Pop Culture

Jail bad? It’s just another way to get publicity

Jail isn’t so bad, when you think about it. I’ve never been, so I can’t really speak from first-hand knowledge.

But I have watched a lot of TV over the years, and I believe real-life jail falls somewhere between “Oz” and the cell in “The Andy Griffith Show” where Otis the Mayberry town drunk used to sleep off benders.

There are three squares a day, especially in the latter example, where an inmate on a typical day might feast on Aunt Bee’s homemade fried chicken and blueberry pie. There is a bed, a bathroom area and usually a chatty roommate to keep you company. I don’t believe most jails in the United States have wireless Internet yet — especially the Supermax prison in Colorado, which is a little behind the times if you ask me — but you know it’s coming. You can’t stand in the way of technology.

Paris Hilton would be advised to remember all this, and more. She began her 3-week jail sentence on Monday for violating terms of her probation. She will be held in an 8-by-12 cell in the Los Angeles County’s detention center for women in Lynwood, Calif. That may sound bleak, but you give Paris a few swatches of fabric, a Restoration Hardware catalog and a little encouragement and that place is going to look really cute, mark my words.

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    Matt Sayles / AP

    Paris Hilton

    Paris Hilton

    The highs and lows of the life of the hotel heiress.

  • Image: Paris Hilton Promotes Her New Show "The World According To Paris" At Kitson At Santa Monica Place

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    Back to reality

    Paris Hilton promotes her new docu-series on Oxygen, "The World According to Paris," at Kitson at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, Calif., on May 27, 2011.

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    The ruff stuff

    Hilton is pictured with a tiny dog in her show "The World According to Paris."

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    Quick entry

    Hilton arrives onstage on a motorcycle for a taping of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios oin Burbank, Calif., on May 27, 2011.

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  • Image: Premiere Of Oxygen's New Docu-Series "The World According To Paris" - Arrivals

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    The gang's all here

    Hilton, left, joins her parents Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton and sister Nicky Hilton at the premiere of "The World According to Paris" at Tropicana Bar at The Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles on May 17, 2011.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Josh Duhamel & American Red Cross' "Run For Red Cross/Japan"

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    Footwork for charity

    Hilton, second from left, and her sister Nicky take part in the Josh Duhamel and American Red Cross "Run For Red Cross/Japan" in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 27, 2011.

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    Well heeled celebrity

    Hilton displays shoe models from her new collection during a news conference in Mexico City on March 30, 2011. Hilton was in Mexico to promote her new collection.

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    Special protection

    Hilton arrives at the 18th annual Race to Erase MS Gala in Los Angeles on April 29, 2011. The event benefits the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.

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    Too close for comfort

    Cy Waits, , left, boyfriend of Hilton, reacts as he is grabbed by an assailant while walking toward a court appearance with the heiress in Los Angeles on April 27, 2011. An unidentified man was restrained by Hilton's bodyguards and detained.

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    More trouble behind her

    Hilton talks with her attorney, David Chesnoff, before her hearing in Clark County court in Las Vegas on Sept. 20, 2010. Hilton pleaded guilty to reduced charges in her August cocaine arrest. Under the terms of a plea deal worked out with prosecutors, the heiress will serve a year of probation and avoid a felony conviction.

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    Mug for the cameras

    Hilton is shown in a booking photo released Aug. 28, 2010, by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department after being arrested on drug charges.

    Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP / Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP
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    What a Tease

    Hilton and boyfriend Cy Waits attend the launch of her fragrance Tease at MyStudio in Hollywood, Calif., on Aug. 10, 2010.

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  • Paris Hilton

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    'Paris, Not France'

    Hilton's life is examined in the 2009 documentary "Paris, Not France," a 68-minute film that chronicles Hilton's much-publicized professional successes and personal struggles. Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton.

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  • Paris Hilton

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    See you in court

    In July 2009, Hilton found herself in federal court in Miami, accused of failing to adequately promote her 2006 movie, "Pledge This!" The actress insisted she did her job.

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    Seeking a Middle Eastern pal

    Dressed in traditional Middle Eastern style, Hilton attended a press conference promoting her reality show, "Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF." In the show, the heiress searches for a friend in the Middle East.

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  • Paris Hilton, Doug Reinhardt

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    You smell good

    Hilton and then-boyfriend Doug Reinhardt attended the 37th annual FiFi awards, honoring those in the fragrance industry, in May 2009. The couple broke up in June after six months of dating.

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    Not 'Hottie' at the box office

    Hilton starred with Joel David Moore in the 2008 romantic comedy,"The Hottie and the Nottie." The film, which was a major box office disaster and received extremely negative reviews from critics, won Hilton the 2009 Razzie Award for worst actress and worst screen couple with Moore.

