----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Paris Hilton Mania!

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Hilton Mania!

I don't really want to feed into the whole media circus/bizarro world surrounding Paris Hilton's incarceration, but I would like to share some thoughts. Even if Paris Hilton suddenly was diagnosed with cancer or another dire illness, that alone should not excuse her from her jail time. There are plenty of examples of people who are at death's door who remain incarcerated, so the fact that a spoiled heiress might have some bad dreams or a "nervous breakdown" in jail does not mean she should be released after just three days.

I worked briefly for a trade magazine that covered the prison industry, and I had an opportunity to write several articles about the United States penal system and prison reform, so I would like to think that I am at least a little more informed than the average citizen. Here's the truth: While researching an in-depth article about how to solve prison overcrowding, I learned that mandatory sentencing guidelines in many states require inmates to serve as much as 80 percent or more of their sentence, so even terminally ill inmates who pose no threat to society are kept behind bars. Admittedly, the jail system is different than the prison system, and jail overcrowding is perhaps an even worse problem than prison overcrowding. Still, as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer and members of the Sheriff's Department have pointed out, all jails are capable of providing medical care for inmates.

Look at it this way: If a non-violent three-strikes offender who is 75 years old and has cancer, diabetes and dementia remains locked up because of mandatory sentencing guidelines, why should a party girl who flouts the law like Paris get out early?

Some people are saying that the judge is being especially hard on Paris because she is a celebrity. I don't think so. Do you want that heir-head (to borrow a term from Page Six) driving around drunk while texting people on her Sidekick? We all know that a suspended license meant nothing to her. Maybe a little jail time will actually penetrate her bubble of privilege.

And house arrest? Seriously? What kind of punishment is it not to be able to leave your 2,000-square-foot gated mansion? Just think of the fun "jail-theme" parties she could throw there with all her friends, all without violating the terms of her punishment!

Driving drunk is stupid, although I am sure that many of us have done it, and have just been lucky not to cause an accident or get caught. But getting caught driving on a suspended license not once, but twice, is stupider still. And that is (hopefully) all I will ever write about Paris Hilton. I am still galled by that casting assistant's comment that my face reminded him of Paris Hilton. What an insult!


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