Paris Hilton is an awe inspiring master of self-promotion who has generated a public persona built on an uneasy, queasy combination of idiot-savant genius and calculated puppetry. As a result, the celebutante has managed to squeeze a ton of multi-media bang out of a few micrograms of God-given talent.
It was a just a matter of time before video-sharing sensation YouTube and Hilton met in an orgy of viral self-promotion – and it’s no accident that for these two web-spreading forces of nature, that time is now.
Paris, busy hawking her self-titled (of course) new album and the surprisingly well-charting single “Stars Are Blind,” was an obvious, if shallow, choice for YouTube to glom onto for its first “branded channel,” with sponsorship by Fox’s hit TV showPrison Break.
YouTube and Paris aren’t alone in this venture: they enlisted the services of ShoZu, a cool new service that enables users to instantly upload photos and videos directly from their cell phone to the web. The Paris Hilton webchannel features music and clips of Paris, including “candid” videos of her “wild adventures” during a recent promotional tour of Tokyo.
Being an intrepid reporter and glutton for punishment, I sampled a number of the clips of Paris in action.
One video shows Paris addressing the Japanese press and ably demonstrates her inimitable ability to express near-fatal ennui via a constricted range of emotion and a vocabulary that would properly embarrass a second-grader.
“I am so excited, my album just dropped today,” she droned. “I can’t even describe how excited I am.”
Her black hole negative energy is in glaring contrast to the frenzied Japanese media enveloping her. Where many celebrities might OD on the frenetic mania of the Japanese media — journalists pop up and down like whack-a-moles — Paris’ detachment is so regal that one wonders if the castle is in fact vacant. A series of blank stares, arch poses, and robotic responses to the barrage of questions creates something close to a Japanese art film: surreal, bizarre, and fully confusing.
For a change of pace, I watched a “behind the scenes” clip of the heiress in the studio working on “Nothing In This World” with producer Dr. Luke, who shows not a hint of irony when he comments on her involvement in the creative process:
“Paris did all the vocals on this song, a lot of people don’t realize actually that a lot of times in songs, the artist’s doesn’t sing the background part and stuff like that, a lot of really big artists. I was determined to make sure she did everything, and she was a trooper and did it.”
Neat, maybe we can give her a ringpop or something.
Paris also talks about her taste in music which she describes as “eclectic,” which fooled at least one commenter on her site into bold proclamations regarding her intelligence.
“Not only can she sing, but she has a good vocab too! ‘Eclectic mix’ – she’s no dumb blonde! She’s just wildly crazy:P (in a good way).”
Set the bar low, I say.
And just for fun, I watched a playful clip of Paris visiting a Toyko pet store, where she manhandled multiple puppies, rolled around on the floor, and cooed about how “cute” and “small” they were, which would be appropriate it she were six, but as a 25-year-old makes her seem a tad simple.
Paris’ album is rather alarmingly catchy and well-produced. We are all guaranteed to hear more of it, as “Stars Are Blind” has acheived the following Billboard chart numbers: #8 Hot Dance Airplay,#1 Hot Dance Club Play,#10 Hot Digital Songs 10, #14 Pop 100,#18 Billboard Hot 100.
Not bad for someone half the western world hates, but apparently the other half loves or at least actively tolerates.
Hilton seems driven by a potent mix of self-entitlement, delusion, and easy wealth to conquer all forms of entertainment. Fortunately for Paris, she is acutely unaware of her limitations, that she has no barriers to face or obstacles to overcome – the world is her oyster to purchase. YouTube and ShoZu are smart enough to tag along for the ride.