Special Treatment for Paris

Should Paris Get “Hotel” Treatment in Jail?

Paris Hilton is in big trouble. She is facing jail time for driving with a revoked license. She will likely serve 23 days in a private holding area usually used for former cops (it would have been 45, but she has already earned “good behavior credits”). She lost her license after getting a DUI in 2006. Obviously, this is not the first time she has had trouble on her hands. She has a growing list of problems that probably makes her actually yearn for the “simple life”. In some ways, her issues read like plots to a bad sit com: a spat with a diamond heiress after an altercation in a night club, a restraining order from an event producer, a dinged Range Rover after she hit a parked car and a recent vow to celibacy after sex life that she proudly made public as if she was a big game hunter bagging prey.

With Paris’ infractions, any average Joe would likely be serving at least the 45 days and certainly not in a separate holding area. Of course, most average Joe’s do not have tiffs with diamond heiresses and event producers, but that is not the point. The point is that many rich and famous people in the United States seem to get away with bad behavior or at least seem to get off lightly.

Maybe famous people should be treated differently in terms of the law. In most other areas of life, US Magazine’s “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” aside, famous people are different from us. Every day they are faced with the paparazzi and fans hounding them to the point that a trip to the convenience store for a pack of gum becomes a monumental task. Their private lives are not private and they are expected to allow the public into their lives. This is a big sacrifice to make as our privacy is sacred to us and it is human nature to embrace it and desire it. Also, can you imagine what would happen to Paris in the general population of a jail or prison? Let’s just say it would make her internet video look like a gentle version of Bambi.

I’m not saying that stars should not be held to the laws of society. Of course they should. But when they do screw up, they should have different treatment. Our culture has made them who they are. We place these people on pedestals and try to dress like them, get the same haircuts, and talk like them. In some cases they are worshiped like Demi­Gods. I can see why so many of them become narcissistic and expect special treatment.

Despite the fact that we create stars and enjoy them, they also become targets. It makes us feel less envious of their lavish lifestyles to see them struggle. We also feel better to realize that they are only human when we see them screw up. Perhaps, sometimes, we even take a sadistic pleasure in seeing them go down.

We cannot have our cake and eat it too. We want to be entertained and we need famous people to do that. We are willing to pay good money to see their movies and buy their CD’s and DVD’s. We like to be voyeurs in the lives of and to live vicariously through famous people. It gives us all a nice break from our own lives. With it, we expect extravagant and, at times, shocking behavior from them. If we are going to ask them to give up their privacy and provide us with entertainment and a chance to feel better about ourselves, then shouldn’t we give them some leeway when they behave badly?

Let’s look at it this way. What if this marked the end of Paris in the public spotlight? What would we have to talk about every morning at the water cooler?

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