Over the Hilton

The entirety of Paris Hilton's fame has been the result of a mixture of dumb luck and carefully orchestrated "happenings," with her snit the other day on "Good Morning America" only the latest wildly successful attempt to garner attention.

And guess what? We did, even as her influence is on the decline.

During a brief interview with "GMA," Dan Harris had the temerity to ask Hilton if she was concerned that her time in the limelight had passed. Hilton looked off camera to her publicist, and after a brief exchange got up from her chair and walked offset. Following a lengthy confab, she agreed to continue talking to Harris. Of course she wanted to continue, she had the finale of her show, "The World According to Paris, to promote.

Hilton is savvy enough to realize that her ratings are down and that she's barely a blip on the pop culture radar unless there's some real drama. Take a look at her Google Trends cart and it's clear that her buzz has been on a steady descent interrupted only by legal troubles and her political campaign ad on Funny or Die! (arguably the one worthy thing she's done) for some time. Roll camera! Cue the outrage.

Give Hilton her due, however, she helped forge a brand of celebrity, famous for being famous. Yet, like so many before her, she became a victim of her own success. Having irrefutably proved that anyone, no matter apparently how lacking in substance or depth, could become rich and famous, she inevitably spawned a host of imitators—from Britney to Nicole to Lindsay to the Kardashians (whole family of 'em!).

Worse still for Hilton, at the same time this tsunami of celebutantes was rolling across the country, "American Idol" was picking regular folks—even some people who were some combination of ugly and poor--from obscurity and making them famous. Stir in the rise of the Internet, shake vigorously and suddenly it was clear that Andy Warhol was more right than he'd ever dared to dream (or fear)—everyone was gonna get their 15 minutes.

It's a miracle that Hilton stayed as famous as she did for as long as she did.

But that's probably because she is smarter than she lets on: She's managed to transmute her fame into new fortunes -- her name is on the door at 30 retail stores worldwide; she claims a billion dollars in annual revenue from her 11 perfumes; and she has even sponsored a motorcycle team.

Keep in mind that we're talking about a woman whose fame was sparked by the timely release of a sex tape--made when she was 20—just a week before the debut of her reality show "The Simple Life," in which she and former friend Nicole Ritchie traveled the country behaving in a manner that can only be described as calculatingly abominable.

Paris wasn't being petulant when she walked off that set. We're just being silly for giving her the attention she so desperately wants.

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