Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why Pick on Paris?

Well, it's been a while since I posted any sort of cultural commentary. I have been so busy discussing "heavy" theological issues here at Jordan's View. Of course, I think to discuss theology is not an abstract exercise, but is to be pursued with the ultimate aim of accurately understanding God's word so as to apply it practically to one's life.

But every once in a while, I have turned on the TV, perhaps watching entertainment news for a little break from all the "deep" thinking. So I heard recently about poor Paris Hilton and her troubles with the law, first for DUI (driving while intoxicated), for which she was sentenced 36 months probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines, and more recently, for violating probation on that sentence-- twice.

Can you believe though, that the judge in her case actually sentenced her to 45 days in jail? Doesn't he know who she is? Now she has been complaining publicly since then about the great injustice of her sentence:

"I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted and I don't deserve this". But as she has been sentenced 45 days for a crime that is punishable under the law by up to 90 days in prison, actually, the judge is being somewhat lenient.

But not in Paris' way of thinking. After all, doesn't the judge realize that "Paris Whitney Hilton is an American celebrity and socialite?" "An heiress to a share of the Hilton hotel fortune" and to her father's fortune? Can't he see that "she provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world", as well as "beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives"?

What will we all do with Paris away for a whole 45 days, not available to brighten up our otherwise boring lives?

This judge is a big old meanie. Instead of just letting her go (you know, she did say she's sorry and she did cry), or giving her the "slap-on-the-wrist" she should have gotten (that's just the way things are done for celebrities), well, don't you know that cranky old judge actually sentenced her to 45 days in jail! Outrageous!

It seems he doesn't want to just "slap her on the wrist", like all the other celebrities are used to getting, but actually apply the law in her case. What a gross miscarriage of justice!

Can this possibly be right, to sentence an actress with these incredible credits ("Hilton is notable for her leading roles on the FOX reality series The Simple Life and in the remake of the Vincent Price horror classic "House of Wax"), to jail?

There's so many other celebrities that could have been made an example of? Why pick on Paris?

After all, she's learned her lesson, or so says her publicist. "She is sincere, apologetic, and full of regret for her actions as she explained tearfully to the Judge handling her case in court".

Perhaps you detect a note of satire/sarcasm in the above?

I really don't mean to sound completely unsympathetic to Paris Hilton. I do feel sympathy for her, but not because she's sentenced to jail. I feel sorry that she is so caught up in a way of thinking exemplified in the petition she sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding her plight (most of the quotes above come from this petition). She sincerely seems to believe that because she is an heiress, an actress, and a celebrity, that somehow, she should be above the law and that the judge should make an exception for her and that people in high places should go out of their way to pardon her. She want others to sign the petition for these reasons.

Of course it is very fortunate that her drunk driving did not hurt anyone. But Paris showed by her subsequent failures to abide by the sentence in that conviction that she was not taking her crime seriously, but rather, making light of it.

Drunk driving is a serious matter that has been the source of great tragedy for millions of families. Any attitude that treats such a crime lightly and says that one should be pardoned for this crime because supposedly one has more value to society, by virtue of being a celebrity, is repugnant and wrong. According to her prosecutors, Hilton violated at least three conditions of her probation; driving at 70 mph without her headlights on in a 35 mph zone, driving with a suspended license, and failing to enroll in the court-ordered alcohol education program. Apparently the judge agreed with their case and has ruled Paris guilty, giving her the sentence appropriate to the crime for which she is guilty.

Serve your time soberly, Paris. Reflect on the good fortune that you have had. Be grateful and thankful that your drunken driving did not kill or harm anyone.

When you get out, perhaps use your celebrity to promote a sober driving campaign.

Then you will earn respect, and be known for your character, rather than just for being a celebrity.

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

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