In these unrelentingly bleak times - unending recession, the government war against disabled people, the grotesque conflict in Syria - I often find it helps to think of Paris Hilton.
Daily confrontation with the blood-chilling reality of the world does occasionally tempt me to stop reading newspapers, listen to nothing but Victorian drama on the radio, and sink into sweet, oblivious ignorance.
But then I think of heiress Paris, the epitome of the rich, happy, luxury-cosseted stupid girl. And I heave a sigh, and get back to finding out what's going on around me.
This week, however, the candy floss atmos on Planet Paris was threatened by the withdrawal of her new celebrity series Paris Hilton Inc after she was recorded by a taxi driver being typically clueless on the subject of gay men.
"Ewwww... gay guys are the horniest people in the world," she said. "Most of them probably have Aids... I would be so scared if I was a gay guy... you'll, like, die of Aids."
Paris admitted what she'd said but gave a statement apologising to the gay community, of whom she says she is known to be a 'huge supporter.'
It might not be immediately obvious, but apparently she was actually emphasising the importance of safe sex and wasn't talking about ALL gay men (I believe her - no one anywhere could find Will Young 'disgusting').
I don't think that Paris Hilton is homophobic, just ignorant, thoughtless and silly.
But she sure reminds the rest of us of the worth of possessing knowledge as well as cash.