While Paris was in jail she told Barbara Walters, in a phone call, that ‘I have become more spiritual. God has given me this new chance.’ While this may not prove to be an enduring conversion, the avowal does efficiently illustrate how very few options there are in the American personalityscape. If, for example, an infamous consumer of doughnuts felt the need to change their monodiet for health reasons, they might announce, to those entranced by their fortunes, “From this point on I shall eat only three doughnuts per day, the rest of my calorific requirements to be met by fruits, meats and lettuces. In a few weeks I shall reduce to two doughnuts per day and so forth.” Due to the drama attached to matters of dietary modification, the announcement will invariably take another form – “I have cut doughnuts from my life. Henceforth I shall eat only boiled rice.”
This is the ‘dry drunk’ style of withdrawal wherein the sufferer bounces violently off the wall of glut and is promptly impaled on the railings of abstemiousness without ever passing through an intermediate territory. When not only diet but personal psychology is viewed in this way then all change is violent and does not really constitute change – it’s a shift in tone rather than substance. In such a case the startling absence of psychological detail renders the subject a mythical figure – a cautionary, diagrammatic illustration of potential mishaps. Mythical figures are not people, they generally represent single human characteristics rather than the complex of qualities that comprise flesh and blood persons. We devise mythical figures for the purposes of instruction – they’re not supposed to be something you become.