    Regent Releasing via AP / Regent Releasing via AP
  • Paris Hilton Records Music Video

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    Vote for me

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain likened then-Sen. Barack Obama to Hilton as far as celebrity status. Hilton responded with a spoof video, "Paris for President," in which she called McCain old and wrinkly and announced her own presidential campaign.

    SwagHouse Media via Getty Images / SwagHouse Media via Getty Images
  • Paris Hilton leaves the Los Angeles County Correctional Facility in Lynwood, California

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    Free at last

    Paris Hilton leaves the Los Angeles County Correctional Facility in Lynwood, Calif., on Tuesday, June 26. 2007. Hilton, who commanded as much attention behind bars as on the Hollywood party scene, regained her freedom after serving three weeks in jail for violating probation in a drunk-driving case.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Paris Hilton, Rick Hilton

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    Do not pass go

    Hilton leaves the Los Angeles Municipal Court Metropolitan branch with her father Rick on Friday, May 4, 2007 after a judge sentenced the hotel heriess to 45 days in jail for violating her probation.

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  • US celebrity socialite Paris Hilton pose

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    Time to get paid

    Hilton knows what time it is while posing during a news conference introducing her new line of timepieces at the BaselWorld 2007 watch fair in Basel, Switzerland, on Saturday, April 14.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie

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    'Simple' pleasures

    Hilton, left, and Nicole Richie reunited to discuss another season of their reality television show "The Simple Life" on Monday, April 9, 2007 in Los Angeles. After famously feuding and filming their parts separately last season, the celebutantes were reunited as camp counselors for the show's fifth installment

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  • Complex Magazine 5th Anniversary Party

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    Paris loves to accessorize

    Hilton and her then-beau, actor Josh Henderson, arrive at the Complex Magazine 5th Anniversary party at club Area in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 10, 2007.

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  • Vienna Opera Ball

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    Having a ball

    Hilton attends the Vienna Opera Ball on Thursday, Feb. 15. 2007. The ball is Austria’s society event of the year and Hilton was invited to be the guest of Richard Lugner, a 74-year-old married construction magnate who invites a celebrity each year. His previous guests included Geri Halliwell, Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra.

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    Booked

    In 2006, Hilton published a book, "Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose." It featured more than 300 photos of the heiress.

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    Pulling back

    Hilton's then-boyfriend Stavros Niarchos leads the way at a Nov. 2005 cocktail reception to highlight diamonds from DeGrisogono. Yet Hilton's ring finger was diamondless, having ended her engagement to Paris Latsis two months earlier.

    Sipa Press / Sipa Press
  • Halloween Mansion Party Hosted By Hayley Duff

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    Bunny power

    In a huge sartorial stretch, Hilton tries on a bunny outfit at the 2005 Halloween Mansion Party hosted by Hayley Duff.

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  • The Hilton sisters go out to the cinema in Hollywood

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    Paris times two

    Paris Hilton and her then-fiance, Paris Latsis, smile as they leave the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood after catching a late night movie. Alas, the good times were not to last.

    Splash News / Splash News
  • Launch Party of Pioneer Automotive Navigation Systems - Los Angeles

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    Having more fun

    Paris Hilton and Kimberly Stewart, daughter of Rod Stewart, attend a Los Angeles party. Stewart is one of Hilton's longtime pals, and reportedly was her first choice as a co-star on Fox's "The Simple Life."

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    Hungry?

    An image from Hilton's TV spot for Carl's Jr. The burger chain's new ad campaign features Hilton in a revealing one-piece black swimsuit, sensuously washing a Bentley. It plays on her trademark phrase, "That's hot." But some critics found the ad too hot, saying it shouldn't appear on television.

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  • US hotels heiress Paris Hilton poses at photocall on the Carlton Hotel pier during 58th Cannes Film Festival

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    Some like it hot

    Paris Hilton poses at a photocall on the Carlton Hotel pier during the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. She visited the festival to promote her starring role in "National Lampoon's Pledge This!" She would later be taken to court for allegedly failing to promote the film.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Paris Hilton portrays Barbara Eden as Jeannie on episode of American Dreams

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    Almost Eden

    Paris Hilton portrays actress Barbara Eden as Jeannie from the '60s TV series "I Dream of Jeannie" in a 2005 episode of NBC's "American Dreams." Eden couldn't show her navel on the original show, a broadcast policy clearly gone by the time Paris arrived on TV.

    NBC via Reuters / NBC via Reuters
  • US socialite Paris Hilton arrives for The Young Hot Hollywood Style Awards in Hollywood

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    Going brunette

    Paris Hilton arrives for the Young Hot Hollywood Style Awards in April of 2005. The party was hosted by "US Weekly" magazine and singer Jessica Simpson. We're not sure what prompted the change in hair color, but perhaps Simpson already had the blonde spot locked up.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    All smiles

    Paris Hilton takes a photo of herself with a fan as she arrives for the European premiere of her film, "House of Wax." Hilton's boyfriend at the time, Paris Latsis, proposed to her after she returned from three weeks doing publicity in Europe. It didn't last.

