It’s dawned on me that I should pay more respect to Paris Hilton, my dear second cousin who, sadly, I have never met. In the past Laurel and I have enjoyed making catty observations about Paris’ seeming vacuousness. Though undeniably beautiful and sexy, her persona has a Barbie Doll quality that makes you wonder, “Is there anything there?”
However, a recent Oregonian article about Paris led me to look on her in a different light. Her emptiness is the key to her recursive ability to be famous for being famous. Not just for fifteen minutes, but for…who knows?...perhaps a lifetime.
The article’s author (Kristi Turnquist) quotes Jeannette Walls, a gossip columnist for MSNBC, on how Paris’ sex tape affected her career: A sex tape can ruin your career if you have a reputation that can be destroyed, or if you have any sort of credibility. If you don’t have any to begin with, it just enhances your fame. It’s like a postmodern study in public relations.
That’s so Zen, so Taoist. Paris has nothing, so she has everything. Unconcerned with the illusory dualities of right and wrong, wisdom and ignorance, light and dark, Paris has become one with the still point of Nothingness from which yin and yang emerge.
Yes, I can come to no other conclusion than Paris Hilton is an unrecognized sage whose sageness is magnified by its hiddenness. For confirmation from a revered text I turned to the “Tao Te Ching” and read about the Wise Man/Woman:
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea,
Without direction, like the restless wind.
And let us also learn to appreciate Paris more by studying this passage from “The Book of Chuang Tzu,” where a long-lived, greatly-venerated tree appears to Master Shih in a dream and explains why it has never been cut down like other trees:
Because they are useful, they suffer, and they are unable to live out the years Heaven has given them. They have only their usefulness to blame for this destruction wrought by the people. It is the same with all things. I have spent a long time studying to be useless, though on a couple of occasions I was nearly destroyed. However, now I have perfected the art of uselessness, and this is very useful, to me! If I had been of use, could I have grown so vast?
All praise to uselessness! May Paris Hilton live long and prosper in her empty fullness! Paris, you have passed beyond the confining walls of decorum and entered the vastness of the Wu Chi void.