We've long suspected that the weak, clammy feeling in our bones was Paris fatigue and not wicked heatstroke. So it warmed our hearts when Us Weekly editrix Janice Min vowed that the July 9 issue of the celebrity weekly would be devoid of Ms. Hilton. What a beautiful, blessed social experiment: a world without Paris, as imagined by some of the people who helped create the monster in the first place. Could Us Weekly really be peddling such a Utopia? And if so, what would it look like?
The answer is, disappointingly, the same as a world with her. Surprise, surprise the mere absence of Paris doesn't turn Young Hollywood into a hotbed of intellectual debate, rife with legitimate social consciousness. The Paris-free Us Weekly still devoted multiple pages to answering the burning question of Who Wore It Better. The Paris-free Us still reassured its readers that Celebrities Are Just Like Us (in a world sans Paris, they "take out the trash!" and also "try on summer sandals!"). There was a long, photo-filled article about children of celebrities who are at least a thousand times cuter than Paris and a "bonus section" on summer hair. In other words, but for a few more diapers than usual, it was exactly like every other issue of Us, which was both alarming (a land without Paris ought to be more stimulating) and reassuring (in this mixed-up, crazy world, it's good to know that we can reliably turn to Us for a glossy dose of celebrity gossip).
But the most striking thing about the Paris-free issue was that in the very process of trumpeting the ban, the cover broke it via a sneaky red circle in the top left corner bragging that the entire issue was "100% Paris Free." In making so much hay out of banning Paris from its pages, Us gave the heiress more publicity than if it had simply axed her without a word. What's more, the opposite corner touted an interview with Paris's former mortal enemy Nicole Richie. Devoting so much space to Nicole, who owes her entire social standing to She Who Shall Not Be Named (Except for That One Time) felt like Us was obeying the letter of its own law but ignoring its spirit. Paris was the giant bleach-blonde elephant in the room.
Now, don't misunderstand. We admire Min for putting her foot down, which we're sure was a purely altruistic move and had nothing to do with rival People's nabbing Paris's exclusive post-pokey cover shoot, nor with the fact that Min's bid for the interview a charitable donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving) was rejected. Somebody had to take a stand. And though it's depressing that it wasn't, say, Anderson Cooper, who looked like he was choking on his own scorn during that endless post-interview breakdown of Paris's Larry King appearance, at least Min stepped up to bat.
But the truth is, without Us patting itself on the back for its ban, we might never have noticed she was missing delicious proof that for all Paris's red-carpet omnipresence, she's utterly disposable. How much more satisfying would it be if the magazine simply stopped mentioning the tedious heiress as though she never mattered at all? That's the feel-good ending we want. The Fug Girls