Friday, June 08, 2007

A mockery of justice

I have a confession to make. I sometimes read the Hot Gossip on when I am bored at work. I don't read Glamour or People, and I don't watch TV, so I don't care what celebrities are wearing or who they are dating or what drunken revelries they have been involved in. Aside from boredom, the other reason I peruse this page is because I am looking for small morsels of real humanity in these people that seem to have been deified by the media. Mostly, I just get fired up and irritated by the sad, wreckless and destructive lives they lead and wonder if they are ever truly happy. I usually think not. Lately it seems Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are headlining every day and not because they are making a positive difference in the world. Celebrities are just people who happen to be in the media forefront. We know who they are either because of their profession, which makes them a very public person, or because they do a lot of idiotic things that land them on the front page of every magazine and newspaper on a daily basis until the public gets bored of eating up all the garbage they are creating. But underneath the plastic smile, plastic surgery and/or title of actor, they are just normal people, which means they should be treated like normal people, especially in matters of justice.

This comes about after the drama of Paris Hilton willfully violating her probation, which landed her a guilty sentence of 40 some odd days in the slammer. Her mom, who is really no better than her daughter, claimed the sentence was unfair and unjust. Hardly so, Mrs. Hilton. If you or I had our licenses suspended and got caught driving not once but twice, there would be no leniency, and we would have no grounds for appeal. We would get our 40 days in the slammer or whatever the consequence might be. The judge would probably not even think twice about it. But in this case, somehow Paris weaseled her way out of the 40 day sentence to serving only 23 days in a minimum security all female prison in her own private "special needs" cell. I highly doubt you or I would get such treatment. In fact, we would be hauled to the pokey and thurst in with whomever needed a cell mate left to defend ourselves. So she turned herself in Sunday night. Here we are on Thursday, and she has already been released to serve 40 days under house arrest. This is a mockery of our justice system.

The fact that she is an heir to the Hilton fortune and has made herself famous by partying on a nightly basis, swapping boyfriends, fueling feuds with her best friends, starring in an ignorant show called the Simple Life, which is anything but, and having a sex tape of her show up all over the internet should not warrant the special treatment she is getting. Firstly, if I were her parents, I would be appalled at my child for their behavior and would support the jail sentence in the hopes that maybe she would learn a vital lesson about being an adult. But obviously I am a different person than Kathy Hilton. Secondly, celebrities think they can get away with most things and they do because of situations like this. I could probably cite a dozen or more examples of this outside of the Hilton family, but thinking about it pushes me to the brink of losing hope for our civilization.

Sure, there are a lot of celebrities who do great things and try to lead their own lives doing normal every day activities and I applaud them for their efforts in the face of much difficulty. There are also many who use their "star power" to incite change in the world and make a positive impact. But there are also many more who make fools of themselves living completely destructive lives and neglect the unfortunate responsibility they have of being role models for the growing youth of the world. Some probably claim that they did not ask for that responsibility, and they would be right, but it comes naturally with the territory. And like it or not, people, especially impressionable youth, are watching what they do and say every single day. And if they can get out of facing the consequences of their actions as if there are none, youth will begin to believe the same, but the outcome will be very different for them. This is a sad state of affairs and says something pretty distressing about our culture and civilization as a whole.

I don't know Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, and I don't care to ever know them. My interest in them lies solely on the impact they have on what we deem as truth and what we value in our own judicial system. They are products of parenting gone wrong and evidence of the power of the media. We are all witnessing the rapid demise of morals and values, so this is just a wake up call to me to get it right in my life, with my family and in my world.

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