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Hitchens on Hilton

It's impossible not to be up to date on the great non-story of the past week. I happened to be listening to Lowell Green on CFRA when one of the legal twists in the story occured, and the station switched over to CNN coverage. Lowell did this as a joke, but it was clear CNN took it very seriously. It was reported with as much gravity as an assassination of a world leader or a major earthquake striking the West coast. I haven't watched TV news for a long time, but even I was surprised that it had gotten that bad.

Christopher Hitchens looks at what's driving that wall-to-wall coverage, and doesn't like what he sees:

The supposedly "broad-minded" culture turns out to be as prurient and salacious as the elders in The Scarlet Letter. Hilton is legally an adult but the treatment she is receiving stinks—indeed it reeks—of whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse.

I cannot imagine what it might be like, while awaiting a prison sentence for a tiny infraction, to see dumb-ass TV-addicted crowds howling with easy, complicit laughter as Sarah Silverman (a culpably unfunny person) describes your cell bars being painted to look like penises and jokes heavily about your teeth being at risk because you might gnaw on them. And this on prime time, and unrebuked. Lynching parties used to be fiestas, as we have no right to forget, and the ugly coincidence of sexual nastiness—obscenity is the right name for it—and vengefulness is what seems to lend the savor to the Saturnalia.

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