Andy Wouldn’t Have Liked Paris

Among others besides Kathy Hilton (who has, like, one picture of herself with Andy that actually looks kind of Photoshopped), many have speculated Warhol would “just love” Paris Hilton. Even James St. James. Who said Michael Alig never knew who Andy was, let alone what his presence in New York meant in terms of laying a new groundwork for subsequent cliquish club culture. But Michael’s dead now, so it would be impossible to hear him lie about it. No matter. James St. James is merely one of countless incorrect “party scene” speculators who would like to assume that just because Andy himself was a lover and curator of the party, that he would “adore” any rich party girl à la Edie Sedgwick. But Paris, it should not need to be said (yet these days, stating the obvious seems obligatory), is no Edie. For one thing, Edie was actually from Southern California, whereas Hilton merely pretends to be—bearing instead the stain of someone born in Manhattan. And, as one can tell based on Hilton and Lady Gaga, the physiognomies produced by those “bred” in NYC are, let’s say, not ideal. 

While Sedgwick went East as Hilton went West, it was the former’s “Santa Barbara vulnerability” that lent her an edge in terms of allure and public fascination. Her moneyed background afforded easy entrée into the circles that would eventually lead her to Andy. After all, what is the art world if not filled with rich kids aspiring to be sculptors and painters? It’s better than being shoved into a boardroom because at least you can do drugs more openly under the pretense of being an “artist.” And actually “become” one if enough visual hooey is created for galleries to faux fawn over (when, in reality, they’re fawning over the built-in name that a born-rich artist offers). Edie was never sure enough of herself to take advantage of that rich girl’s privilege, letting her art pursuits slip like her consciousness. Paris, on the other hand, is fond of making horrific wannabe imitations of the Lisa Frank style to sell when possible. Which is often, for people are willing to buy anything with a celebutante’s name attached to it. 

While Paris—during her NY partying peak from 1999 to 2001—was a lover of large dick a.k.a. so-called straight men to laud her with attention, Edie shied away from straights, preferring the company of gay gentlemen—finding out too late that many are not so gentlemanly at all, like Chuck Wein. One of several gay men that would use and abuse her for the sake of furthering his own “goals.” Goals that, like everyone else’s in New York, are dependent upon “making a name for oneself.” A polite way to say “get famous or kill others trying.” You might even posit that Edie was killed, in the end, as a result of many trying to use her for their own aims, their own selfish desires for notoriety and Factory association. Edie learned too late that having money and being fabulous came at a perhaps much higher cost than even the richest of the rich could afford. And considering she squandered her grandmother’s inheritance money quite quickly, she didn’t have much to pay up with anymore other than charm. That’s how the title of her Warhol movie, Poor Little Rich Girl, became uncannily real.

Paris was never that level of reckless or fragile. Even if we were to later find out about her abuse at a boarding school in Utah. And, to be frank, whatever happened to Edie when she was sent to her own slew of boarding schools and mental institutions was likely ten times more laden with psychological and corporeal punishment. You know, thanks to the 50s and 60s being a real “anything goes” sort of time for smacking people around, abusing women and generally acting like a gruff, unsympathetic asshole. Speaking of, there was Edie’s asshole father, “Fuzzy,” to contend with as well, who surely makes Rick Hilton look like even more of a pussycat. So no, Paris certainly wouldn’t have won any “damaged goods” points with Andy, who had a keen radar for such things. Indeed, he appeared utterly bored if there wasn’t about someone a total air of insecurity. One that he could prey on but also empathize with because he himself was such a delicate flower(hence all those flower paintings) beneath that cunty exterior. The brittle shell that became all the more real and hardened as time went on and he could no longer distinguish the persona from his original self. Affectations were his bread and butter, culled from decades’ worth of studying other celebrities before he himself became one. And as an ardent student of celebrity culture, Warhol had some very specific and fastidious taste (even if that might not have always come across—see: pissing on paintings; see also: eating at Serendipity). 

Paris has the “legacy” that might initially incite Warhol’s curiosity, sure. But without the requisite and genuine “lost lamb” aura to back it up (also the reason he captured Marilyn Monroe with such a distinct fervor), he would have grown bored more rapidly than usual in Paris’ presence. Likely irritated by her wind-up doll vocabulary skills as she repeats the same three or so catch phrases ad nauseam to the point where Warhol might enlist one of his minions to suffocate her with an as-of-yet uninflated silver Mylar balloon. Try as Hilton might to emulate the likes of Monroe with her false, breathy “baby voice” and her “dumb blonde” persona, the fact remains that Andy wouldn’t have bought it. Affectation recognizes affectation… and doesn’t approve.

If she deigned to walk into Serendipity one day (something Lindsay Lohan would be likelier to do) while he was drinking a frozen hot chocolate, the only way he might allow her to sit down next to him is if she offered to pay for it. Because those things are quite expensive in present-day currency. Andy didn’t come from money, after all. Which is, in part, why he coveted the average celebutante so overtly. That is, the average one who didn’t annoy the shit out of him with her posturing and peacocking. Fortunately, his contempt for her would all be for the best—for Paris would be spared learning the hard way something Edie herself found out too late: “Warhol is a sadistic faggot.”

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