May 09 2007

Komedy Korner

Despite an airtight defense (she “didn’t know” her license was suspended when she got busted for doing 70 in a 35), Paris Hilton’s been sentenced to 45 days in the hoosegow. Now her loyal fans are circulating Free Paris petitions. This is my favorite:

“If the late former President Gerald Ford could find it in his heart to pardon the late former President Richard Nixon after his mistake(s), we undeniably support Paris Hilton being pardoned for her honest mistake as well.”

I love — by which I mean “I fail to grasp” — the supremely peculiar idea, popular among the masses, that celebrities should be forgiven when they’re assholes or “pardoned” when they’re criminals. Surely a bloodthirsty, schadenfreudish see-how-the- mighty-have-fallen attitude would be much healthier?


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  1. LouisaMayAlcott

    Well, I’m ecstatic to see Paris Hilton going to jail. Just as I was when Martha Stewart went down.

    But then, I’m a blamer.

  2. 100 Words

    But she said it was a mistake, just like she said she had absolutely nothing to do with the leaking of that sex video, which made her an international celebrity.

    Er, hang on …

  3. H

    My favourite petition is the one that protests the sentence on the grounds that Ms. Hilton brings ‘beauty and excitement into our otherwise mundane world’ and to jail her would be to deprive us (the unwashed masses) of this privilege.

    Naturally, Ms. Hilton supports this notion.

  4. Kwillz

    Actually, I thought Martha Stewart got a raw deal.

  5. schatze

    Perhaps you would like to sport one of the new – “Don’t Free Paris Hilton” – T shirts?

  6. Bird

    100 Words, now I’m imagining the sales for the Paris Hilton prison sex video. Charming. I’m going to go scrub out my brain now.

  7. jamyr

    Well, of course celebrities should be treated like everyone else under the law, but Paris Hilton was convicted and sentenced to 45 days jail for being a public slut.

    Other celebrities who have been caught driving with a suspended license and have much longer criminal histories than Paris Hilton (usually involving assault and drug charges):

    * Busta Rhymes – Given 60 days probation, and told to give lectures to troubled youths for running a red light with a suspended license.
    * DMX – 60 days prison for 2 charges of traffic violations while having a suspended license, including crashing into a police car, and driving 104 miles per hour .
    * Daniel Baldwin – No charges pressed after he entered rehab. He was caught driving 80 mph in a 35 mph zone with a suspended license and crashed into two parked cars.

  8. Moira

    Just think of the possibilities, though! If the warden’s okay with having camera crews around, we could be graced, in due time, with The Simple Life: Life in the Big House. And the merch — is she going to someplace with orange jumpsuits?

  9. Pinko Punko

    Paris Hilton was violating her probation from drunk driving. She had already been caught once driving on a suspended license after her drunk driving arrest. She SIGNED a document acknowledging she had been warned. She was then busted again. She is not being imprisoned for being a “public slut.” She did not sign up for driving school and she was late to court. Just how much are you willing to take from her?

  10. EN

    In general, I try to think about Paris Hilton as little as possible. Today, though, I must present to you Schadenfreude Pie.

  11. Vera Venom

    “Don’t Free Paris Hilton” – T shirts? ”

    I prefer the “Throw away the key” ones myself.

  12. kathy a

    jamyr — do you want ms. hilton treated like everyone else, or to get a pass because she is famous for being famous? she isn’t going to jail for being a slut. she is going to jail for violating probation, just like all the regular probation violators do.

    see, here is the deal with probation. the person is found guilty [either after a plea or a trial], and is given a “suspended” sentence. the person is also given a whole list of stuff they have to do and/or can’t do — if they mess up, then they get to serve the sentence.

    ms. hilton messed up. surely she can find some money someplace for actual legal advice [and the only legal advice would be, stick to the exact terms of probation, or you go to jail]. if she relied on a publicist’s opinion that she could still drive, she was phenomenally and willfully stupid.

    at least one law professor scoffed at the new crusade to free paris, pointing out that the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause was not intended by the founding fathers to excuse a spoiled celebrity from following the terms of her probation.

  13. MedeaOnCrack

    Thanks EN that was terrific, and thanks to Krissy and Athena too. Think I’m gonna make me some schadenfreude pie. I’ll find a reason.

  14. Hawise

    I hope that she uses her time wisely. First to learn how to read so that she doesn’t need a publicist to explain a suspended sentence to her. Second to learn not to take your mother to court with you if you know she is prone to stupid outbursts. She is likely to come out of this with a greater appreciation of the staff of the restaurants she goes to as she is down to three a day, only one hot. I’m voting for the hot meal to be oatmeal.

  15. Kwillz

    You don’t really have to give the story energy, turn to Yahoo! and they’ll have updates on the front page.

    I wonder how that war’s going.

