I don’t know what pleases me most. The fact that The Rock is reportedly leaving his wife or that Paris Hilton is now behind bars.
OK. Don’t start clogging up my mailbox. I’m really sorry that The Rock’s marriage is busting up. That’s not even funny. A girl, however, can dream about being his pebble mama can’t she?
But even though I’m glad Hilton is now in the slammer and will hopefully engage in some R&R — redemption and reflection — that’s really no laughing matter either.
Hilton, 26, turned herself in late Sunday night just a few hours after attending the MTV Movie Awards where host Sarah Silverman made the hotel heiress the butt of numerous jokes. Prior to the show, Hilton told reporters on the red carpet that she was scared, but ready to serve her time. She also said that she hoped she could serve as “an example to other young people when they make decisions.”
That’s one of those jokes you can’t laugh at — particularly if she really believes that.
The charms of ParisI’ve met Paris Hilton a few times. The first time was right before “The Simple Life” — the reality show starring Hilton and her BFF Nicole Richie — hit the air and became appointment TV. I had no idea who she was then but she seemed fairly harmless, standing alone behind a potted plant in a hotel corridor chomping on carrot sticks and celery.
That night our paths crossed again at a Fox network party. Hilton and Richie crashed the mattress I was sharing with some friends of mine from the Television Critics Association. Once the heiress and her bud plopped their well-toned derrieres down, giddiness ensued. After a few moments of hushed amazement, one of the critics asked Richie if Hilton was wearing underwear.
“Of course she is,” Richie responded. “I saw her put them on.”
This is why critics shouldn’t drink and why celebrities should never mix and mingle with them drunk or sober.
Shortly after that enlightening exchange, I saw Hilton dancing by herself in a corner. Thinking that she’d refuse, I invited her to come dance with a bunch of us. Much to my surprise she came over and shook her narrow little groove thing for about 10 seconds before bidding us adieu with a wink and a wave.
While I didn’t think she was hot, she was pretty darn cool.
Snubbed by a socialiteThe second meeting was about two years later at another soiree. By this time the carrot-eating girl who put her undies on in front of her friends was the Paris Hilton. She’d become this media whore who never missed a party, perpetually charmed the paparazzi and had essentially become famous for being the star of a lame reality show and for not knowing when to leave the party.
On that occasion, Hilton, sans Richie, entered the club with an entourage of three. She seemed oblivious to everyone and everything save for the cell phone attached to her ear. She was so busy chatting with whomever that she didn’t even acknowledge me trying not to acknowledge her.
I was so adversely affected by that snub that I really considered hiring a therapist.
It’s kind of hard, however, not to fall under Hilton’s spell. As she stood there, people initially resisted the urge to throw their tape recorders in her face. As a few critics started to make their initial descent, Hilton slipped into the ladies room. When she re-emerged the cat-and-mouse game with the press started again.
While still on her cell, Hilton dispatched one of her assistants to fetch her a glass of some clear liquid from the bar. But here’s the trip part. When the girl returned, Hilton actually made her hold the glass while she took sporadic sips out of it.
That’s the image I’m replaying in my head as I think about Hilton sitting in a 12-by-8 county jail cell in Lynwood, Calif. where she’ll have no cell or no one to hold her drink.
How will she deal?
I’d like to feel sorry for her, but you know what? She’s in jail for willingly violating the terms of her probation. It’s not like she was wrongly accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Plus, we need a break from her. She has consistently flaunted her wealth, her dogs, her numerous fiancées and her various hair extensions in our faces for far too long.
But we’re going to have to wait on that break. Unfortunately, Hilton’s fame will likely increase tenfold now that she’s serving time.
Regardless of the length of her sentence — 45 or 23 days — we’ll be inundated with daily updates on Hilton’s life behind bars. What she had to eat, how she looks in orange (the color of her jumpsuit), who came to visit and who didn’t come to visit. Plus, you know that despite all the measures in place to ensure her privacy, someone is going to get a cell phone photo of the heiress and sell it for thousands of dollars.
Lessons to learnAll we can hope at this point is that she’s not the only one who learns a lesson from this experience. Let’s pray that her parents — Rick and Kathy — who were conveniently absent when their daughter was getting engaged every two weeks, partying up a storm, getting busted on tape using the N-word and purportedly driving while under the influence, get a clue, too.
It doesn’t take an optometrist to see that discipline wasn’t a key component in Hilton’s upbringing. And even though she’s an adult now, at some point good parents are going to step in and say enough already before she hurts herself or someone else’s child.
I hope that her so-called friends — those who enable her irresponsible behavior by letting her drive when she’s had too much to drink — are scared straight, too. If not they’ll be rehabbing in the county jail and not some posh facility in Malibu.
And I hope all of us who routinely poke fun at Hilton realize how much trouble she’s actually in. It’s one thing to engage in destructive behavior because you’re wealthy and thereby entitled. But it’s quite another thing to play with fire just to get attention.
That’s what she does and it’s very sad. And unless she has some sort of major epiphany, or unless one of her cellmates drops some wisdom on her while she’s on lockdown, that’s what she’ll continue to do once she’s sprung.
Paris, if you use this time to become that fine example you talked about, make some new friends in the joint and promise to lay low once you get out, I’ll be more than happy to hold my own glass up and toast you for being a woman of your word.
Miki Turner is a freelance TV producer/writer in Los Angeles. She can be reached at .