I’ve been Kardashian’ed to death. Amanda Robb’s article, “Creating the Kardashians”, glorifies Kris Jenner for her marketing of her family of “K named and X-rated’” Kardashians into a mega empire that earned $65 million last year. The congratulatory-toned article is published in the July / August issue of More Magazine, which describes itself as “For Women of Style and Substance” (Full disclosure: “More” has published a number of my articles online. and I am a subscriber to the print magazine.) After reading Robb’s article, I am left wondering what is meant by “style” and “substance.”
Kris, the “Momager” for her daughters, Kim and Khloe, not to mention Khloe’s husband LA Lakers star, Lamar Odom, and the rest of the kin, according to the Robb’s interview, is about to further leverage the “unstoppable (Kardashian) juggernaut”, by next merchandising a complete “Kardashian experience” at Sears.
Give me a break and gag me with a spoon.
As Robb tactfully alludes in her article, the Kardashian TV show took off with an “undeniable boost four years ago when a videotaped romp between teenaged daughter, Kim, and her then-boyfriend wound up in the hands of Vivid Entertainment.” “Momager” Kris Jenner, a former Brownie leader, car pool driver, and room mother, by Robb’s turn of a common expression, decided to squeeze the “publicity lemon into an apparently bottomless glass of lemonade”. To paraphrase one of Robb’s interview questions, “people think the heavens just opened…and fame and fortune dropped in your laps”. I don’t think that is even a question. In any case, isn’t a more logical question, “Have you no shame, Mrs. Jenner?” “Do you care what your daughters are becoming?” Or “Is it worth mega millions to throw your family into this publicity soup, more accurately described as foul-smelling rot than lemonade?”
I’m afraid I don’t understand this entire phenomenon; unless it is the fascination we feel when we rubberneck at a car crash. Why are people standing in line in the Kardashian boutique for a Kardashian experience? Unless the Kardashians have invented the i-Dress I can’t imagine how they are going to bring style and substance to Sears. My collie dogs have demonstrated a greater sense of style and fashion, more loyalty, and more morally admirable behavior than the Kardashians exhibit. And my collies could actually do something: fetch a ball, bark at the back door before defecating, and wag their tails.
I will confess, the only times I have viewed “Keeping up with the Kardashians” was as part of a captive audience at a nail salon while my fingernails were drying. And my spouse encourages me to admit my unsuitability to criticize others’ superficiality when I waste time and money, not to mention natural resources and possible exposure to poisonous substances, by the sheer decadence of polishing or having others polish my nails.
While he may have a point on some of these issues, I believe there is a qualitative difference between the frivolity of nail maintenance and the trash that passes for entertainment on the E! Network with the Kardashians. The Kardashian experience has a far more poisonous impact on our culture than a little nail polish has on our environment. And if I demonstrate the sin of vanity by having my nails done, watching Kris Jenner and her klan (no racist slur intended; I just can’t resist the alliteration of K’s) is more punishment than a person should suffer for the commission of murder and mayhem. Far too much punishment for just the little vanity of nail polish.
Ordinarily, I am not given to discussions of crime, sin or punishment. Although I should not be confused with the pious “church lady” from SNL, I do have fiercely protective feelings towards my children and grandchildren. Child exploitation in my mind is something a parent protects his or her children from. Not something the parent engages in, for money or otherwise.
If Kris Jenner wishes to promote her former gold medal Olympian spouse as a speaker she and he should "Go For It.” If the Kardashian daughters wish to carry on doing god knows what with god knows whom, that is up to them and their still-developing consciences. They are young and may still gain some sense of morality and shame. At least their stepfather, Bruce, has the sense to look vaguely embarrassed by the egotistical and outrageous antics of his family and his wife’s capitalization on them on television. Maybe some of his brain cells and normal human modesty are still functioning. But is there not a line beyond which a mother should not go in pimp…oops, I mean promoting her own offspring, even if it is for millions of dollars?
Momager Kris, in response to critics who suggest she is exploiting her children, says she responds “by working hard. My job is to take my family’s 15 minutes of fame and turn it into 30. It’s a very rewarding feeling when I go to sleep every night knowing I did the best I could for my family.” I’d say an extra 15 minutes of tawdry fame, no matter how many millions it is accompanied by, is not doing the best for her family.
My purgatory is over, at least temporarily. The TV at the nail salon appears to no longer be working. Maybe there is a god watching over all of us.