's hardly a new grievance. Andy Warhol marked the same phenomenon in the '80s. And Homer took notice of it well before then, having written, in the "Iliad," "How vain, without the merit, is the name."
But if critics have correctly diagnosed the problem, they've undersold it's severity by pegging it to the wrong poster girl. The mystery isn't why Paris Hilton can become famous for having done nothing (she did, after all, allegedly make out with former Madonna girl-toy Ingrid Casaras in a bar). The true mystery is how someone like the charmless Nicole Richie can become famous for nothing more than being the friend of someone who's famous for nothing.
It's all a matter of perspective.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
I realize that I am late on finding this article that Matt Labash published last Friday. Matt, an admitted reality TV junkie, rips into Nicole Richie from Fox's The Simple Life with his trademark sardonic wit. Here is a sample: