Marianne Thamm

The sound of no hands clapping

2007-06-14 10:51

Marianne Thamm

The now famous and much gloated over photograph of a wailing Paris Hilton being escorted back to jail last week has become the modern equivalent of Evard Munch's iconic expressionist painting The Scream.

Munch's work, completed in 1893, has come to be understood as a representation of human existential angst. Now one hesitates to venture into such deep territory when dealing with the global phenomenon that is Paris Hilton.

However, I'm willing to wager my entire vintage Kid Colt collection that that is exactly what happened to the heiress when she found herself in jail recently serving a 23-day sentence on a drunken driving charge.

Now, briefly, for those of you who might not be aware of the biggest news story, outside of the war in Iraq; after only three days in solitary confinement, Paris Hilton's lawyers, claiming that she suffered from some sort of medical condition, managed to get her transferred from jail back to her Hollywood Hills home.

A few days later a judge overruled the decision and sent the world-famous-for-nothing heiress back to the slammer.

It was then that the photo of the weeping 26-year-old was taken through the opaque window of the sheriff's cruiser. This shortly after she had wailed, "Mom, it's not right".

The worst thing is herself

Currently languishing in the special section of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, Paris Hilton might find the venue a little less daunting than solitary confinement.

Because the worst thing Paris Hilton faced in solitary confinement was herself.

With nothing to distract her - no paparazzi, no fans, no media, no hangers-on, no mommy and daddy - she was compelled, possibly for the first time in her life, to look inwards. And it was not a pretty sight. In fact there were no sights at all.

Without the media to reflect her back to herself she found, horror of horrors, that she did not exist at all.

I am convinced that poor Paris - a high-school drop-out born to parents rich beyond belief and who lived a sort of virtual life - faced a void so deep, so silent, so black, so empty and so meaningless that it did indeed result in "an undisclosed medical condition", as her lawyer politely put it.

So who's to blame for poor Paris?

Her parents for raising her without considering the need for some sort of balance? Paris herself for being a figment of her own imagination? The media for making billions using her to distract us from the real issues of the day? Readers who can't seem to get enough of her? Tinkerbell the Chihuahua?

Maybe all of the above with the exception of the midget dog.

The best thing that could happen to Paris Hilton and perhaps in turn her million of young fans across the world, is that she (and they) will realise it is not enough just to be "rich and famous".

Rattling a brain cell

Hopefully it will rattle her brain cell enough to set off some sort of natural cerebral chain reaction that will, in turn, inspire her to work on something other than those things access to a limitless supply of money can buy.

Perhaps the phenomenal financial success of websites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, can be attributed in part to a global youth culture that dreams and yearns for - at the expense of everything else - the kind of vacuous fame and fortune Paris has.

Sure it's also about creating social networks but these will only truly have significance and meaning - beyond the billions they rake in for the owners that is - when young people begin to use them to effect change to the world we live in. For now, it all just feels like a global peep show for needy exhibitionists trapped in a hall of mirrors.

With no real input there can be no output. And the thing is, as Paris so painfully discovered - nature hates vacuum. It needs either to be filled, or it will be destroyed.

That's just the way it is.

Send your comments to Marianne.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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