Tags : Paris Hilton, Marylin Monroe, Donatella Di Cesare, conspirationnisme,
She is one of the most sagacious intellectuals in Italy. In her latest book, she argues that conspiracies are linked to a problem of political powerlessness.
The heiress has just turned 21, which she celebrates with a parachute jump over the Nevada desert. After more than 48 hours of irreverent partying in one of the most exclusive dens on the planet, she suffers, of course, from an infernal hangover. Tossed about by the wind, her body overflowing with Moët & Chandon bubbles plunges into the void; Paris feels “fragile”. A fleeting thought crosses her mind: she has just enjoyed the wildest birthday party “since Marie Antoinette”; maybe it’s a perfect time to die, for the galactic clump of dust the world knows as Paris Hilton to crumble and dissolve into eternity. Finally, the parachute opens and we discover her, floating in the icy air of dusk, « like a diamond hanging from a delicate silver chain »,
Thus begins the autobiography of Paris Hilton. These memories come from her, in person. In all likelihood, the metaphor and bout of mysticism comes from the pen of novelist Joni Rodgers, who has worked as a shadow writer or, as Peter Conrad notes in The Guardian, a « ventriloquist ». from the star. From the outset, we must admit that Rodgers has accomplished a feat. Beyond the oratorical contests of the best or the worst ilk, she succeeded in fabricating a narrative, meaning and a goal around the vital adventures of Hilton, which is what multinationals do when they resort to a professional to concoct the memories of their company.
Given this work of decantation and reformulation of autobiographical material, Paris: The Memoir (not yet translated into French) is a book worth reading. An affirmation that does not depend on sensational revelations. Indeed, during the promotional interviews that will convert the editorial artefact into a best-seller, from the sexual and psychological abuse she suffered during her childhood to the trauma linked to the loss of her Diamond Baby chihuahua, Hilton has already delivered almost all background elements.
If there’s one ingredient that makes The Memoir so interesting, it’s its unusual proposition: boarding the Paris Hilton Transatlantique. The story is told from the command post, confirming, once and for all, that Hilton invited us over twenty years ago to come aboard to laugh at her, precisely because she had hatched a plan to mock us. A project moreover much more sagacious than in appearance.
A (very) subtle plan
Paris was already wealthy, and famous. She could have aspired to a placid life, like that of her sister Nicky, who at 27 married a Rothschild, designing bags, opening hotels, presiding over a charitable foundation. But nothing about such a project satisfied her. Paris felt a thirst for the absolute. She wanted to be everything and everywhere at the same time. According to British journalist Hugo Rifkind, she dreamed of becoming “the Marilyn Monroe of the 21st century”.
Rifkind acknowledges that he withstood Hurricane Hilton for almost two decades: “When I was writing the society stories, my policy was to systematically ignore chefs, milliners and Paris Hilton. “He finally realized the obvious: impossible to sulk Paris Hilton, to turn a deaf ear to her imprint. Since the jetsetter’s late teens, everything she touches has turned into media gold. When we wake up collectively, Paris Hilton will always be present.
Its merits, and not the least, are worth reviewing. She “invented” the selfie. His stolen video popularized amateur porn. She turned reality TV shows into weapons of mass destruction. Thanks to her, long before Trump and at the dawn of the Obama era, billionaires became fashionable celebrities. She made an entire generation of women straighten their hair again. She claimed the copyright for the avant-garde thesis of the “new” notoriety, usurping Sarah Bernhardt’s brilliant intuition that one can become a star because one is famous. And she opened, from side to side, the hatch through which a brand new star-system was able to interfere. Without her, we wouldn’t even know who Kim Kardashian is.
Moreover, she finished this magnum opus, this hilarious alchemy of counter-culture, with, for only expedients, effrontery (in large doses) and money (even more plethoric). She does not have the talent, the charisma or the appearance, not of Marilyn Monroe, this time, but of Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and so many other « friends » or sisters whom she has gradually abandoned along from the ditches of its highway which leads it to the zenith of supreme glory. Christopher Nolan observed that it is necessary to wait for the ultimate magic trick, the « prestige » (from the name of his film), the icing on the cake subjugating the public, so that the work of a great magician reaches consecration. And this is precisely what Hilton has been doing in recent years, especially since the launch, in the midst of a pandemic, of the documentary This is Paris,
The truth is a source of liberation
In reality, the heiress of the Hilton empire is causing, with audacity, another rupture which, if it were the fact of any other person, could be qualified as « sincericide ». And, what she fails to point out at this precise moment is how much, how confidently and how intensely she laughed at us. She didn’t want our money – she had plenty of it; she was trying to get our attention. And to do this, she opted for a strategy of deliberate exaggeration of the character traits that captivated us: (feigned) ignorance, the touch of assumed vulgarity, disconnection from reality, infantile ostentation, arrogance of a being from elsewhere.
