Culture Briefs

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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‘Iconic blond’

“There were a few moments there when it looked like Paris Hilton would quietly pay the penance for getting through life on her celebrity. … Once again, due to her own shortcomings, the heiress has demonstrated why she is one of the most well-known women on the planet. …

Ms. Hilton has turned a near non-event into a headline-stealing extravaganza. Like the numerous other celebrities and over 1 million Americans arrested per year, Ms. Hilton was pulled over for driving under the influence earlier this year. … Seeming to bounce in and out of prison … she triggered helicopters to her homes for real-time coverage and countless, sleepless paparazzi to jockey for photographs — a tearful photo of Ms. Hilton snapped by famed war photographer Nick Ut will likely be one of the most recognizable photos of 2007.

“Last summer, Ms. Hilton [said] ‘every decade has an iconic blond like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana, and right now I’m that icon.’ The declaration was equal parts audacious and disturbing.

Ms. Hilton may not inspire the same adulation as Monroe or affection as Princess Diana, but she has achieved a strangely iconic status — due more to her failings than her aptitudes. … Ms. Hilton’s breakdowns in public … have once again brought her to the forefront of public attention. …

“The heiress has continually fed our appetite for access into the private lives of public people, and has subsequently been rewarded with fame and fortune.”

Meghan Keane, writing on “Sex, Lies, and Celebrity Trainwrecks,” June 14 in Brainwash at www.affbrainwash.com

Elite ennui

“Despite its tradition of editorializing in favor of openness and public participation, the prestige press offered virtually no complaints when the Senate recently voted to skip holding hearings on the convoluted ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ package worked out behind closed doors by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Jon Kyl with Bush administration support. …

“You might think that our nation’s elites would find immigration the single most fascinating domestic policy issue to explore. …

“Yet the national newspapers cover immigration with no more enthusiasm than they muster for local zoning board meetings. When they deign to discuss immigration at all, their approach is superficial and sentimental. … The palpable contempt the mainstream media radiates toward anyone well-informed about immigration contributes to the vapidity of its coverage.”

Steve Sailer, writing on “La Raza’s Lapdogs,” in the June 18 issue of the American Conservative

Elvis and identity

“When Elvis Presley was dubbed the king of rock ‘n’ roll in 1956, he had no intention of becoming a political symbol, but he couldn’t avoid it because of the ways in which he unintentionally defied society’s definitions of race, class, and gender. Because of his popularity — no performer had ever before reached as large an audience — Elvis unwittingly had a huge social impact. In the process of becoming America’s first rock star, Elvis began to change how the nation perceived popular music and musicians.

“Elvis and his introduction of what came to be known as rock ‘n’ roll to a white, mainstream audience solidified the association between youth and popular music. By the 1960s, the music helped to establish for teenagers a powerful sense of generational identity.”

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