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L.A. from Every Angle
Posted April 01, 2010 to photo album "L.A. from Every Angle"
As Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg shows, there are many different L.A.s inside the city limits. Joel Bleifuss takes us on the tour of how artists imagine Los Angeles.
Slide 30: L.A. for the children of the rich and famous, Part 2
Paris Hilton (1981 - ) Hilton was born between the release of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). The granddaughter of a successful hotelier, she is an artist of conglomeration. Wikipedia describes her as a “socialite, heiress, media personality, model, singer, author, fashion designer and actress”—in that order.
Kay S. Hymowitz, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writing City Journal, had this to say about Hilton: “Maybe 500 channels … mean[s] that Americans have less of a common culture, but we all still share . . . Paris Hilton. The naughty blond heiress is, like, wallpapering our brains. Even if you don’t read the tabloids, you can’t escape her. … Now despite her fame and good fortune, for most sentient adults Hilton personifies the decadence of our cultural moment. With her nightclub brawls, her endless sexcapades, her vapid interviews, her rodent-like dog, and her lack of ostensible talent, she reeks of every vice ever ascribed to our poor country. She has become a synonym for American materialism, bad manners, greed, ‘ like’ and ‘ whatever’ Valley Girl inarticulateness, parochialism, arrogance, promiscuity, antifeminism, exposed roots and navels, entitlement, cell-phone addiction, anorexia and bulimia, predilection for gas-guzzling private transportation, pornified womanhood, exhibitionism, narcissism—you name it. … Paris is America’s national cartoon heroine, a caricature who allows us to mock the undeserving and decadent rich we have scorned since the time of Tom Paine. … She did something even worse than fail at high school or shred the traditional rules of her tribe. She—and this isn’t just metaphorical—sold her soul. … Paris Hilton said to hell with her private self. She erased the boundary between her life and her career and turned her entire existence into a public story and herself into a ‘ brand,’ as she has put it. She deliberately and programmatically offered herself up to us as an ‘ It,’ a being without an inner life, a personality whose only value is to be seen and known by all. She is, in other words, the total incarnation of postmodern identity, the individual who has disappeared completely—and happily—into her image. Paris Hilton may be a composite of contemporary American sins, but hating Paris Hilton is another thing entirely. It’s a sign of lingering cultural sanity.”