At this stage, as Peter Conrad points out in the daily newspaper The Guardian, it is not even useful to know if this is (or was) Paris Hilton’s true personality. What distinguishes her is that she has chosen to appear under this face by bearing all the consequences. In a sporting attitude, she accepted the dose of embarrassment inherent in the character designed over time. The one that serves directly as a distorting mirror of real and intimate Paris (if it exists, or has existed, in some way in this light), to disconcert and fascinate us, so that we end up resigning ourselves to its permanent ubiquity, right down to the last corner of the pop galaxy, with complicit irony.
Examples abound both inside and outside the book. Hugo Rifkind explains one that is decisive: his meeting with Trey Parker and Matt Stone. She is an « unconditional fan of South Park » and had the opportunity to meet the creators of the program during a private party. They exchanged a few words, the heiress being subsequently convinced that “they had appreciated each other”. A few weeks later, Parker and Stone « crucially parodied her in an episode called Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Kit. » Asked about her feelings after being the subject of public taunts on the television show she adored, moreover by people who pretended to like her company, Hilton showed her best face by reiterating her admiration for the two actors who had just stoned her. All he needed to do was thank them. Stone sees in it “an additional symptom of a dramatic psychic state”.
More fireproof than asbestos
Juana Summers, editor-in-chief of the American radio network NPR, considers that Paris Hilton was the first influencer, a pioneer in « the transformation of her own life into a reality TV program », a precursor having now refused to give in to the harassment of the paparazzi, whom, on the contrary, she « vigorously mobilizes » 24 hours a day. It is the « Paris Hilton attitude » which, undoubtedly, makes it possible to understand that the granddaughter of a chef he billionaire hospitality company, « notorious for drunkenness at parties before its twenties, ended up running its own show on the Fox channel and launching itself as an actress, singer and model ».
It is now almost superfluous to note that Paris has failed in the three aforementioned areas, namely cinema, music and modeling. The House of Wax (2005) garnered public opprobrium, largely due to the New York influencer’s « disastrous » performance. At least, that’s the opinion of critics like Brian Eggert. Propelled by Heiress Records, the label she directly financed and managed, her musical career has produced horrors (in the words of another critic, this time Rich Juzwiak), including Paris (2006), the album, and Stars are Blind, the single. And her first steps on the catwalk are generally received with condescension and mockery, especially during her irruption, in a vintage wedding dress, at the Versace show at the last Milan Fashion Week.
However, none of these situations hits home on this multifaceted diva more fireproof than asbestos. When fueling criticism, Hilton, in Summers’ words, « moves her camp upriver. » She reinvents herself as a resident DJ at Amnesia, launches a line of perfumes, designs wedge and stiletto shoes, makes jewelry, or poses naked, covered in gold paint, to promote a sparkling wine.
The Thorn in the Side
It’s worth dwelling on the controversy surrounding his infamous sex tape. Filmed in 2001, the video leaked two years later. It was barely a week before the release of the reality show The Simple Life, in which Paris appeared more disconnected than ever from reality, in the company of Nicole Ritchie, her childhood friend. The leak is attributed to Rick Salomon, a decidedly unscrupulous professional poker player, who was the other protagonist in the scene. An X film producer ended up marketing the porn video, certifying that Hilton had given her consent. The heiress, however, sued Salomon, obtaining compensation of 400,000 dollars (364,525 euros).
Between 2003 and 2007, and, as usual, while the film followed its commercial, legal and media course, Hilton acted as if she had not given the slightest importance to this affair. At the same time, the reality show in which Ritchie and Hilton tasted the simple life of farmers and housewife suburbanites became an incredible worldwide success.
Paris knowingly cultivated her character by portraying herself as the « blonde in everything but hair color. » She acted like she didn’t know about the washing machine, pretending she had never heard of Walmart, the department store chain where nine out of ten Americans shop. She even pushed her snobbish accent to the limit, at the crossroads between that of New York’s Upper East Side and Beverly Hills. And, as she now recounts, she tried to express herself « in as popular and ridiculous a language as possible », to better match the stereotypical image the world had of her.
In 2006, when she was already a star, she finally exteriorized during an interview with GQ, testifying to how much she had suffered when the video of her youthful flirtation with Solomon had leaked: « I didn’t asked for a single penny for it. It’s dirty money. Rick should be ashamed and donate that money to charity. Fifteen years later, she said she had felt this invasion of her privacy as a « humiliation »: « I am mortified to think that I will be constantly judged because of a moment of intimacy that no one should have ever seen. »
In these memoirs, Hilton tackles surrogacy or missing Chihuahuas, even if, above all, she sets out to rewrite the past using this « personal voice » that she claims to have found in the pen of Joni Rodgers. Part of this rewriting work consists of confessing that she was never as ridiculous as she pretended to be, that she always had a plan and that, to materialize it (to become the new Marilyn, if you remember), she kindly invited us to laugh at her so that she could, in turn, laugh at us. All in all, there are different ways to board the Paris Hilton Transatlantique. And accompanying him on his skydive over the Nevada desert is by no means the worst of those scenarios.
Le Soir (Belgium)
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