A couple of weeks ago, I lamented the fact that Joe the Plumber had gotten a book deal. Maybe it's sheer jealousy, but I just have a problem when people with no discernable talent or value manage to take fame, accidental or otherwise, and turn it into cold, hard cash that most people actually have to work hard to attain.This guy did virtually nothing to earn a thing-seriously, the press was at his house at all hours of the day, and Joe was available. When does he actually some plumbing done? He isn't even putting in the work to write the book himself. I might give him a little credit if he sat down and wrote about the bizarre experience of being thrust into the limelight of a presidential campaign. But he didn't even do that; the book is ghost written.

The reason I bring up America's favorite unlicensed, tax-evading plumber is because the big local story of the past weekend was the appearance of Paris Hilton at Park City to promote her new perfume. Much like Joe the Plumber, Paris, the Home Sex Tape Star, has no known talents-not even the ability to plumb-but somehow has "fans" willing to overlook that she is merely famous for being famous.

Some of these fans drove hours just for the priviledge of being in the privilege one's presence. What is the attraction? Who are these people? Are they the same people who fell in love with Sarah Palin for no readily apparent reason?

Palin, by the way, is still just spewing her same stump speech. Campaigning for Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia senate run-off election, Palin merely switched out "John McCain" with "Saxby Chambliss" and repeated her tired, but still somehow crowd pleasing lines. I guess once you've memorized a good speech, you can't give it up so easily. Meanwhile, the woman billed as "America's Most Popular Governor" has seen her popularity ratings in Alaska drop like a stone, nearly 30 percent since she was inflicted upon an unsuspecting American populace.

Anyway, there were Moms who brought their teenaged daughters to see Miss Hilton, saying she was a role model. Really? The woman who, once a private sex tape leaked into the public eye, decided to capitlize on it for millions, and who did jail time for breaking probabtion on DUI charges, is a role model? Yeah, OK. Can't wait to find out how those kids turn out. Whoever the dude is in the tape, he at least earned his money. He had to risk his health to actually sleep with Hilton.

But people came out in droves to see Hilton, and many were willing to shell out hundreds of dollars just for the opportunity to get an autographed 8x10 and a bottle of over-priced perfume. Recession? What recession? Apparently flawed priorities are recession-proof.

The best line in the whole story in the Sunday paper came from Paris herself. She said that she is "proof that if you follow your dreams, anything can happen." Yeah, sure Paris. You're proof of that.

How about "if you are born into wealth, have an insane trust fund that allows you to live a work-free life in and among a crowd filled with wealth and celebrity, and attract hangers-on hoping to cash in on some of your unearned fame by financing projects with your name attached, you too can avoid the consequences that come with sex tapes and arrests." That's not, as Paris might say, hot.

Rudick's email is brudick55@gmail.com

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