Self-Indulgence

"The very rich are different from you and me," said, F. Scott Fitzgerald, long before Paris Hilton was born. Have you ever seen a more vivid example of bold-faced arrogance and contempt for the law? As if the American public isn't already cynical enough about the role money and power play in the justice system, along comes this filthy-rich poster child for narcissism and greed.

Ms. Hilton is one of those excesses arising out of our capitalist system, believeing everything can be bought for the right price. She thus believes her family fortune places her above the law. (You might remember the name Leona Helmsley, aka, the "Queen of Mean," who felt the same way about paying taxes. She was ultimately convicted of tax fraud and went to the slammer for more than a few days.)

After all, if you have enough money to buy expensive lawyers, why should you have to show up in court at all? To call this little twit a spoiled brat would be to give a good name to brats. First, she was able to get her original sentence reduced from 45 days to 23 days. After the public had time to digest that without any major indignation, it was time to test their patience again. That's when those behind the scenes of Hilton's "defense" put plan B in action.

Using money and political muscle they were able to concoct a story about her "medical condition" and get her sprung in 3 days. That was the proverbial "last straw" as far as us common folk are concerned. With the help of a robust media, the astonishing display of hubris was splashed across the news wires, and public ire became nation-wide outrage. You have to wonder about the type of mentality that was operating in this conspiracy to get the pop tart out of a cell and into her luxurious mansion to complete her punishment on "home confinement."

I dare say that a large percentage of the population would be only too happy to trade places with the ditzy damsel and be "punished" with residence in a Beverly Hills mansion, complete with pools, terraces and rococo flourishes. By what stretch of the imagination can this be viewed as justice being served? The answer is, of course, that the wealthy view justice as merely another luxury to be purchased, like the latest Ralph Lauren original.

To be fair, I can't say I really blame Paris for being a self-centered elitist. If it's true that we are a product of our experiences, she is nothing more than what she's been exposed to all of her young, pampered life. If you taught a dog, even a poodle with a Beverly Hills coiffure, to urinate on your antique Persian rug, you could hardly penalize her when the odor became unbearable. Similarly, if the poodle happens to be the heiress to a hotel empire who's been raised to believe she can urinate on the justice system, it's not difficult to imagine her state of hysteria when she's faced with some cold hard facts of life. Paris Hilton is a naïve little child who was raised to believe that she breathes a finer quality of air than the plebeians who live on the periphery of her majestic universe.

Her shock at being treated like she's just another human being is indicative of the insular world in which she was created. Imagine being born into a family that owns major hotels around the world. Imagine having butlers, maids, chauffeurs and other assorted servants bowing to your every whim from the time you're born. Imagine never having to look at the price of an article of clothing or the tab for a luxury car. It would only be natural for you to assume that Daddy and Mommy will lay out the red carpet for you from the cradle to the grave.

Then one day you end up in a courtroom in front of a judge who believes the law applies to everyone. However, you still don't panic because your parents have influence with the county sheriff; before you know it, you're going to be eating Beluga, drinking Dommy P and having your weekly pedicure at the Beverly Hills digs. When the curtain comes crashing down on that self-indulgent scenario, all that's left is to cry for your Mommy, pout your lips and screech about how unfair life is. Ms. Hilton, I submit that you don't have the faintest idea about the fairness of life.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.
"The very rich are different from you and me," said, F. Scott Fitzgerald, long before Paris Hilton was born. Have you ever seen a more vivid example of bold-faced arrogance and contempt for the law? As if the American public isn't already cynical enough about the role money and power play in the justice system, along comes this filthy-rich poster child for narcissism and greed.

Ms. Hilton is one of those excesses arising out of our capitalist system, believeing everything can be bought for the right price. She thus believes her family fortune places her above the law. (You might remember the name Leona Helmsley, aka, the "Queen of Mean," who felt the same way about paying taxes. She was ultimately convicted of tax fraud and went to the slammer for more than a few days.)

After all, if you have enough money to buy expensive lawyers, why should you have to show up in court at all? To call this little twit a spoiled brat would be to give a good name to brats. First, she was able to get her original sentence reduced from 45 days to 23 days. After the public had time to digest that without any major indignation, it was time to test their patience again. That's when those behind the scenes of Hilton's "defense" put plan B in action.

Using money and political muscle they were able to concoct a story about her "medical condition" and get her sprung in 3 days. That was the proverbial "last straw" as far as us common folk are concerned. With the help of a robust media, the astonishing display of hubris was splashed across the news wires, and public ire became nation-wide outrage. You have to wonder about the type of mentality that was operating in this conspiracy to get the pop tart out of a cell and into her luxurious mansion to complete her punishment on "home confinement."

I dare say that a large percentage of the population would be only too happy to trade places with the ditzy damsel and be "punished" with residence in a Beverly Hills mansion, complete with pools, terraces and rococo flourishes. By what stretch of the imagination can this be viewed as justice being served? The answer is, of course, that the wealthy view justice as merely another luxury to be purchased, like the latest Ralph Lauren original.

To be fair, I can't say I really blame Paris for being a self-centered elitist. If it's true that we are a product of our experiences, she is nothing more than what she's been exposed to all of her young, pampered life. If you taught a dog, even a poodle with a Beverly Hills coiffure, to urinate on your antique Persian rug, you could hardly penalize her when the odor became unbearable. Similarly, if the poodle happens to be the heiress to a hotel empire who's been raised to believe she can urinate on the justice system, it's not difficult to imagine her state of hysteria when she's faced with some cold hard facts of life. Paris Hilton is a naïve little child who was raised to believe that she breathes a finer quality of air than the plebeians who live on the periphery of her majestic universe.

Her shock at being treated like she's just another human being is indicative of the insular world in which she was created. Imagine being born into a family that owns major hotels around the world. Imagine having butlers, maids, chauffeurs and other assorted servants bowing to your every whim from the time you're born. Imagine never having to look at the price of an article of clothing or the tab for a luxury car. It would only be natural for you to assume that Daddy and Mommy will lay out the red carpet for you from the cradle to the grave.

Then one day you end up in a courtroom in front of a judge who believes the law applies to everyone. However, you still don't panic because your parents have influence with the county sheriff; before you know it, you're going to be eating Beluga, drinking Dommy P and having your weekly pedicure at the Beverly Hills digs. When the curtain comes crashing down on that self-indulgent scenario, all that's left is to cry for your Mommy, pout your lips and screech about how unfair life is. Ms. Hilton, I submit that you don't have the faintest idea about the fairness of life.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.