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Burning Sensation

Whenever a magazine, website, whatever, compiles a list of the worst albums of all time, there’s usually a special place in hell reserved for non-musicians who make an attempt at striking pop-music gold. Eddie Murphy’s album is an absolute embarrassment (though perhaps retains more dignity than, say, The Adventures of Pluto Nash), and just about everybody with functioning ears agrees that Bruce Willis’ faux-blues records are best heard while in a coma. Nobody liked Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar, and I wish more people would appropriately turn on 30 Seconds to Mars. Why all the hate? Partly because the aforementioned projects are terrible, and partly because regular folk are offended by famous people who decide to venture outside of their chosen idiom. The actor-to-rock-star scenario is probably the most common example, but the same sort of ire has been directed at performers who dabble in politics or athletes who decide they’re rappers. Most people are stuck doing one thing their entire lives, so it’s only natural they would resent those who appear to be able to do anything they want. Especially if they suck at it.

But whether your hatred is based on album quality or a sense of social injustice, one thing remains certain: If you like Paris, the new album by Paris Hilton, you are unequivocally part of the problem.

When the Gwen-Stefani-on-‘ludes “Stars Are Blind” first leaked a few months ago, much of the public opined, “Well, it’s not the worst thing in the universe.” The track gained legs simply because Paris had made a recording less offensive than Roseanne Barr’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and managed to be more culturally sensitive than Prussian Blue.

But by shrugging and simply saying, “Meh, not awful,” that segment of the public is doing a great disservice to the culture at large. The release of Paris is a perfect opportunity to show the world that we’re not just automatons who will swallow any form of culture put in front of us.

We need to hate Paris. We need to lambaste it on message boards. We need to hang out at record stores and talk people out of buying it. We need to petition retailers not to carry it. We need to hijack trucks that might be delivering it to stores — and then get Paris to pay our legal fees. Because she’s responsible.

It’s not that we should be concerned about Paris Hilton per se. Unfortunately, she’s already out of the bag, and she’ll infect us one way or another. She’s got the bankroll, and she’s got a lot of time on her hands. But what comes next? If we allow Paris to even exist, we’re only opening ourselves up for all kinds of new disasters. This is what our low-expectation, irony-O.D. culture will bring us. Paris is the Snakes on a Plane of record releases. That movie was a product of people thinking it might be clever to obsess over something that has little or no value. We cannot legitimize garbage culture that is this meaningless, because it only invites even more trash. The people who decide what we see and hear base their information on numbers, and if they think they can make money off of something as insipid as Paris or Snakes on a Plane, then we will have to put up with more albums from vapid, monkey-toting socialites and movies like Squids on a Bus. Not to mention the fact that Snakes on a Plane did underwhelming business over the weekend gives me hope, but the destruction of Paris is the next step.

Paris Hilton is not a lot of things, and she most certainly isn’t a musician. Paris is the worst of everything, clearly a result of the celebutante overhearing something and wanting to copy it. There are Parised facsimiles of reggae, vanilla R&B, Strokes-esque twitch rock, and a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” (the answer: No). Every single line Hilton sings has been processed and corrected, making her sound even less human than she normally does. Some people may call Paris an inspired pop pastiche, but don’t get it twisted: This is a Fisher Price “My First Album” of the worst kind.

So don’t buy Paris. Change the radio station when “Stars Are Blind” or any of her other songs come on. Don’t buy magazines that have her on the cover. She needs to be stopped, and only a sense of righteous elitism can save the day.

Because Paris isn’t just a collection of lame, lazy pop tunes — it’s cultural Armageddon. Don’t be a foot soldier in Paris’ army of darkness. You’ll only be marching to your doom.