The Death of the Dumb Blond

Why peroxide rot is, like, officially over

The biggest pop-cultural message of the aughties so far is that smart people bizarrely worship dumb blonds. With the communications explosion bringing savvy to every household, you can't necessarily feel smarter than the person next to you, but you can enjoy intellectual superiority to a bevy of bimbos and himbos with dark roots instead of gray matter—ding-dongs with a burning taste for fame but no idea whatsoever how to live off-camera (which works out fine because thanks to reality TV, they never are off-camera). Watching these entertaining dull tools act out in relation to their low self-esteem has become a sadistic feel-good experience that has us cheering on the golden-chunked desperation while gleefully handing out more Clairol.

This is nothing new. In the darker recesses of our culture's consciousness, dumb and blond have always equaled messy, malleable, sexy, and guilt-free. Dumb blonds of both sexes will pleasure you in the backseat and never look up. They'll let the video of the encounter slip out and feel certain it'll help your career too. They might not even wince when you return their lost wallet, all emptied out. (It was Daddy's dough anyway.) No wonder this phenomenon is tawdrily timeless.

But the recent craving for DBs has been so extra-voracious that even some natural blonds have managed to become popular. Millions become aroused watching platinum petunias fall out of limos and onto booze-stained red carpets, while others delight in sitting back and clucking, "There but for the grace of God go . . . aye, aye, aye!" Either way, the dummies win, writhing on to even greater ditzy glory and better salons.

illustration: Leslie Van Stelten

Why now? Partly because women have come so far that the inevitable backlash has men anxious to see them take a giant step in reverse (even if they're making millions in doing so). Meanwhile, women can feel less envious of successful beauties when these idols are barely able to stand up without puking through their nose jobs. As the ladies get a firmer stronghold on showbiz, the biz responds with, "Fine—as long as we can go back to representing you as hapless and hopeless," and the jaundiced audience approves and enables.

But now the dimwits are dumbing themselves out of the picture, jumping the shark without even knowing what that means. The backlash has suffered a backlash. A surfeit of pesky peroxide addicts who had face-lifts at age 12 and turned their abortions into handbags has made things so oppressively dumb-tastic that Charlize Theron has to wear boils and a modified babushka to elevate herself from the tragically superficial morass into respectability (though ever a trouper, she bravely still sports luscious blond locks).

I swear on my obsolete Uggs that dumb blonds are, like, officially over. It's just not cute anymore to watch people who, thanks to raging insecurity issues, insist on being both stick-thin (because they want to look "good") and camera-hoggingly self-humiliating. The spectacle of boobs popping out, drug dribble leaking out, and vaginas wearing out, all in the name of career advancement, was extremely amusing for a while, but everyone's too smart to stand by and applaud this sideshow any longer, especially if they can't get close enough to grab some.

The last time I saw Paris

Come on, someone please lock Paris Hilton up ASAP—get her to a nunnery! Admittedly I'm a fan; the heir-head's blank-slate quality allows millions to project whatever feelings they want onto her, which has allowed her to soar in every medium imaginable. (Even her book—written without her ever having read one—has gone into multiple printings.) Paris is actually quite slick on talk shows, rising above bad situations with surprising aplomb. But her messy behavior, stemming from an inbred sense of entitlement, has long been tiresome. Paris peaked when she had the nation searching for her missing chihuahua, only to realize she'd left it with Grandma. (But where she left Grandma, no one knows.) When she and blonde co-star Nicole Richie screwed up The Simple Life shootings with a tiny, little hitch—they weren't talking to one an other—you wanted to yell, "Wake up, dingbats! It's all pretend anyway—just speak!" But now I feel that for my sanity's sake, neither should ever speak again. (By the way, their feud is second in dumb-blond hall of shameness only to Courtney Love heckling Pamela Anderson at the latter's roast, which may have been a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.)

Gossipeuse Liz Smith tells me she thinks Paris is a cipher, but still a wildly popular one. "I think the power of the old Hilton name has a lot to do with it," she said, "and that is interesting to me because I began working for society columnist Cholly Knickerbocker back in the day when Hilton still meant something. Times change, but the snob appeal of a lost social climate endures."

Page Six pooh-bah Richard Johnson agrees that Paris still has it, saying of the blond brigade, "I don't think they're so dumb—here we are talking about them—and they aren't truly blond either. You've got to give them credit. Paris looked great for Halloween in a white garter belt. I guess she was a hooker, or a stripper." She must have left her neurosurgeon costume at Granny's house.

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