The Corner

Paris, Texas

Corner-wise, Jonah seems to have dropped off Montreal’s disoriented map. But this column of his makes a good point:

The problem is that Madonna — like Hilton and Anderson — is irrelevant. These celebrities can afford their sins or, if you prefer, their mistakes because they’re rich and famous. Madonna told one interviewer that she’s never changed a diaper. How many “working moms” can say that?

What matters is the signal such people send.

Forget the question of “bad” versus “good” for a second. These people got rich by glamorizing behaviors and values normal people simply cannot afford. The working-class teenage girl who tries to follow in Madonna’s or Paris’s or Pam’s footsteps isn’t going to follow them into the pages of People magazine. She’s going to follow those footsteps straight off a cliff.

That’s right. Celebrity behavior has been pretty consistent for the last century: in the Twenties, Hollywood stars shagged anything that moved, did drugs, divorced routinely – but they (or, at any rate, the studios) understood that it would not be good for this stuff to get out, and on the rare occasions it did get out it was a career ender. The gulf between the celeb life and the lives of the masses was a very well-kept secret.

Today it’s not. But a nation cannot live like Hollywood celebrities, and, when it tries to, the result is a huge amount of unnecessary human wreckage. It’s sad that Pamela Anderson has sex with men to pay off poker debts. It’s even sadder that viewers of daytime TV think it’s a heartwarming love story.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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