- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2007

Because human events aren’t typically all that tidy, historians divide them into digestible epochs that begin and end with the reign of some decapitated royal or, more recently, the round numbers of the Gregorian calendar.

Sometimes, though, the dividing lines are bright, and all the work is done for us.

All right: Before I keep slinging terms like “human events” and “epoch,” you should know, up front, this column is not about important people. Rather, it’s about our culture’s pre-eminent party girls.

It so happens that these bright young things have declined and fallen with eerie synchronicity. (Sorry, Mr. Waugh; couldn’t resist.)

Heiress Paris Hilton (what it must be like, I wonder, to have no discernible occupation other than “heiress”) was just released from a Los Angeles County jail; ostensibly chastened by the experience, she said during her confinement that she felt divinely inspired to change her ways.

Britney Spears, a brief party pal of Miss Hilton‘s, has undergone a tortuous public meltdown that began, late last year, with an ugly child custody battle and culminated, in February, with the bizarre spectacle of the once-virginal pop superstar shaving off her hair.

Lindsay Lohan, finally, nixed a hotly anticipated bash that had been booked for July 2 at the Las Vegas nightclub Pure. The occasion — her 21st birthday — afforded the party the perfect punch line: her first legal alcoholic drink.

But the singer-actress, in and out of rehab, “is focusing on her recovery 100 percent,” according to a spokeswoman.

If the party isn’t over for this threesome — well, let’s just say the neighbors have called the cops and it won’t be long before the paddy wagon arrives.

This isn’t to say relapses aren’t in the offing, or that old habits of excessive self-revelation and overexposure won’t reassert themselves. Most likely, they will.

But it won’t be the same next time.

It seems Miss Hilton, Miss Spears and Miss Lohan have tired of themselves — or the parts of themselves that they share with the public, which is seemingly all of them — almost as much as we have tired of them.

Symbolically, at least, millions of overeager gossip consumers and three young women given to self-display have broken the grip of co-dependency, thanks to sheer existential fatigue, the long arm of the law and the care and feeding provided by Hollywood’s most popular church — rehab.

This is good news for culture watchers who are given to gloomy predictions that everything is going to the dogs — that we’re blind to the sublime because our collective head is buried in the ridiculous — among other distractions — such as cleavage.

This is good news for everyone not named Hilton, Spears or Lohan.

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