An online sex video featuring a popular celebrity has riveted the nation for more than a week now, much as Hilton's clip seized the attention of Americans when it hit the Internet several years ago.
But unlike Hilton, the 19-year-old woman at the center of Vietnam's sex scandal won't be able to capitalize on her newfound notoriety.
Hoang Thuy Linh's show has been canceled and the actress has made a tearful farewell on national television.
"I made a mistake, a terrible mistake," said the doe-faced teen, who had cultivated a good-girl image. "I apologize to you, my parents, my teachers and my friends."
Her fall from grace has highlighted the generational fault-lines in Vietnam, a sexually conservative culture within which women have been taught for centuries to remain chaste until marriage and stay true to one man — no matter how many times he cheats on them…
"Kids today are crazy," said Nguyen Thi Khanh, 49, a Hanoi junior high school teacher. "They often exceed the limits of morality. They have sex and fall in love when they're much too young."
In the old days, Khanh said, a woman who had sex before marriage would be ostracized.
Those were the days! It's strange how few of the endless complaints about Hilton ("She doesn't do anything!") note that she is actively lowering the reputational cost of sexual experimentation for women. The very criticism of her illustrates how far we are from gender equity on this score; were she a man with the same penchant for erotic display, there would be no story to tell. If there's anything a preternaturally superficial socialite can do for civilization, it is to help create a cultural climate where her sexual expoits will be completely ignored. So thank a celebutante today.
Nick Gillespie explored the non-reaction to Hilton's sex video back in 2003.