Friday, June 22, 2007

An interview I'll never get

I happened across the channel-surfing equivalent of a wipe-out last night.

It was a promo spot. I recognized Ryan Seacrest and lingered, wondering what he did for a day job when he and Simon weren’t cat fighting on American Idol. Turns out he’s an “entertainment reporter,” which is sort of like being the referee on American Gladiators: you only look like you’re doing something helpful.

The latest news? His exclusive interview with… her. From! Jail! She’s a changed woman! Tune in!

“Exclusive” is a word one rarely associates with the Lady Hilton. She’s been poorly raised, indulged, and fawned over for nothing more than her money and her compulsion to put herself in the public eye any way possible. (She puts out to the media so readily, one suspects that she may be in the habit elsewhere.)

We are all, I am sure, so very tired of the subject. One can tune in here [language alert] and vent all about it. I’m going to try a different tack, since at this point it’s like whacking a piƱata that’s already on the ground. I’m going to take her epiphany seriously and give her some serious advice, based on my 18 years of trying to live for Christ.

Paris –

Imagine for a moment that you are on a long trip to an unfamiliar town, and you are lost. It’s a remote area, and getting late. You may not have enough gas to reach your goal. Then, a helpful motorist sees your convoy pulled over at the side of the road. He knows the area, knows your destination, and gives you directions – first here to the only gas station within fifty miles, then to the highway, to this exit, left at that traffic light, and you’re golden.

Now you feel better. You have a direction. But otherwise – you are still in the same remote area, still low on gas, and no closer to your destination. The only difference here is how you feel about all of that – now you have hope because you have the right direction.

Your conversion, even if genuine, is exactly the same way. You can talk to as many broadcasters and celebrity kiss-ups as you please – but you’ll notice that this isn’t any different than your behavior before you went to jail. You still have your money, your insane friends, your entourage, and your parents. In short, you can talk about being a changed woman all you want – and because of the feeling of hope, you will believe that you have changed – but truth is, the only thing new is the direction. And you still have to follow that before you can be in a different place in your life.

And, like trying to get to your unfamiliar town, it’s almost certain that it won’t be without its dangers. Your may run out of gas before you reach the station, which may be closed in any case. You may make a wrong turn and wind up lost in an entirely new remote area. You may even grow frustrated and decide “I recognize where we are now,” and disregard the directions entirely.

So, if you want to really be changed, the feeling is not the best indicator. You’re still in jail, still talking to the media, still hoarding the spotlight that has been your god up until now, so there’s really nothing new yet, is there? The real test is when you’re free, and it’s been a month or two since anyone’s heard from you, and you have to decide whether to hit that hot nightspot. The test is afterward, when you’ve had a few and are fumbling for your car keys; or alone in the room with the really hot guy from the Abercrombie catalogue. The test is when the people who need you to NOT change start to tell you that they don’t like what’s happened to you – and some of them will be dishonest and say that they’re worried, you’re not the woman you were, something is clearly wrong, and they only want to help you.

This isn’t supposed to discourage you, Paris – but you should go into this with your eyes open. A lot of people make money off of the Old Paris: crazy, spoiled, party-girl Paris; who has rarely shown nor been taught healthy restraint and good judgment. They need you to keep living the old life, even if you die young because of it. After that, they’ll find the next person to eat alive and forget all about you; or worse, go on TV and shed tears about your fate when it was within their power to help you avoid it. It’s easier for them to just keep on in the old way, and harder to risk losing their meal ticket (you) by telling you what you need to know.

Well, obviously you’re not my meal ticket. I’ve never met you. I can’t benefit in any tangible way, one way or the other. But, if this spiritual event is true, then it makes us brother and sister, and as the saying goes, one can’t choose family. So believe me – it’s easy to feel spiritual and changed. It’s harder to take that and commit to a creed and a church and then live up to those standards. At times they even feel like polar opposites and you will want to ditch the creed, or the spirituality. But you need both – all feelings will just make you a more famous version of this person, while all creed will make you a bitter, joyless scold.

Start with prayer. And then end with prayer. In the end, you are not Jesus’ meal ticket either, and unlike me, He actually can help you with all the stuff I’ve just been describing. Good luck.

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