Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Paris Hilton outs herself

Can she ever go back?

I have heard the excuse before, but I've always doubted it, whether it was being offered on behalf of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, or Jayne Mansfield. People would say, “Oh, she's really not that dumb. It's just a part she's playing. I hear she's actually really smart.” Perhaps it's just barely conceivable that a woman with a sharp intellect would make a pragmatic decision to present herself as an empty-headed bimbo for commercial purposes, but isn't it simpler to assume that she really is an exploited idiot?

I confess that I had made this simpler assumption about Paris Hilton, whom I considered famous mainly for being famous. The gold-plated last name and above-average looks didn't hurt, but please, don't try to tell me what a savvy businesswoman she is. Except—

Now she's unleashed her wit against John McCain (with a quick but gentle sideswipe at Obama). I would have expected a battle of wits between Hilton and McCain to be a fairly even contest, the wind whistling through her head while the rusty gears lock up in his. But she mops the floor with him. (Poor choice of metaphor: I'm quite certain Paris has no personal knowledge of floor mopping.)

Is it a trick? A gimmick ginned up by a battery of gag writers? We don't know if there is a Svengali behind the scenes or not. Nevertheless, Paris Hilton has outed herself as a smart woman. If she's only playing a part, then she's a better actress than people had given her credit for in the past. Was this wise? She may have destroyed her career as a piece of vapid eye candy. It's a high-risk game she's playing, and she may not be able to put the genie back in the bottle.

And poor John McCain. With the keen judgment and political dexterity we have come to expect from him, he has alienated Paris Hilton's family (maxed-out contributors to the McCain campaign who are now pissed off) and unleashed the powers of her long-idling brain. You dumb bastard, J. Sidney III.

We tremble in fear and anticipation.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


Anonymous said...

There is a long history of smart, or at least reasonably intelligent, women playing dumb. Read some Anita Loos. Remember, for a long time women didn't have much opportunity to use their brains except in manipulating men. If playing dumb worked, then a smart woman would play dumb.

Look at Eva Gabor in the old TV series Green Acres. She played the ditz to the hilt. Look at Gracie Allen. She was smart. She kept up with George Burns. Look at Julie Brown. What were the lyrics to her Because I'm A Blonde? "I can't spell BMW, but I drive a Porsche." Honest, she could spell BMW just fine.

Paris Hilton never struck me as dumb. She's about as pretty as a good plastic surgeon could make her. Not bad, but clearly not a natural. She decided on a career as a celebrity, and part of that involved playing a ditz. She doesn't have the body type for a miles gloriosus. That's her shtick. If she didn't have a fortune, that would be her meal ticket. She might not be as smart as Madonna, who is one shrewd cookie, but watch her career, not her act.

Zeno said...

Certainly you make a good point, Kaleberg. Eva Gabor and Gracie Allen are especially good examples, too. I admit, though, that I really did think Paris Hilton was just a Barbie girl living in a Barbie world, both plastic and fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Barbie was cagier than you might think too. You'll remember that she payed cash for that dreamhouse and sports car. She and Ken had separate checkbooks.

Anonymous said...

Oh stop. She's reading a teleprompter. She didn't write that material. She has agents and managers. Your first inclination -- that she's actually just vapid -- isn't impeached by her offering. She's just better at the modern media incarnation of Fame than is John McCain. Big whoop.

Zeno said...

Hey, try to be nice, Pablito. She can read! And perhaps you noticed (or maybe you didn't) that I acknowledged the possibility of a team of gag writers. I'm not giving her credit for everything. Just for being a more credible candidate that John McCain.

kai said...

But then again, was that energy policy realistic? Wouldn't the lead time to get off-shore drilling working be at least as long as the time for rolling out alternative energy sources (or, preferrably, radically cutting down on energy use) and would it really produce enough to make much of a difference?

Porlock Junior said...

That seems to be the consensus: her energy policy isn't all that good, but it's way ahead of McCain's. I think this is good enough for the purpose.

VP81955 said...

Paris Hilton is no Goldie Hawn, who gained fame on "Laugh-In" as a dimwit blonde character, but soon erased that image with a long career in movies, many of which she produced herself.

