In the wake of our great pop-cultural reassessment project, where we who have been paying attention reconsider the shitty ways in which celebrities like Britney Spears have been talked about in the press, comes the announcement of a new Paris Hilton memoir. This is either a natural progression or a worst-case scenario or, depending on your level of cynicism, both.
Page Six reports that “the upcoming publication was acquired by Dey Street’s editorial director Carrie Thornton. Dey Street describes Hilton’s memoir as ‘both searingly honest and deeply personal’ and adds, ‘Hilton will share the real Paris Hilton as her celebrity persona evolved.’” Dey Street published Jessica Simpson’s Open Book in 2020, a memoir so well-articulated and apparently candid that it won over people who never so much as thought to turn to Simpson for depth (including me).
“A publishing insider told us when the book was being shopped that it would try and capitalize on ‘the success of Jessica Simpson’s book, and nostalgia for early 2000s-era pop culture,’” adds Page Six.
But as we atone as a culture for our past misdeeds, I wonder if Hilton will follow suit. Things like her expressed toxicity about Kim Kardashian’s body and her support for Trump (including initially claiming the women who accused him of sexual assault were “just trying to get attention and get fame,” which she later apologized for) have been left out of the conversation as Hilton re-endears herself to culture via her podcast and last year’s YouTube documentary This Is Paris. Most egregious was her repeated use of the n-word on camera, a potential career-ender when it happens once in this day and age regardless of the context, let alone several times as an intentional slur. Hilton is in the odd position of having been unfairly smeared (slut-shamed over her sex tape, which she contends was released by her ex without her consent and thus is revenge porn) while essentially given a pass by the mainstream media for that which she should be held accountable. Add onto this the sleight of hand present in her claims that she’s been misunderstood for so long while actively taking part in said misdirection by playing a baby-voiced character that is not the real Paris, and you have a public figure who is either incredibly complicated or exactingly selective in terms of her presentation. A good book will distinguish between the two and take the time necessary to dissect the former. Let’s see if Hilton’s self-awareness and humility are up for the challenge.
(Updated 3/2/22 with new details)