Michael: Paris Hilton, American PrincessParis Hilton recently announced that, "I'm the closest thing to American royalty..." At first, I was annoyed. Then, I was sickened. Then, I decided that she was right.
Royalty has often been held to personify the zeitgeist of a time and place. An American peerage should likewise serve as an exemplar of our times. Certainly, they could not serve any overt political function, but rather they could serve to embody the strongest trends and actual (rather than professed or aspirational) values of our society, writ large and made flesh, so that we can be reminded of what sort of society we are creating.
In that case, Paris is perfect for elevation to the American peerage. Scion of dynastic family wealth she had no part of creating, sporting a name that functions as a brand, vain to the point of self-obsession, possessed of the moronic beauty of youth, superficially glamorous but morally and intellectually impoverished, famous mainly for public lewdness and exhibitionism, owning the mating habits of a Bonobo, and sporting a massive air of entitlement, Paris is eminently qualified to be a member of America's theoretical peerage. In fact, she is a strong candidate for America's Princess.
However, I don't think it is a title of any honor, as Paris evidently believes it to be.