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    Sister act

    Paris Hilton, left, and her sister Nicky Hilton leave the Luca Luca Fall 2005 fashion show in February. The two have been seen together less frequently as Paris' career has skyrocketed, but both are still enjoying plenty of time in the spotlight.

    AP / AP
  • HILTON RICHARDS

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    All in the family

    Paris Hilton poses with her parents Rick Hilton and Kathy Richards, and her brother Baron, left, at the "House of Wax" premiere in Los Angeles.

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    In the flesh

    Paris Hilton stars as Paige Edwards in Warner Bros.' "House of Wax," released the spring of 2005. In the film, she and her co-stars wander into a town filled with wax figures which turn out to be the wax-coated corpses of killers' victims.

    Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.
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    Field hands

    Paris Hilton brings along friend Nicole Richie, right, to work on a dairy farm during an episode of "The Simple Life." The Fox reality show, which exposed the duo to the workings of small-town life, further propelled Hilton to stardom.

    Fox / Fox
  • CARTER HILTON

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    Nick of time

    Paris Hilton rests in the arms of then-boyfriend Nick Carter, of the Backstreet Boys, as they watch the second half of the NBA All-Star game in Feb. 2004. The two later broke up.

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    Puppy love

    Paris Hilton poses with her dog Tinkerbell. The heiress with the mostest caught flack in 2005 when plans were briefly revealed to ditch the chihuahua for a cuter dog. Ah, fashion.

    AP / AP

However, it isn’t the day-to-day routine of confinement that is the attraction here for Paris Hilton, it’s the aftermath. When she finally finishes her stretch, she will have street cred, which is the one thing on Earth she can’t buy, although don’t think one of her minions hasn’t contacted Sotheby’s to inquire.

Despite the efforts of her beleaguered publicists — the fact that Elliot “Mintz” rhymes with “prince” is not coincidental, in my opinion — Paris is played. She’s not yesterday’s news, or the day before’s news, but the day-before-that’s news.  The whole party girl thing wore thin a long time ago. She had another spat with Nicole Richie. She comforted Lindsey Lohan after a meltdown at Hyde. She made another sex video ... OK, I’ll look at it a few times, but then explain to me how it’s different than the others?

Jail may turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to Paris Hilton.

Everything old is news again

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    Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

    Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the "Let's Be Cops," red carpet, Selena Gomez is immortalized in wax and more.

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    Idris Elba

    Actor Idris Elba seen on the set of :A Hundred Streets" on Aug. 8 in London.

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    Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass

    Actors Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass arrive at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Nick Kroll

    Actor Nick Kroll arrives at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson

    Actors Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson arrive at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    James D'Arcy

    James D'Arcy arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Actress Julianne Hough arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Hannah Simone

    Actress Hannah Simone arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Nina Dobrev

    Actress Nina Dobrev arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Nicole Murphy, Brandy Norwood

    TV personality Nicole Murphy and singer Brandy Norwood attend The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

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    Tara Reid

    Actress Tara Reid attends The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

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    James Wirt, Julia Stiles

    Actors James Wirt and Julia Stiles stand on stage during the opening night curtain call for "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

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    AnnaSophia Robb

    Actress AnnaSophia Robb attends the opening night performance of "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

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    Selena Gomez

    A boy gives the wax figure of Selena Gomez a kiss at the unveiling of the new new, never-before-seen Selena Gomez wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York on Aug. 7 in New York.

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    Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show at Z100 Studio on Aug. 7 in New York.

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    Michael Fassbender

    Actor Michael Fassbender attends "Meet the Actor" at Apple Store Soho on Aug. 7 in New York.

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    Mickey Rourke

    Actor Mickey Rourke is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Jordana Brewster

    Actress Jordana Brewster waves outisde of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam attends G. Garvin Live at Buckhead Theatre on Aug. 7 in Atlanta.

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    Actress Reese Witherspoon is seen on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

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    Singer Miley Cyrus performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

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    Melanie Griffith

    Actress Melanie Griffith attends a press conference during the 67th Locarno Film Festival on Aug. 7 in Locarno, Switzerland.

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    Singer Lily Allen performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

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    The stars of "Expendables 3," from left, Kellan Lutz, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes attend "Expendables 3" at Cinema UGC Normandie on Aug. 7 in Paris.

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    Robert Pattinson

    Actor Robert Pattinson speaks during the Meet The Filmmakers event for "The Rover" at Apple Store, Regent Street on Aug. 7 in London.

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    Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman

    Actors Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman are spotted filming Bateman's "The Family Fang" in Westchester, New York, on Aug. 7.