That said, the "ad" was hilarious, and made McCain appear even more ridiculous than usual. (And as a Democrat, that's all right by me.) Kudos, Paris!

Anonymous said...

Paris hot, hmm, - but compared to NoBrain even Reagan appeared bright.
And he could only remember one line at a time.

the Mover said...

Dr. Pablito said...

"Oh stop. She's reading a teleprompter."

FYI: So is Barack.

Jens Knudsen (Sili) said...

Well - she's already saving on airconditioning in a manner that harks back to Carter (that other whitehaired dood).

Dunno how much is an act, but I'd rather have voted for Mansfield.

Of course, if I were ever to write alternative history, I'd put Hepburn* in the White House instead of Reagan.

*Katherine, not Audrey

Anonymous said...

"The rehabilitation of Paris Hilton"

kinda has a catchy ring to it, ya think?

redbean said...

It doesn't matter if she wrote it or not. She clearly understands it, and reads it with intelligence. Which is more than her character on "The Simple Life" could do. Also, I've heard some very smart celebrities commenting on her image as just an act before--clearly she's been honing an image. But maybe she's finally realized it's not the best way for her to go.

Zeno said...

Dr. Pablito said: "Oh stop. She's reading a teleprompter."

Mover said: "FYI: So is Barack."

And, as is well known, McCain can't even do that. [Link]

the mad LOLscientist said...

=ZOMGZ=snort=ROFL=gasp=MAO= Gimme some oxygen, stat! This is made of AWESOME.

I'm not even sure McCain and his teleprompter are even in the same room much of the time. I know his brain and his mouth aren't. Wasn't it a member of his campaign staff who said, "McCain doesn't speak for the McCain campaign"?

Anonymous said...

PH has never shown any signs of being dumb - vapid, shallow yes - but not dumb.

And certainly not as apparently unhappy and perhaps unbalanced as Britney.

She's always come across to me as a person of at least average intelligence (with the best education money can buy).

She's got a fortune, so what if she decides to be a celebrity. She doesn't need to work, or prove herself, she can just spend her youth having fun - wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

"If PH were as stupid as she pretends to be, she'd be in porn, a junkie, or dead."

I don't know; from what I've heard and read a lot of porn stars are actually fairly intelligent.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe no-one has mentioned Hedy Lamar.

She was an incredibly glamorous actress, and an inventor (granted a patent for frequency encoding).
"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

Anonymous said...

Actually, recent reporting says she had MEMORIZED the entire monologue, including the Energy Policy, and that there was no teleprompter. This info comes from the people who shot the video.

Anyone who thinks that Paris Hilton was dumb as a rock has been taken in by her act. How smart does that make you? If you look at her interviews, she clearly knows what she's doing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for a drive-by comment, but I have to ask if our standards of intelligence plummeted precipitously recently.

I can't say I've been taken in by Paris Hilton's alleged "dumb act," more that I've never seen a reason to care about PH one way or another. Even if I take her to be the second coming of Einstein does not exempt her from the same burdens of respect I have for everyone else.

Using the state of the world to justify exploiting it to whatever ends of fame or whatever the case, even from a superior intellect, strikes me as cynical beyond the pale of anything I can cook up, and hey, I'm a cynic.

So I'll stick to Jane Espenson, Carolyn Porco, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Madelaine Albright, Nina Totenberg, Karen Armstrong, etc., and the handful of women I've known and see who just do what they do without wallowing in the pop-culture of skin and airbrushing women seem to have as their lot for my positive female role models thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

A few more "ads" like this one, with a neutral, dead pan focus on the substance of the candidates' positions (something the mainstream media refuses to cover), and she could become a major force in this election. She has a huge, free audience as long as she keeps it amused and titillated.

Anonymous said...

Hedy lamar was something, ironically also the first woman to appear nude on film.

I think its a jealousy thing with Paris and other celebrities. People want to label them as stupid because its the only thing they can potentially hold over them, the populace certainly isnt as rich or attractive.

The harsh reality for the public is people dont get where they are without being extraordinary and there are countless rich and/or beautiful people who go no where. There's some X factor that led Paris to gravitate to the top (because also as people have said she is rich and hot but not extremely).