Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Eating Peanuts

Where the hell is Paris Hilton?

It's only been three weeks since she walked out of jail like she was
sashaying down a runway, her graceful gait illuminated by the light of a
thousand cameras.

And now, story over. The public sleeps, their blood lust satisfied. Paris

All that remains are the low groans of the media who woke up the next day
with a roaring hangover, after indulging in an orgy of excessive coverage
like so many sailors on shore leave.

As one wag noted, 50 years from now, someone might write a book on the
incident called "When Humans Lost Their Minds."

After a lot of naval gazing, the collective media didn't exactly promise
never to do it again (see David Beckham). But there have been calls for
restraint and assurances in some quarters that such stories would be reported
in context of news on Dafur, the war in Iraq and the presidential campaigns.

We'll see about that. Covering the rise and fall of celebrities, even
talentless paparazzi creations, is like eating peanuts.

A real test is coming next month. That's when a trial is scheduled to
begin for a young woman who makes Paris Hilton look like Mother Theresa.

We speak of course of Nicole Richie, socialite, actress and most notably
Paris' sidekick in the TV show "The Simple Life."

The adopted daughter of singer Lionel Richie, Nicole, among other
problems, has Michael Jackson as her godfather.

Just to put things in prospective, Paris was pulled over for driving
erratically and charged with a misdemeanor.

Her handlers said she hadn't eaten, had one margarita and claimed her
field sobriety test showed "the very absolute lowest reading you can possibly
get to warrant being taken in."

Paris problems started when she got caught twice for driving with a
suspended license. The authorities charged that those actions, along with
the failure to enroll in a court-ordered alcohol education program
constituted a violation of the terms of her probation. And, as we all well
know, off to jail she went.

Nicole's first splashy foray into the annals of celebrity justice started
in 2003 when she was stopped in Malibu and charged with possesion of heroin.
And, oh yeah, she was driving with a suspended license.

She almost has Paris trumped right there.

But then Richie was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after she
failed a field sobriety test and was charged with driving under the influence
on the 134 Freeway in the Burbank/Glendale area.

If that isn't enough, she was allegedly piloting her Mercedes the wrong
way on that well-traveled road.

According to news reports, she admitted to using marijuana and Vicodin
before the incident.

The California Vehicle Code says that if convicted of DUI twice within 10
years, a person can be sentenced to between 90 days and a year in jail and
have driving privileges suspended. But that sentence could be reduced if the
convicted agrees to probation.

It looks like tough times ahead for Nicole. Of course, she could strike a
plea bargain with prosecutors but it's going to be difficult in view of Paris'

I mean, if Paris gets 30 days for a suspended license, what does a trip
the wrong way down the freeway deserve? Life without parole?

And yet.

Rumor has Nicole is pregnant. The sources are the usual Internet gossip
sites but there's enough buzz to make you wonder.

In a court filing, her lawyers said they intend to use defense expert Terence McGee, a
medical doctor specializing in drug abuse, to challenge the prosecution's scientific evidence
against Richie.

Will her legal team rule the day? If not, will Lee Baca intervene because of Nicole's
delicate condition? What role will City Attorney Rock Delgadillo play? And what ever happend
to him anyway?

This has all the trappings of a soap opera the likes of which haven't been seen since Ana
Nicole Smith. Which was six months ago.

It will all takes place in the slowest news month of the year.

So stay tuned. And tuned. And tuned.

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