A word or two more on Lynn Crosbie's column pluralizing pity(Globe and Mail, June 11 '07), which I quoted from yesterday. The grand conclusion of this think piece on the media piranha feeding on Paris Hilton's prison sentence? Lynn doesn't know if Paris Hilton is a bad person, but she does know her reader is, if (s)he takes any pleasure in Paris Hilton's pain. Excuse me? If one bad action is a final proof, how can Lynn Crosbie claim not to know whether Paris Hilton is a bad person? She describes her as serially taking pleasure not simply in the pain of others, but in pain it's been her pleasure and privilege personally to inflict. That's rather worse than what Lynn accuses her hypothetical reader of doing. But Lynn surely knows that if one bad action makes a bad person, she and I and everyone we know are terrible people, well deserving the crackling eternal roastie flames of Hell. Because all of us act badly often.
I bear Paris Hilton no particular ill will, but she more than earned the jail time she's serving, unlike the people doing five and ten year stretches in Texas for shoplifting. I can sympathize with her fear that paparazzi might somehow snap candids of her peeing, but somebody shuffled into place on an assembly line scaffold in Iraq after a twenty minute trial, staring at the knotted noose the nice American major at the prosecutor's table was so good as to insist on, has loads more to worry about. And if Paris keeps on talking herself up as the heroine of her own soap opera, but vocalizing and carrying on like its principal villain, she'll earn more and worse. To my mind Paris is too young for any coherent judgment to be passed, whether she's a good or bad person--but she's long overdue to make a good start.
C 2007 Martin Heavisides