July 01, 2007

It’s out of control, all right. Not just the the hijacked governance of the world’s "lone surviving Superpower"—but the entire social and intellectual landscape of America. We are indeed in uncharted territory. On the one hand, we have to tolerate the intolerable, no-limits megalomania of Dick Cheney along with the amazing vacuity of his junior partner, G.W. Bush, as they lead us off a cliff. That supposedly is the serious side. Then, on the other hand, there is Paris Hilton, who has just emerged, none the worse, from an odyssey in the Los Angeles County jail system. Is this a great country or what!?


Patrick Buchanan opined on television, before Paris was incarcerated in the second go-round, that we ought to "cut her some slack". Cyndi Lauper proclaimed more profoundly years ago that "Girls just want to have fun" and "I want to be the one to walk in the sun." This is what the Hilton hysteria is all about, it seems to me: freedom and nonsense. The right to be silly, nonsensical and nuts. We should stand up for that right. Paris as an individual is not terribly important, no more or less than Cheney and Bush, Jr. But as a symbol for fun, fashion and nonsense, Paris Hilton is phenomenal.


Over last weekend I noticed that Paris was on the cover of Bunte, the German magazine of lifestyle, gossip and fashion. She’s all over the inside of the other German magazines as well. So whatever it is, the Paris Hilton delusion is real and has gone international. The German connection was to be expected. Last September I had the honor and enormous good fortune to return to the Wies’n in Munich for the Oktoberfest, after an absence of several years. I was vaguely aware that Paris was in town, doing something. Then I heard that she had been thrown out of the Oktoberfest, which is not easy to do. She was promoting a product or herself, and you are not allowed to do that on site, at the Wies’n.


The next thing I knew, Paris was staying at my hotel, which was not a Hilton. It happened one afternoon when, upon returning from a mid-morning walk, I noticed a sizable mob at the main entrance of the BayerischerHof. The mob was enveloping a stretch Hummer with outsized Paris Hilton signatures emblazoned along the sides. She was either getting out or getting in. I never saw which, having ducked into the hotel by a side door. It was all some kind of publicity stunt.


Next, I was informed that her room or suite was down the hall from me, on the top floor of the hotel. One of those charming, beautiful chamber maids from Poland clued me in. I had inquired what was up with the big guy at the end of the corridor, who would get out of his chair whenever I left my room and stare at me in a perplexing manner, as if I had grown three heads overnight. He was obviously a security man of some sort. Well, he was protecting Paris. Her boyfriend’s digs were caddy-corner to my own relatively modest single room. They did not have connecting suites; they had suites connected by a long hallway. Sensible arrangement.


Paris’ boyfriend at the time was a tall, creepy-looking punk rocker, with plenty of tattoos covering his neck and arms, and with multiple rings in the nose and ears. To make matters worse, in an effort to either go native or get with the program, he sported one of those strange Bavarian hunting hats, complete with brushes and feathers. I passed him occasionally in the daytime, and averted my eyes. At night, I heard the hijinks taking place out in the corridor and next door, as Paris and her friends and this rocker fellow communicated loudly with one another, racing up and down the hallway through the wee hours.


Normally, I might have gone out and made a half-hearted attempt to join the party or else complain about the noise. That was not an option on this occasion. Do you recall Gulliver’s predicament when he was shipwrecked on the shore of Lilliput, and woke up lying on his back, firmly affixed to the sand by a network of crisscrossing, tiny ropes? This is how I felt, more or less, every night for about a week, after returning from an afternoon and part of the evening spent on the Wies’n.


Starting at one in the afternoon for lunch at the Stammtisch of my Munich friends in the raucous, smokey and noisy Augustiner-Festhalle, which extended lunch lasted the rest of the day, while consuming five or six liters of the most outstanding beer in Munich and hence in the world, and then heading into the early evening, paying flying visits variously to the Hippodrom or to the girl-filled Schützen-Festzelt, and perhaps to the Käfers Schänke to join the Munich Schikeria for champagne and pastry, I ended up back at the hotel around 10 o’clock in absolutely no condition to do anything but collapse into bed, and stay collapsed until morning. It was physically impossible to join a floor party with Paris and her crazy friends, even if I were in the mood.


In fact, I never actually saw Paris close up or from afar during my entire stay. In retrospect, it may have been worthwhile to have had a chat with her in the hallway. We may have discovered that we both attended the same prep school up in Connecticut. Yes, Hilton is a preppy as well as a party girl and a promoter. Just hilarious! True to form, she got herself kicked out of Canterbury in a matter of months, long before she was kicked out of the Oktoberfest. But she was on the hockey team. You can’t take that away from her. Girls just want to have fun. And why not?

Patrick Foy is author of The Unauthorized World Situation Report.


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