Upon first glance, the image of Paris Hilton being led away in handcuffs isn’t so unusual, given her affinity for making sex videos. As a true artist, she is obligated to explore new frontiers, even though most of her Internet fans might agree there are few left.
But recent events might throw a dark new twist – dare I say, a sordid wrinkle – into the Paris Hilton oeuvre. It seems Los Angeles city prosecutors will ask a judge to revoke her probation because she was caught in February driving with a suspended license. If the judge agrees, she could spend 90 days in jail.
Some of this depends on the judge. If it’s, say, Judge Larry Seidlin, the man who presided over the Anna Nicole Smith case and who is taking lots of meetings in Hollywood these days, Paris could avoid incarceration simply by telling him a sob story. He likes to sob.
If it isn’t Seidlin, if it’s someone who believes that a celebrity who pleaded no-contest to alcohol-related reckless driving in September — only to follow up that incident by getting nabbed speeding along Sunset Boulevard in a blue Bentley Continental GTC at night with the headlights off and a suspended license — does not deserve preferential treatment, then Paris may have to check into the Graybar Hotel, which is not affiliated with the Hilton chain.
To her legions of fans, the image of their idol being stripped, cavity-searched, scrubbed with pumice soap and deloused by sadistic female prison ogresses, all while holding her little dog in her purse, might be too much to bear. After all, her entire reputation is built on dignity.
Of course, life in stir may not be as bad for Paris as some might think. It seemed to agree with Martha Stewart. Remember, Martha didn’t really complain that much about her actual time in prison, but rather about the discomfort she experienced afterward while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. While in custody, Martha simply employed the same survival tactics she used in the business world, and in fact, she sliced up fewer dirtbags in the prison showers than she does on a typical day in the boardroom.
Paris could conceivably experience this same dynamic. But she will have to toughen up first. Trading tabloid barbs with Nicole Richie or exchanging slaps with Shanna Moakler at Hyde over a Greek shipping heir pales in comparison to engaging Maggie the Toothless Cannibal in an eye-gouging contest over the last dinner roll.
Living with few creature comforts will not throw Paris for a loop, as it might for some. Remember, she had to pluck chickens and milk cows in “The Simple Life.” In fact, in another episode from Season Four she and Nicole threw a surprise commitment ceremony for unwed lesbian mothers. Inside a women’s prison, those varied experiences may prove beneficial, so long as she doesn’t become confused and try to milk unwed lesbian mothers.
“The Simple Life,” although purportedly unscripted, is largely staged. Prison won’t be. That’s when Paris will really have to think on her feet. Example I: What if the brutish matron of the guards has Paris brought to her office for a private intensive on the importance of respecting authority. Which earrings should she wear? Example II: Will the prison snitch back off if you throw a cosmo in her face? Example III: Those large coils of razor wire atop the cement walls. Are they sort of like the velvet ropes outside a nightclub? And if so, where’s the big guy with the clipboard?
Probably the most significant adjustment Paris will have to make behind bars is the lack of men. In addition to Stavros Niarchos, she has been romantically linked to Paris Latsis, Brandon Davis, Josh Henderson, Brian Urlacher, Matt Leinart and many others. Clearly, Paris enjoys the company of men.
Yet she may be imprisoned for up to 90 days with nothing but women. If that happens, she has three options: 1) Request to be placed in a cell block that is patrolled by male guards, and preferably, male guards who happen to be either professional athletes or sons of Greek shipping magnates. 2) Many female inmates look like men, so perhaps with a little work, they can be made to look like somebody she would actually sleep with and then dump. 3) Conjugal visits, Paris’ preferred of the three choices, since they most closely reflect her current dating habits.
While she’s in prison, she’ll probably have to work. Again, she is not unaccustomed to demeaning tasks after performing pregnancy tests on cattle, cleaning rooms at a motel, emptying airplane lavatories and recording the single “Stars Are Blind.”
The major difference before prison is that Paris was compensated handsomely for everything she did. Inside prison, she’ll get pennies per hour for folding laundry or making license plates. The money she earns during her entire 90-day stretch won’t even be enough to pay the cover charge at Shag. Fortunately, she has money put aside.
That brings us to life after prison. The purpose of incarceration is threefold: One, to punish. Two, to rehabilitate. Three, to protect society.
On the first point, I think 90 days in jail will send a message to Paris that she can’t act like a spoiled socialite forever, or at least for the 90 days she’s in jail. On the second, I’m sure she’ll be a better person after serving her sentence and won’t even consider violating her probation again, unless she’s really craving an In-N-Out burger.
The third point is the most problematic, because as long as there are parties and paparazzi, there will be Paris, which means society will always be vulnerable as long as she is allowed to walk, or drive, the streets.
Paris Hilton coming out of a restaurant. Paris Hilton cracking up a car. Paris Hilton breaking up with one guy and hooking up with another. Paris Hilton on TV, on CD, on DVD.
With Paris free, all of us are in a kind of prison, with no hope of parole.