Be My Guest
Conrad Hilton
(Prentice Hall)
Money is the great liquid force in American life. It is transferable into any other commodity, such as a Vanity Press book. It is also the great savior of The American Way. The ubiquitous message in the newspapers, on television, in the throwaways, every day, in all forms, is anyone (even you) can make money . . . if we try hard enough. Those who don't get on the gravy train just aren't persistent nor believing enough.

It is a potent subliminal message, powerful counterpoint to the other media messages ---- and it may well explain the ghastly fix we're in now.

One of the most persistent messages of the Make-a-Million Scenario is suffering. All these books, whether by Trump, or Lee Iacocca, or Conrad Hilton, are a veritable Dear Abby in the pain department:

    If you climb Mount Everest, no matter how carefully you plan, anything can happen. Your ice axe slips, your oxygen gives out. A concealed crevasse swallows you up. Well, that's about the way it was building my first Hilton Hotel.

Before Conrad ascended to the last and greatest suite, Be My Guest was to be found in every Hilton Hotel room, next to the Gideon Bible. Which meant that when you woke up alone in your drab room, you'd get to choose between climbing up Golgotha or climbing your tortured way through Corporate America.

And the author is not just a gaudy hotelier - - - he was also an acute political commentator:

    The old concept of "War" and "Peace" belongs to a world which the Communists have destroyed . . . The essence of Communism is the death of the individual and the burial of his remains in a collective mass. And the insidious thing, the frightening thing is this: It can win even when it is losing.

"It can win even when it is losing" Good Lord. How in the hell can you fight an enemy that tricky? Only God and the Hilton Hotel savants could survive in such a dog-eat-dog world. Too bad that Conrad is no longer around to listen to, say, those prime movers still in his blood-line. Like the one who they named "Paris," named, we assume, after Paris, Arkansas. This town's nickname is the "Gateway to Mt. Magazine." They also have a Butterfly festival each year.

Butterflies or no, Paris is someone who, unlike Gramps, obviously knows where it's at. Like when she was quoted as saying,

    Every woman should have four pets in her life. A mink in her closet, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in her bed, and a jackass who pays for everything.

--- Pamela Wylie
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