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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Paris Hilton....

Paris Hilton and the Hillbillies

In a yet another stupid reality television series, Paris Hilton, rich heiress to the hotel chain fortune, and her equally rich and equally pampered girlfriend, filmed a series where they lived and worked with a real southern farm family in the Arkansas Ozarks.

The program was billed as a cultural conflict between rural and urban lifestyles, though, in reality, it was more of a conflict between rich and poor lifestyles. Apparently, Hilton and friend have led sheltered lives and have never had previous opportunity for a cultural experience in how the rest of the world lives.

While it appeared that this would be nothing but another opportunity for people to laugh at redneck hillbillies, it turned out to be an opportunity to make fun of the arrogant rich instead. Dressing in skimpy outfits, flirting, and playing it up for the cameras, the women managed to make a visible spectacle of their values, which were in obvious conflict with those of ordinary people.

Now I must admit that I watched only one episode of this series, that being about all I could stomach, but I have read and heard about the other episodes. The main reason most people watched the show was because of an X-rated video of Paris Hilton that circulated the Internet prior to the show being aired. People were curious about who this person is that everyone is talking about, and what she is really like, as if were not already obvious.

While it is difficult to know whether these Barbie types were as clueless about the real world as they pretended or whether they were exaggerating it for the filming, enough of it was apparently true to give a somewhat accurate picture of the great social disparity between the filthy rich and just plain folks. In a country where most consider themselves middle class, it was not a pretty picture.

The rich took nothing seriously. Work was something that other people have to do. The wealthy are used to breaking rules, which were made for people without enough money to buy their way out of trouble. Without their credit cards, wads of money, and cell phones, they scarcely knew how to exist and were bored most of the time. So, they spent the small amount they earned at various minimum wage jobs on drinking and partying, a way of amusing themselves in the alien environment called real life.

Shopping at Wal-Mart was nothing like shopping at Sax on daddy’s credit card apparently. They charged personal items on their employer’s charge account, ran up bar bills they could not pay, and destroyed property in drunken temper tantrums. In the protected environment of their rich existence, such behavior was viewed as simply eccentric, not as the serious breach of social etiquette and personal conduct that it was in a small rural town.

We’ve seen the farm vs. city conflict before when Eva Gabor left the city and tried to take all it with her to live a country-style life in Green Acres. The difference was that Eva Gabor at least had class.

And so it goes. After the cameras quit rolling, the rich returned home to their conspicuous consumption and privileged life and the poor but honest family got a bit of notoriety by being on television and trying to teach selfish brats the values that average people hold, a lesson that didn’t take. The rich brats said thanks with a new car to replace the beat up pickup truck they had driven while visiting. Everybody wins.

Well, not really. We were reminded that multi millionaires live much better than the rest of us, but do not really appreciate their pampered existence. It left us wondering who is really rich in things that matter, the shallow and worthless socialites of the world or the lower class family that values honesty and truthfulness and works hard for everything. The answer is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss


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