  16. BubbasNightmare

    “’m imagining the sales for the Paris Hilton prison sex video. Charming. I’m going to go scrub out my brain now.”

    Use scalding hot water and plenty of bleach, please.

    Isn’t it interesting that someone who surfs the patriarchal privilege Ground Swells (as Ms. Hilton does regularly) fails to get desired reactions when she invokes it yet again? Wipe out!

  17. jamyr

    kathy a: I want everyone to be treated the same under the law, but that is clearly not happening. Celebrities are very rarely given jail sentences for drunk driving or driving with suspended licenses or assault or drug charges or anything else. That includes suspended sentences. There are many, many celebrities in addition to the three I mentioned above with track records that are more heinous in every way than Paris Hilton’s and they haven’t come close to a day in jail.

    Is it a coincidence they give a jail sentence to the one criminal celebrity who they’re making slut jokes about every day on late night TV?

  18. Alex

    To the public, celebrities aren’t people, at least not normal people. They can do no wrong, but nor can they do right. Look how we tear them apart for every little thing they do: tabloids, fashion critics, E!, Vogue, on and on. We take normal people, whether or not they even have actual jobs, and we turn their lives into our entertainment. Their movies, their music, it is all secondary because it is less real. We don’t want to see them cry in a movie, we want to see them actually cry. And it doesn’t hurt us because it doesn’t hurt them. They aren’t people remember? They’re famous, they’ve got money! What more could they want?

    They want to be happy. They are just people like you and me. They’ve got issues just like us, they fuck up just like us. The only difference is they happened to grow up or land in a situation where they have the opportunity to be in the spotlight. The ones that need the spotlight – and that’s another story – embrace it. So we build them up, put them on a pedistal, and then push it over. When they smash to pieces on the ground, we laugh, we take pictures, we write stories, and we say, “Oh, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to do that. We’ll help you back up again.” And we do. The cycle continues until they either die of exhaustion or we get bored with them. Either way, we move on to someone younger, brighter, flashier, perkier, cooler, hotter, thinner, and the old ones, we simply forget.

  19. LouisaMayAlcott


    You are my friend for life for having given me that link!

    It even makes the existence of PH excusable.

  20. Catherine Martell

    Surely it is possible simultaneously to deplore the application of words like “slut” to Paris Hilton – not something of which I believe we can accuse the judge in her case, mind you – and to deplore the woman herself? She repeatedly broke the law and endangered people’s lives. She has received a frankly fairly lenient sentence on that account, most of which she probably won’t serve. My heart bleeds not.

    Lest yours still does, refresh yourself with this delightful speech of hers, as caught on video at a New Year party. Triggers partially redacted, though not fully, on the basis that there actually seems to be some sympathy here for this spoilt, overprivileged, racist, homophobic moron. During this speech, she is dancing around and gleefully mocking poor people, gay people, people of colour, people of faiths not her own, and people who did not go to private school.

    A typical excerpt:

    I am a fat ugly Jewish b****… I’m a little JAP-y Jew… I am a little black w****, I got f***ed in the butt for coke… I’m a n*****… I’m black and I steal shit, yo, I’m black and I steal…

    Nelson Mandela, she ain’t. Get a better heroine.

    (source: multiple. I don’t recommend googling it, though there are links all over the place if you do. There’s plenty courtesy of Ilyka at Pandagon: http://pandagon.net/2007/02/14/running-low-on-reasons-to-loathe-paris-hilton/ )

    Incidentally, Kwillz, which war? I hear the big one in the sandy thing is still going kinda sucky.

  21. 100 Words

    Apologies, bird. I hold my hands up, and will do my time without complaint. Unless, of course my adoring fans draw up a petition.

  22. LCforevah

    I think Martha Stewart got a raw deal; she was the scapegoat who hid the white male financial transgressors. In other words there were much bigger white male criminals that got to slide because people were looking in the wrong direction.

    Nobody walks in late to court. My BIL is a lawyer who practices in all the courtrooms in at least four counties. There are judges who will throw out your case, your client, and yourself for being five minutes late.

    Hilton violates her probation and then shows up TWENTY minutes late. This is blatant disrespect of both the judge and the legal process that no judge can let ANYONE get away with.

    Hilton brought the results upon herself 100%.

    Her mother has been quite a revelation. She doesn’t seem like a very educated, well-bred, or thoughtful person. She goes a long way towards explaining Hilton’s shallow, trivial life.

  23. chingona

    I used to live in another country, far from the internets. Then one day, I checked my e-mail for the first time in almost a month and found my in-box full of offers for the Paris Hilton sex video. I was so ignorant of the ways of celebrity that I assumed this was a video shot at the Hilton in Paris.

    I am no longer so ignorant, but my life is not better for it.

  24. Twisty

    “This is blatant disrespect of both the judge and the legal process that no judge can let ANYONE get away with.”

