As Charlotte Allen notes below, a healthy disgust for Paris Hilton is indeed a sign of some “lingering cultural sanity.”

But it’s worth noting that the contempt Hilton elicits isn’t universal.  According to a 2005 survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, Paris Hilton is one of the top five celebrities teen girls envy most.  That’s too bad — because teen girls are the demographic that would seem most susceptible to Hilton’s influence.

Certainly, just because girls envy Paris Hilton doesn’t necessarily mean they admire her — but it certainly doesn’t suggest that they despise her, either.  Perhaps the poll results suggest that either teen girls are coming to believe that notoriety in itself is a positive (even if it derives from silly, unwholesome behavior), or else they simply don’t share the larger culture’s disdain for the persona of Paris Hilton.  Whatever the reason, it’s a result that should concern parents at least mildly — along with everyone who cares about young girls.