May 5, 2005

Below the Belt

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In Darfur, Sudan, 200,000 tribal African farmers have been slaughtered at the hands of the government-backed Janjaweed militia, while another 1.6 million have been displaced in a calculated attempt to rid the nation of its non-Muslim faction. Women and girls are being raped and branded, while men and boys are being brutally murdered. Vital supplies, such as food and water, are in short supply. Any signs of the Sudanese government taking measures to end this devastating conflict are in even shorter supply.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, Paris Hilton is bringing honor to her family’s good name by deciding whether she should dance on the bar banquette at the Marquee before excusing herself to go nasally ingest the entirety of the Catskills up her nose or if she should go ahead and blow lines off of Lindsay Lohan’s 100% natural, god-given boobs and then go dance on the bar banquette at the Marquee. Once such questions get resolved, Paris can then free up her mind to ponder such existentialist dilemmas as why her cell phone always rings at the most inopportune times or devising plots to inject a double quarter pounder with cheese into Nicole Richie’s ass while she sleeps, so as to reclaim her title as the “hot one.”

Now, class, we’re going to have a short pop quiz. Between Darfur and Paris Hilton, which of the two received more ink in the New York Times this past year? I’ll give you a hint: It’s the same one that’s been quoted as saying, in reference to parking tickets, “I always get out of it. The cop always ends up giving me his business card and saying ‘Let’s go out to dinner tonight.’ But I never call them.” Considering the troubles that usually confront masses of land while trying to operate a motor vehicle, I hope you answered Paris Hilton. While as of July the New York Times had dedicated 10,000 words to stories addressing the Darfur crisis, the venerable publication had contributed 17,000 words to stories addressing the misadventures of Paris Hilton, whose 24th birthday party, in all likelihood, exceeded the entire GDP of Sudan.

On the one hand, I’m pretty damn sure that a genocide is more worthy of news coverage than Paris Hilton’s T-Mobile Sidekick getting hacked.

On the other hand, I can’t say that my column has even come close in reversing such a disturbing trend in news coverage. For three-and-a-half years, I was hesitant to pollute the pages of this venerable publication with my psychotic, vaguely coherent ramblings about Lindsay Lohan’s father’s run-ins with the law.

You see, my brain activity can be broken down as follows: a whopping 30% is used to convey feelings of hunger and thirst. Since purchasing a white, cigarette box sized device to store all of my music, an unfortunate 10% of my brain is now solely dedicated to panicking that my iPod may be lost. Another 10% of my brain serves as a storing ground for remembering all past episodes of the greatest show to ever be aired on television. Of course, I’m talking about Married … With Children. I’m proud to say that 25% is dedicated to current events and the analysis of our world’s political climate.

I’m also proud to report that the remaining 25% of my brain is dedicated to pop culture concerns in general and celebrity gossip in particular. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here. Just the fact that you, dear readers, have been able to follow my column speaks volumes. It means you have understood all my cryptic references, which means that you too have been influenced by television and tabloid fodder.

To be sure, I wish I could somehow make sense of all the atrocities happening in Darfur and all over the world and present them in a way that makes the reader more able to comprehend the issues at hand.

But, I honestly have no idea how to process much of what’s going on in the world. But I do know this much is true: Lindsay Lohan’s dad is wack, yo, and for whatever reason, this is something I care deeply about. And I know I’m not the only one.

Archived article by Talia Ron
Sun Staff Writer