    Because we must respect authori-tay!

  25. jamyr

    LCforevah: One of the celebrity criminals I mentioned earlier, Daniel Baldwin, was arrested November 7th last year for stealing a car. This was 3 months after he ran a red light going 80 mph and crashed into 2 cars on a suspended license. It was also 6 months after he was arrested for threatening a female hotel clerk and cocaine possession.

    In February, Baldwin just didn’t show up at his arraignment on grand theft auto charges. Two weeks later he turned himself in to police. A few days ago charges were dropped.

    After a lifetime of serious crime, the only real punishment that Baldwin has been given is drug rehab. This isn’t rare at all. There are dozens of similar celebrity stories.

    Catherine: I do hate Paris Hilton, but I still see this as strangely unjust. I hate the Klan, but I don’t want to see them arrested for having a rally. Even though Hilton SHOULD be getting this sentence, but like it or not, there’s a separate bar for celebrities and I just find the exception in this case to smell like patriarchy in action.

  26. Thealogian

    Last night in Tennessee, Philip Workmas was executed. After ballistics information came forward proving “with near medical certainity” that the bullet that fatally shot Workman’s alleged victim (a cop) could not have come from his gun and furtherly, with the one “eye” witness whose testimony put the case over in 1981 recanting his testimony and saying that he wasn’t even on the scene (and five jurors from that trial stating that if they knew of the ballistics information or if they knew that the witness was lying, they never would have voted for the death penalty)…well, with all that, HE didn’t get a pardon, he didnt’ even get a delay. Also in Tenn death row (I’ve actually been to the Riverbend death row on a social justice outreach program), there is also an inmate with bone cancer (not getting pain meds) whose DNA was shown not to have been the rapists (so, they now claim someone else raped the victim and then the inmate came upon her and killed her at random)…so, he’s still on death row, but worse yet not getting pain medication for a very painful cancer. Anyway, I know that this posting wasn’t about the death penalty, but the idea of the pardon. The idea that Hilton’s request for a pardon would be taken seriously considering that we are excecuting innocent people in this country is an outrage. The fact that she’s had more sympathetic airtime than any death row inmate (or child given life in prison) is already an outrage. Paris Hilton is perhaps one of the most uninteresting persons alive, but she does represent (along with Bush) who entitlement is a disservice to the privileged and society as a whole. Peace

  27. BubbasNightmare

    “Because we must respect authori-tay!”

    We’re not required to respect authority, but in cases such as this you have to take the context of the situation into effect. I’ve watched judges turn from mere hardasses to cast-iron sons(daughters)-of-a-bitch when you’re late to a session of their court. It’s their bat and ball, and their backyard, and very few judges will buck another’s contempt-of-court decision.

    Getting out of your car in Yellowstone when the brown bears are trolling for goodies is your prerogative, but it’s not exactly Plan A.

  28. kathy a

    jamyr — look, you have a point about the criminal justice system often being patriarchy in action. [if i’m interpreting your larger point correctly.] the system is *supposed* to be about public protection, but in practice, that turns out to be locking up people who are young, poor, of color, and lacking in social support that could help them get out of the hell-holes they live in. most criminal defendants are very clearly not part of the ruling class.

    what i have a lot of trouble with is the idea that paris hilton has somehow been unfairly hung out to dry. the fact that some celebrity guys have gotten away with worse does not make her a poster child for feminism. poster child for wretched excesses of the ruling class, maybe.

    this woman was raised on a pedestal; she clearly believes that her people should just make annoyances [like the consequences of her conduct] go away. she easily had the means to avoid problems — drivers, alarm clocks, listening to her lawyers. it’s not like she had to drive her fancy car at twice the speed limit in order to save her sainted mother’s life in an emergency.

    you want to create more fairness in the world? giving more poor women half a chance to support themselves and their families legally would help. support education. support reproductive rights. support humans who are struggling in the hundreds of ways they do to survive. but pul-eeze, don’t waste precious energy crying for paris hilton. 45 days of bad food and no internet access is not gonna kill her.

  29. kathy a

    and thealogian — damned right.

  30. MedeaOnCrack

    I’m especially cynical of late, but do I hear the beginnings of a jail survivor tv program?

    I don’t diss Martha; she did what only men had done before her. Made a couple million on what women do/did. I give that to her.

  31. thebewilderness

    In my experience some judges take great pleasure in teaching women a lesson. The lesson Paris Hilton just learned is that she will not be treated the same as male celebrities are treated.

  32. Catherine Martell

    The lesson Paris Hilton just learned is that she will not be treated the same as male celebrities are treated.

