Perp Paris and other news

Paris Hilton takes over the cable news networks. Our democracy hangs in the balance.


Michael Scherer
June 8, 2007 8:38PM (UTC)

So today is a big news day: The immigration bill collapses in the Senate. The new Iraq war czar admits that the military is as quagmired as ever. Rep. William Jefferson pleads not guilty to bribery.

But don't worry about that. In fact, stop everything you are doing and turn on the television. Paris Hilton is about to do a perp drive back to the courthouse. If you have been living in a cave, here's the back story: Hilton, a lanky blond heiress, was sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating probation in a reckless-driving case. After three or five days of serving her sentence (the exact number is a matter of interpretation) she was released Thursday by the local sheriff for unspecified medical reasons to serve the rest of her term in home detention. The problem is that the judge who sentenced her specifically barred home detention in his order. This afternoon Hilton and the sheriff will have to explain themselves to the judge.

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The news is so big that CNN International, the serious show on CNN, interrupted its programming for a live shot of nothing happening outside Hilton's Hollywood home. "It just doesn't get any better than this," said CNN International correspondent Sibila Vargas.

It is hard to disagree. Hilton is a vessel for the nation's passions. She tells us who we are. At stake is not just the mental health of a rich party girl but the founding assumptions of our democracy. As someone just said on Fox News, "She has become the poster child for preferential treatment."

So it's up to you, socialite Hilton, Judge Michael T. Sauer and sheriff Lee Baca. Show us what America is all about. We are all watching.


Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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