In a week in which storms have wrought havoc in New South Wales, Bangladesh has been devastated by mudslides, and Hamas has threatened its would-be partners Fatah with a coup in the West Bank and Gaza strip, one item has dominated the news. It has not been climate change, although this issue continues to rightly be on the lips of politicians and citizens everywhere.
The big news has been Paris Hilton, the heiress and celebrity who is famous for being famous. Hilton has been in the news this week because she was sent to jail for drink driving. More specifically, she had already been caught drink-driving and had her licence suspended. When pulled over for a second time and asked why she was driving, she claimed not to know her licence was suspended, even though the document suspending her licence was in the glove box of her car.
Putting aside the rather obvious questions this raises, one cannot help but be drawn to examine and attempt to discern the vagaries of the case. We had, in quick succession, Paris in jail, Paris being excused on medical grounds, Paris on early parole with ankle bracelet (which must be cumbersome in heels), Paris back in jail due to a judge over-ruling a sheriff, and finally, Paris finding God and promising to stop acting 'dumb'.
One wonders what all this has contributed to the sum of human existence.
In 508BC, a man named Cleisthenes came to power in Athens. Cleisthenes was of the nobility of that city, and gifted with rank and privilege, like Hilton. He was also a democrat, in the original sense of the word, in that he believed in the equality of all before the law, and further, that all citizens should also be required to contribute to the society in which they lived.
In ancient Athens, this meant serving on juries, participating in or sponsoring festivals, perhaps serving as a soldier. The point was that one made a contribution. Cleisthenes' reforms led to a direct and empowering form of democracy that has shaped our society to this day.
Year 12 students are at present preparing for and sitting their mid-year exams. The classics students among them, few though they may be, could well have come across Cleisthenes in their studies. Almost all of them will have found it hard to avoid news of the notorious heiress.
Few would deny that teachers are a hard working lot, or that they make a real contribution to our lives. If we fail our teachers, and allow ideology to overtake common sense in the looming dispute over performance-based pay, there may well be fewer people who remember Cleisthenes. There will certainly be more who are eager to know what Paris did next, and not what she contributes to our society.
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14 June 2007
One must realise that the "news" published in the daily press is news to the editors and journalists, not the reading public, most of whom have the common sense to ignore such trivia.
14 June 2007
Perhaps Paris Hilton's life"style"should be documented only in Legal and Psychiatric reports; the consequences of her inappropiate actions should offer no inspiration to the media or public at large.
Conviction and prison sentencing in the legal domain AND behaviour modification/psychotherapy(with a COMPETENT psychiatrist)to address her Borderline personality disorder issues would seem to be the only reports which should have been written.
BRIGHTON LE SANDS
14 June 2007
Athens and Paris...an interesting comparison. I think they should keep her locked up for a lot longer than 3 weeks.
14 June 2007
I can think of a few of a few other 'celebrities' who contribute nothing who could do with a stint in jail, too.
15 June 2007
As of now Paris has not made a worthwhile contribution to Society. Dr Phil tells us "past experiences are a pointer to future experiences.." A prayer or two may be of help?
18 June 2007
great article-liked the line- must be difficult in high heels!
06 September 2007
this article reveals the despondency of material gain that is not achieved through the work of that person and therefore the learning of responsibility one learns and values through investing in a life purpose that is derived through purpose, desire to invest in one's life and purpose and as a result to achieve one's goals that one has designed for one self and thru that that to encompass the greater part in community and the part we can play in that. thank you for this article