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    Akon

    Grammy-nominated artist Akon, who is the founder of Akon Lighting Africa Project, discusses at the US-Africa Leaders Summit "Africa: New Parnership Models for Growth" news conference, held in Washington, DC, on Aug. 7, the progress that African heads of state have made.

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After serving her time, she’ll have new stories to tell. She’ll have a whole new perspective on life.

She’ll be news again!

And that’s the most important aspect of being a celebrity. Although many complain about paparazzi snapping their photos as they emerge from restaurants and nightclubs, or about anecdotes on the Internet or in gossip rags about canoodling with this squeeze or that, the fact is they would become absolutely apoplectic if they received no attention at all.

This, I’m afraid, was happening to Paris Hilton. Although it’s no laughing matter that she has earned this jail time by getting behind the wheel of a car when she shouldn’t have been — remember, she was busted in September on a DUI after failing a field sobriety test — her star was fading quickly. Before the judge handed down her jail sentence recently, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim had more star wattage than Paris Hilton. Together, I mean, not separately. I tend to exaggerate, but I’m not out of my mind.

After jail, Paris will be asked to appear on talk shows, she’ll get invited to parties rather than having to crash them, she might even be asked to serve as a celebrity judge on “American Idol,” although let’s hope she and Paula Abdul don’t drive to the show together.

All in all, jail will be just the ticket for Paris. In Hollywood, jail is the new rehab.

With that in mind, here are five other celebrities who could use a visit to the slammer to polish their celebrity credentials:

Lindsay LohanAlthough she’s a bit frail for prison life, Lindsay’s star is so on the wane that she should probably risk it. A lot of people in Hollywood think she’s a very talented actress, but she’s not much of a box office draw; her “Georgia Rule” took in just over $5 million on opening weekend. Imagine how much more attention the picture might have gotten if the press junket had been held inside the visitors’ room at the L.A. county detention center for women. Of course, there’s always the chance that the warden could send her a scathing letter complaining that her wild and irresponsible behavior is jeopardizing her job at the prison laundry. But I’m betting that Lindsay would be humbled by her incarceration and tone down her act, especially if they throw her in solitary without a Blackberry. With a little luck, maybe she’ll make the cell block A-list.

Britney SpearsShe probably should be in jail right now for fraud after charging fans $125 per ticket, making them wait three hours at the House of Blues in San Diego and then lip-synching her way through a 15-minutes performance. Of course, there are those who might argue that she should be in the hoosegow for her entire body of work rather than one show, and their point has merit. But the bottom line is that Britney is a mess and she needs something to goose her career. One advantage of her going to jail now is that guards will look at her shaved head and assume that she already has been deloused. A note of caution: She went out on the town not long ago and some photos of her were taken that became very popular on the Internet because she went au naturel in a particular area. But this would be a women’s prison, they don’t have paparazzi there, and the attention she would receive after such a stunt might make her look back and appreciate the days when all she had to please was K-Fed.

Donald TrumpHe would need two cells, one for him and one for his hair. Ah, just kidding. Bunk beds would do. If anybody really needed to be brought down to Earth, it’s The Donald. At first glance, it might appear that Trump would have difficulty in a jailhouse environment, since he likes to give orders, and that might not sit well with the Aryan brotherhood and the ethnic gangs, not to mention the guards’ union. But something tells me that in no time at all Trump will have figured out a way to knock down the prison and have luxury condominiums built in its place. And when he got out of jail, he’d be in demand as a motivational speaker who explains how you can use your skills as a white-collar criminal to get ahead in the business world.

O.J. SimpsonPutting O.J. Simpson in jail. Hmmm. Now there’s an idea that just might catch on with the general public. Of course, it would take some convincing to get him to go, because he’s spent so much time and energy trying to stay out of there. But he keeps making news on the outside for all the wrong reasons. Recently he was thrown out of a steakhouse in Kentucky because the owner refused to serve him. And that’s just the incident you hear about; I bet it happens at the Wal-Mart, the local Ben & Jerry’s, even at Denny’s. If he were to go to jail, he’d be around guys like himself who would appreciate his accomplishments. He could be surrounded by men who agree with his contention that the police are corrupt and that evidence gathering is flawed. In fact, if he found himself in a nurturing environment of acceptance and understanding, he could remain there quite comfortably for years and years and years.

Jessica SimpsonDoes anybody know what she does? She seems to be in the news for dating John Mayer, which immediately makes it obvious that he could probably use a little contemplative time behind bars as well. And she is noticed for her hair, which used to be long and blond but now is long and brunette. Stop the freaking presses. Perhaps if Jessica spent a little time in the big house she’d be able to give reporters an answer to the question, “What have you done since ‘Dukes of Hazzard’?” In fact, there are plenty of folks who believe the law calls for a mandatory jail sentence for something like “Dukes of Hazzard.”

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