    Hold on a minute. I thought the principle was that “all are equal in the eyes of the law”. Now, obviously, we know this isn’t true, but I certainly don’t remember it saying “all celebrities are equal in the eyes of the law”. We know how Hilton’s sentence compares to the other celebrities mentioned above: it appears to be approximately comparable to DMX’s sentence, and more lenient than Busta Rhymes’s. Had Hilton pleaded alcohol addiction, she might have got off with rehab as Baldwin did. We don’t know.

    But you can keep cherrypicking examples of other miscreant celebrities and their sentences all day, and I’m sure Hilton’s legal team would be very grateful if you did. On the other hand, how does her sentence compare to the average handed down in that jurisdiction for that offence to, say, unemployed black men aged 21-34? Or to prostituted women? Or to illegal immigrants? Or to the average of all defendants?

    Perhaps a few celebrities have come off very lightly in their run-ins with the law. That’s a problem, no doubt about it. And I don’t doubt that thebewilderness is right in saying that some judges take pleasure in teaching women a lesson, though bearing in mind the wealth of statistics showing that black people are prosecuted and sentenced disproportionately in the US you might illustrate an even wider legal trend by comparing DMX’s sentence with Baldwin’s. But it seems to me, looking at Hilton’s lengthy history of driving violations, intoxication at the wheel, and open disrespect of probation, that the bigger picture here is that she has actually evaded justice for a very long time.

    She may well evade it again now. With the legal team she can finance, the chances of her actually making it to the clink, or staying there for more than two hours, are pretty low.

    The judge’s summing up was very clear: he thought that Hilton had deliberately disregarded her probationary notice because she wanted to continue to drive. There was no indication, in any of his remarks, that he held any opinions on Hilton qua woman. There was an indication that he thought she was rich and overprivileged: when prosecutors asked him to impound her car, he refused, saying that “I think she probably has about five other cars”; he then apologised for this “facetious” comment. So perhaps he was biased against Hilton qua rich brat. If anyone wants to jump up and down shouting “Judges are prejudiced against the rich!”, this may be your one and only chance.

    In the meantime, I am completely with Thealogian and kathy a, and the judge, and have little sympathy for the wilfully negligent drunk-driving heiress. I actually think that 45 days of thinking time and contact with people who aren’t all spoilt brats with private incomes might do her a world of good.

  33. Hawise

    I’m no big fan of treating “celebrities” as special as they are mostly chosen by agents and photogs as the style of the week but Paris was initially treated like all the rest, male and female. She was given a slap on the wrist sentence and the requirement to do rehab and even that was put off so that she could get her affairs in order. She then sped on a suspended license after the point that she was supposed to be in rehab and then disrespected the person whose job it was to decide her fate. She could have done her cushy spa/rehab and come out the gates into the paparzzi swarm as a “better person”. She could have played the whole “I have fulfilled my societal obligation and am not a rich whackjob” game but she didn’t. Now she gets to spend 45 days in a small room with a toilet eating sandwiches and cereal- oh, boo hoo, my heart breaks for her. She’ll write a book with an atrocious pink cover and we’ll all live to regret this vapid woman’s punishment more than she will.

  34. LouisaMayAlcott


    Yeah, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than a few homeless women who would be willing to the spend 45 days in there, in place of her.

  35. Hawise

    I read a statistic somewhere that one of the fastest growing criminal groups are the elderly. Three meals, a bed and bad medical treatment are better than what they have now. I can’t find it in me to deny them at least that much. What a country, seniors holding up gas stations for a place to sleep.

  36. thebewilderness

    It is a longstanding tradition among a segment of career criminals to violate parole or probation as winter comes on for the sake of three hots and a cot. Now that some states have started charging inmates for room, board, and medical care, I suspect they will return to the bad old days when they starve and freeze to death on the streets. I am reminded that I despise Ronnie Rayguns with the fire of a thousand suns.

    Re my comment upthread, I think Hilton went in to this with the attitude that nothing ever happens that her money or status won’t cover. She has seen her celeb peers walk away from this sort of thing repeatedly with minor inconvenience. I’m sure she was quite shocked to be treated like a common criminal.

    One of the many myths of the patriarchy is that women get off easier with law enforcement and the courts. The facts don’t bear it out, but the myth persists. Prior to determinate sentencing in this state, it was not unusual for a male judge to sentence a woman to prison for a crime that commonly received probation. Further, they often stated during sentencing that they did it to ‘teach her a lesson’.

  1. Lessons in blaming from the celebrities at I Blame The Patriarchy

    […] Not all discourse on the subject of celebrities has to be vapid. Sometimes the cynosure class’ exploits, as reported by the legion of professional watchers charged with the duty of exalting them to an insatiable public, can be instructive. I won’t say that the “Free Paris” thread scaled any unmastered pinnacles of blaming greatness, but it wasn’t a total bore. As blamer Catherine Martell pointed out, “Nelson Mandela she ain’t.” […]

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