UK paperback

Free Paris Hilton

She could save planet Earth

Scunthorpe TravelodgeFREE PARIS HILTON, it said, and I thought: “Fine, but where would I put it? My apartment is so compact and bijou. I don’t live in a bloody Tardis.” Then I realised they were talking about Paris Hilton aka Scunthorpe Travelodge. ((See Graham’s recent forum post for a link to Humphrey Lyttleton’s sublime entry in the traditional “jokes about Scunthorpe” sweepstakes.)) Ms Travelodge is facing 45 days’ jail time for driving while disqualified. The online petition offering a, I mean to “Free Paris Hilton” lists her virtues:

She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives.

I think they mean that most of the petitioners enjoy mundane lives, although it seems actually to say that Ms Travelodge “provides beauty and excitement” to most of their lives, although not those bits of their lives where they are, say, buying carrots in the supermarket or singing karaoke versions of Lionel Richie songs. Or asleep. (But then probably they are dreaming about Ms Travelodge, so whatever.)

It is clearly absurd that such a beauty-and-excitement solutions-provider should be persecuted implacably by the US justice system. Haven’t they got any murderers or impeachable presidents to be getting on with? All the more so given her extraordinary promise before sentencing, as reported by the Guardian:

An attempt to win clemency from the judge by the soberly-dressed Hilton had little effect. With her parents in the courtroom, Hilton said: “I’m very sorry and from now on I’m going to pay complete attention to everything. I’m sorry and I did not do it on purpose at all.”

Wow – if only they don’t send her to jail, Paris promises to pay complete attention to everything. ((Hat-tip: DF.)) And they turn this down? Surely if Paris Hilton aka Scunthorpe Travelodge were to make good on her vow, paying complete attention to the fate of the endangered Siberian tiger, and also tracking infallibly any asteroids likely to collide with Earth, and reading religiously, perhaps occasionally offering her opinions on Slavoj Zizek, along with everything else, society would be far better served than if she were to languish in lock-up? Readers, I put it to you that the law is an ass.

  1. 1  Ron Simon  May 10, 2007, 12:53 am 

    I created some cool Paris Hilton T-shirts. One shirt says Paris Hilton Sexy Jailbird and the other Free Paris with some cool graphics. Check them out at

  2. 2  dl  May 10, 2007, 2:48 am 

    Ifparis does not have to go by the same rules as every normal rich or poor person then what the hell…. She is no better in fact worse than alot of people, she is not even loyal to her friends. I hope staring through bars for 45 days might make her think what a disgrace she is to her family and I feel for her mother… She needs to grow UP ………..

  3. 3  John Fallhammer  May 10, 2007, 8:31 am 

    To be fair (not the point but so what), I think what she was promising to pay attention to was stuff like people telling her that her driving licence was suspended. We’re all guilty of ignoring certain kinds of little administrative details if we think someone else will take care of it. She just took that normal tendency to the extreme, with hilarious consequences.

    I think the more interesting thing is that we know anything about this witless young woman at all. It seems to be part of the process of globalisation. Companies multinationalise and get fewer in number, and the competition for any place in the market gets fiercer. Ditto musicians, sports teams, etc. and, apparently, village idiots.

    It has to be said though, that compared with the supreme global village idiot, Ms Travelodge is positively bursting with beauty and excitement. She hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, AFAIK.

  4. 4  Thom  May 10, 2007, 9:05 am 

    There’s an artist in New York who has created an exhibit called Paris Hilton Autopsy – it’s a lifesize model of the titular drink-driver filled with plastic entrails. Visitors can don rubber gloves and poke around inside.

    There have been suggestions that it’s a waste of time, as anyone who wants to poke around inside Paris Hilton has probably already done so, but I suppose it could still prove educational, in its own little way.

  5. 5  Richard  May 10, 2007, 10:05 am 

    this post made me laugh out loud. Perhaps she means employing a kind of wide-eyed receptive vacancy, like the state certain kinds of meditation are supposed to put you in: aware of the deep breathing of the universe. Maybe then, indeed, we could use her as an oracle; she’s got most of the other classic requirements.

    Now I want to say something about Keanu Reeves playing the Buddha, but I can’t think what.

  6. 6  john b  May 10, 2007, 12:12 pm 

    I’m afraid I’m reminded of the joke about the Buddhist ordering a pizza: “Can you make me one with everything?”

  7. 7  Australian Values  May 10, 2007, 1:05 pm 

    […] …how fascinating to read about the plight of Paris Hilton, known elsewhere, and probably more appropriately, as the “Scunthorpe Travelodge”¹. Famous for being famous (and slutty), she has also been semiotically referred to as someone who has turned the concept of an “empty, or floating signifier” into a career. If you, like me, have always wondered what “Paris Hilton” means, this makes sense in a world where “a sign only means that it means”. […]

  8. 8  dave  May 11, 2007, 3:01 pm 

    how fascinating to read about the plight of Paris Hilton

    Er, no.

  9. 9  Steven  May 24, 2007, 10:36 am 

    Richard at #5 turned out to be remarkably prescient.

  10. 10  Richard  May 24, 2007, 11:44 am 

    that’s not my fault.

    BTW: the profound psychological break as precursor to profound realisation seems to be a popular trope: Tolle claims to have undergone one. Other famous examples include Hume, Descartes and al-Ghazzali. Do you know of any literature on this phenomenon?

  11. 11  Australian Values  May 29, 2007, 2:56 pm 

    […] The Paris Hilton Autopsy sculpture has aroused quite a lot of interest. As one commenter on the Unspeak blog notes, it’s a lifesize model of the titular drink-driver filled with plastic entrails. Visitors can don rubber gloves and poke around inside. […]

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