Friday, May 19, 2006
Republican Aristocracy: Massive Tax Cuts for These Guys? I'm sure glad I'm paying higher interest rates so that these guys can have more money.
by Melissa Lafsky Huffington Post
Mainstrea media often brims with depressing images. Iraq footage, newly-released Abu Ghraib photos, still shots of Tom Hanks with truly awful hair. But the newest widely-circulated video of Paris Hilton and her cohort debasing Lindsay Lohan tops this week's list of material most likely to prompt a Paxil overdose.
The film footage displays Hilton walking to and from the ubiquitous nightclub back door accompanied by beefy oil heir Brandon Davis, a name that should rightfully singe newsprint pages with its insignificance. As Hilton laughs and plasters her Sidekick to her ear (the standard gesture of celebrity indifference in the face of cameras), her greasy friend spouts X-rated taunts regarding Lohan's genitalia and personal appearance, referring to the red-headed starlet as "fire crotch" and demanding, "Would you fuck her?" In the background, a linebacker bodyguard parts the river of paparazzi swarming to snap close-ups of the pair.
Catty remarks about her classless ways aside, Hilton and her proteges have created a new behavioral code for the offspring of the obscenely rich: act rude and disrespectful to the point of abhorrence in the presence of cameras, then sit back and reap the rewards. It's present here, Hilton and Co. preening and flaunting their effortless celebrity, greeting everyone around them with blistering scorn, all with the knowledge that tomorrow their names and faces will pollute gossip pages nationwide. The scene has become a recipe for instant press tidal waves. Simply brandish a personality that slashes every modicum of social decency, then enjoy the resulting guaranteed attention.
On the whole, I have nothing against rich kids. A society that worships and glorifies wealth has little right to begrudge its heirs and heiresses. They make up the microscopic percentage of human beings born with access to every luxury, the highest possible jackpot in a capitalist system. As symbols of the supposed bond between riches and happiness that fuels our culture, they may as well spend their lives lounging on Capri-anchored yachts, chartering jets to Ibiza and licking Cristal off the bodies of supermodels (though the exception lies in those with ties to the public sector. When your father becomes a wartime president, you obtain a social responsibility greater than dancing in VIP rooms and posing for Vanity Fair covers, whether or not you choose to accept it).
While the resulting lack of social conscience may offend those us wallowing in the working class pits, such is the inequitable nature of the world we've created. As such, these kids didn't ask to be born inside the coveted "One Percent", so why should they feel bad about it?
But the bile begins to rise when access to ancestral bounty becomes a free pass for degrading others and flaunting repulsive behavior to deliberately insult the rest of the world. This video presents a perfect example, as well as an exercise in controlling the vomit reflex of even the biggest Hilton fan (whoever you are). Following Davis' misogynistic tirade mixed with Hilton's manic laughter, the duo speeds off into the consequence-free vacuum of their untroubled lives, smirking at the reporters and security officials left inhaling their exhaust fumes. Belief in karma aside, if any justice-doling higher power existed, the next morning the pair would awake to find themselves transformed into some combination of Gregor Samsa, and Louis Winthorpe.
The video's piece de resistance occurs when Davis, from the passenger seat of Hilton's car, snaps, "I think [Lohan] is worth around $7 million, which means she's really poor." While defending the honor of Lindsay Lohan ranks high on the list of things I never thought I'd do, my chest filled with righteous indignation upon hearing the insult. Reports of her tabloid-readiness and antics with Hilton's ex-boyfriend aside, Lohan is a self-made millionaire and worldwide celebrity at age nineteen, a feat far surpassing the accomplishments of Hilton or any other walking embodiment of abundance without effort. From humble roots, Lohan became a teenage idol and Hollywood icon, achieving praise (however grudging) for her acting talent and amassing a fortune greater than the average American sees in a lifetime. And here's the heir to untold millions made in oil (true insult to injury) practically spitting on her measly $7 million. One can only imagine how a boy who heaps such crushing disdain on Lindsey Lohan views the rest of us, the great unwashed masses.
On the miniscule chance that any heirs to the wealth of the modern world read blogs, I leave you with a message: revel in your easy life and spend your riches in peace. Just don't use your lucky birth as a launchpad for public displays of repulsiveness. And be sure to pray that the whole karma thing is just a massive hoax.