Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What, like, is it about Paris?

SHE never says anything smart. She can't act, dance or sing. She's only OK looking and has a so-so body – thin, but lacking shapeliness and tone.

Yet Paris Hilton has got most of the world mesmerised. In 2006 she was the most Googled search in the world.

Forget about the shallowness. That much of the world is so captivated by the Paris phenomenon says much about the human condition – good and bad.

First the bad news. We're a pretty vacuous bunch. We are more concerned with the sometimes naughty adventures of a party girl than anything remotely virtuous.

Missing from the most-searched Google list was: how to save a starving African child; stopping animal cruelty; donating to cancer research; genocide in Sudan and helping victims of natural disasters.

As a species we like to think we are compassionate, caring and strive to higher things. Paris teaches us otherwise.

But there are a lot of positive things to be taken from Paris – and this is the reason that most people can't get enough of her.

She represents what many people want to be but are too scared to pursue.

Paris is herself. She has thrown out the rule book. She doesn't conform to stereotypical norms and doesn't pretend she wants to make the world a better place or that she has got anything profound to tell us.

Paris teaches us most about the fallacy associated with the search for status and the importance of self-belief.

People want status. Many of us are slaves to it. This drives many of us to unremittingly pursue goals, mainly materialistic, that we think will impress others.

Paradoxically, the best way to obtain acceptance is not by conforming and aspiring to achieve what others want most.

People respect most those who have the courage and commitment to pursue their own passions and goals, even (and in fact especially) if this means bucking contemporary social and economic norms.

It's not so much Paris' wealth that people admire but her courage in not confirming to the celebrity prototype.

The other thing that Paris teaches us is self belief. Studies show that sometimes belief in a thing can make it happen.

People who think they are attractive and desirable and project themselves in that manner are actually more appealing.

So instead of moping around whingeing about your flaws, be like Paris.