Likens: People love being offended
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 01:09
If there’s one thing people love, it’s puppies. If there’s another, it’s being offended. Because no one important was quoted saying anything stupid last week, all eyes were on Paris Hilton for her comments on homosexual men. And so, offended they were.
“Gay guys are the horniest people in the world,” Hilton said, presumably wiping vodka from her collarbone. “They’re disgusting… most of them probably have AIDs.”
Mere hours after prancing into one of the most hotly debated topics in American society—whether or not gays actually are subhuman cootie-machines—Hilton found herself forced to break out the crayons and have her publicist assist in scrawling out an apology.
“Gay people are the strongest and most inspiring people I know,” she wrote. “I always have been and always will be a huge supporter of the gay community.”
Hilton's message was sent to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) where it was then published on their website. Of course, this much is an expected consequence when one goes around throwing their opinions into the public forum. Except she didn’t. In fact, Hilton’s statement was in a private conversation with a homosexual friend, recorded by a taxi driver.
Naturally, Hilton has a perfectly logical explanation for how the conversation was taken out of context, but that will likely do very little to calm the storm. “Disgusting” is one of those words that can be rather hard to take out of context, especially when overheard from behind closed doors.
This is where the torches and pitchforks lose me. Not only because this was a private conversation, but more so because people actually seem to care about Hilton’s opinion.
America is not obsessed with Hilton because of her insightful commentary or trademark witticisms. It should come as no surprise when such nuggets of wisdom as “all gays have AIDs” come fumbling out of her mouth. The world enjoys watching her for one reason, and one reason alone: Hilton is so mind-numbingly dull that the only thing she has ever outwitted on record is the male ejaculatory system.
Not frank enough? Alright, then. Paris Hilton is an idiot.
We know this, we understand who she is, and yet some will still insist on getting their feathers rustled because the one trick pony did the only trick it knows, falling down on its face. If anything, she should be given a cookie, a pat on the head and sent on her way.
The amount of passion being poured into fussing over Hilton’s personal opinions illustrates an interesting caricature of our society. Running Hilton through a Google search renders over 14 times as many results as Stephen Hawking. Why anyone even remotely cares what the village idiot has to say about anything—homosexuals included—is beyond me.
Celebrities have somewhat overstepped their bounds, in my opinion. Or, more accurately, our entire society has invited them into our homes and asked them to set their feet up on the coffee table.
Since when has Martin Sheen, Lady Gaga or Peyton Manning been qualified to give their opinions on politics, social issues or leading shampoo brands? Why are the American people so interested in and infuriated by the opinions of celebrities, mind you, a group we ourselves have already stereotyped as being irresponsible, spoiled and egotistical? And scraping the bottom of the barrel, how could the personal opinion of a person as truly talentless and irrelevant as Hilton possibly make headlines nationwide? The explosive value of Hilton’s banter was so assumed that the taxi driver who recorded it knew from the start he had gold on his hands; he sought out buyers and sold it within two weeks, potentially for thousands of dollars. How is this possible?
A satisfying answer is illusive, because an honest answer could only be depressingly cynical enough to drive one to drink.
Perhaps America is simply addicted to being offended. Even the fact that Hilton made reference to AIDS in jest has caused a secondary stir.
And so there it finally is. America has spoken. It is likely that it will soon be illegal to display bad taste even in private. Lawsuits filed by men from Nantucket will inevitably swamp the legal system.