Jonah Goldberg

"I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love," former "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson told Ellen DeGeneres of her new beau earlier this month. "It's so romantic. It's romance."

Indeed. What a shame Audrey Hepburn isn't available to turn this hooker-with-implants-of-gold story into the date movie of the year.

In case you don't know the story: Pamela Anderson, who made her name as a centerfold and faux lifeguard with built-in flotation devices, has gotten hitched to Rick Salomon, whose greatest accomplishment was surreptitiously videotaping himself having relations with Paris Hilton. The film, "1 Night in Paris," was seemingly timed to coincide with the launch of Paris Hilton's new TV show, "The Simple Life," which featured the millionaire heiress trying to comprehend how working-class people get through their lives without the benefit of a publicist, chauffeur, stylist, etc. A new edition of the tape, complete with "collectible prison packaging" to take advantage of her recent stint in the Stoney Lonesome, recently hit the market. She reportedly gets a director's credit.

Anyway, to show that there were no hard feelings, Paris sent the newlyweds a video camera as a wedding gift with the note, "Congrats Mrs. Salomon, but be warned ... love Paris." Pam has good reason to be sensitive about such things. Anderson's pornographic home video of her and her first husband, rocker Tommy Lee, largely started the celebrity sex-video craze in the first place.

I could go on, but I already know what you're thinking: Classy people.

So let me switch gears and share with you the plight of the cultural conservative. If I were to write a column condemning the commodified harlotry of all this, I would be the bad guy.

It seems like the entire culture has adopted the "turn-ons" and "turn-offs" from one of Anderson's centerfold bios. Turn-ons: kids, animals, good food, good times. Turn-offs: uptight squares, scolds and all-around "meanies."

Every few years, I write a column about Madonna, not because I'm a particular fan or foe, but because she typifies the bind conservatives are in. Madonna pioneered a certain kind of slattern chic in the 1980s and early 1990s. But as she got older and had kids, she grew up - a little. She said she was embarrassed by some of her earlier exploits. To a sycophantically sympathetic press, she announced that she was going to be a good mom, not "the Material Girl."


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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