My effusive thanks to George Kelley for this link. It's an excellent article. Really. No kidding. Read it.
The Trash Princess by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal Autumn 2006: "The Trash Princess
Kay S. Hymowitz
Why Americans love to hate Paris Hilton
Maybe 500 channels and an epidemic of bloggerhea mean that Americans have less of a common culture, but we all still share . . . Paris Hilton. The naughty blond heiress is, like, wallpapering our brains. Even if you don’t read the tabloids, you can’t escape her. There’s a (topless) Vanity Fair cover, a Barbara Walters interview, a best-selling single, a CD, a jewelry line, a best-selling book, a nightclub chain. Madame Tussaud has immortalized her in its wax museum. She can command $100,000 just to show up at a restaurant or club opening for an hour. She is among the top Googled people in the United States. And don’t think you can just get on a plane, go to (say) Auckland, and live Paris-free. In 2005, she was among the most popular search topics in New Zealand—not to mention Germany, Japan, and Australia. She is also a huge lure in Mexico, Turkey, France, and Sweden (so much for the enlightened sexuality of the Scandinavians). Who could top her in the fame department? Liberal commentators have dubbed estate-tax repeal “the Paris Hilton tax cut,” and the term has stuck. Madonna never had a piece of federal legislation named after her."