If 1967 had the Summer of Love, 2007 was the Summer of Scandal. On every newspaper page, every talk show and every blog were the same four Hollywood celebrities: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie.

I’m not going to bother recapping each of their crimes on the pages of this newspaper – you know all about them already. You’re sick of it. Just looking at the first sentence made you cast a longing glance at the Sudoku puzzle. Let’s talk punishments instead.

The rest of the world frequently criticizes California for letting its celebrities get away with, ahem, murder. We heard this charge a lot while we were waiting to find out Paris Hilton’s jail sentence or as we currently wait to find out about Lohan’s punishment. The problem, of course, is that it’s hard to make such criticisms stick. I say this because if it really were true, then the rest of the country would have done something about it by now, yes? Come, come, do you honestly think celebrities get special treatment in California?

That’s complete nonsense. For every sensational celebrity scandal is a perfectly logical explanation as for why the star was either found innocent or served a reduced sentence.

The Michael Jackson case, for instance. The kid’s mom was even nuttier than him. With a testimony like hers, all of that damning evidence against Jackson just doesn’t hold up in court. So what if he gave a kid a little goddamn Jesus Juice? Are we so afraid of Jackson’s nose that we’re willing to believe he’s a child molester? Our problem is that we have this secret desire for the rich and famous to fail. We don’t care about the facts.

What about Paris Hilton, who threw a tantrum the first couple of nights she was in jail and got temporarily transferred to a special treatment center? It makes perfect sense. What you have to understand about Hilton, you see, is that she suffers from claustrophobia. Jail cells are just not the right sort of environment. And all that time without her Adderall? Are you really going to tell me that just because Paris was serving hard time she should be denied all-day control of her symptoms? People with ADHD are human too, FYI. And how do you expect her to maintain her size-0 figure otherwise? All the smart ladies know that there’s nothing that maintains your skinny, sexy figure and lets you ace that psych exam like 20 milligrams of amphetamine salts in the morning.

As for OJ… Dude, the glove didn’t fit. We had to acquit. Give it a rest.

And then there’s Nicole Richie, who served her own time in jail late last month. More criticisms about California justice. Well come on, folks, haven’t you ever heard of prison overcrowding before? The Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood is just too dang packed to let Richie finish a whole four-day sentence. Eighty-two minutes is plenty.

To put things in perspective, what can you do that takes 82 minutes? Well, gosh, all sorts of things. While Lionel Richie’s daughter was serving time for driving inebriated on the wrong side of the Glendale Freeway, you could drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. Take a midterm. Watch “Dumbo” and then read the Wikipedia article on elephants. Enjoy an afternoon dip in the ocean. Read The Truth About Diamonds from cover to cover. Watch the entire Toronto Film Festival cut of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, from start to finish. Arrange your dresser. Go cheese tasting.

Or try doing nothing for 82 minutes. Did that make you feel like ever getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, Valium and pot and attempt driving on the 134 again? I thought so. Nope, no favoritism at all.

All I can say is that it’s a shame OJ got caught in Nevada.