Keeping Up with de Tocqueville

January 28, 2015

Kim Kardashian drives me crazy.  Actually, all of the Kardashians drive me crazy.  And the reasons why they drive me crazy are precisely the reasons why I shouldn’t be writing this blog in the first place, because writing about the Kardashians (1) presumes that they are worth writing about in the first place; (2) requires me to spend time thinking about people who drive me crazy; and (3) contributes to their on-going notoriety, which will in turn result in my continuing to be driven crazy.  I guess my outrage (although that’s probably too strong a word) is sufficient that I’m willing to spend a few minutes focused upon this ridiculous family instead of volunteering at a homeless shelter or lobbying congress for more spending on autism research, but since I probably wouldn’t be doing those things anyway, I’m going to give in to my baser instincts and waste some time talking about a family that sort of single-handedly represents everything that’s wrong with America.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, and because I try to make sure I don’t go running off my mouth about things I don’t know about (hence the reason I’ve declined to weigh in on “Fifty Shades of Grey” and how millions of otherwise intelligent women have allowed themselves to be fooled into thinking that having the shit kicked out of you by a misogynistic psychopath is romantic and an example of love worth celebrating), I should say right off the bat that I have never watched any of the various television shows featuring Kris, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, Kelvin, Kepler, or Kandinsky (those last three are made-up Kardashians)(at least I think they are).  I turn the channel when a Kardashian comes on, I skip the Kardashian stories when I’m browsing People or Us, and the only time I’ve ever heard Kim or her sisters say anything was while flipping through the radio dial while driving in the car in which Kim insisted that “we work really, really hard.”

And maybe she does.

But although I go out of my way to avoid all KRP (Kardashian Related Product)(and I really do), it’s almost impossible to escape being buffeted on a fairly regular basis with news of all things Kardashian.  I guess it all started when dad Robert signed on to be part of O.J. Simpson’s legal team, and that’s probably as good an explanation as any as to the rest of the family, which later grew to include Bruce Jenner and the kids he had with Kris.  Now there are, like, 900 Kardashians, all of them with their own clothing line, perfume, and bottled water, and they’re a pretty insistent lot.  Here’s what I have sort of been forced to know about the various Kardashian Family:

Kim:   Most famous for (1) her enormous butt; (2) her million dollar wedding (paid for by other people) to that NBA player to whom she stayed married for about 15 minutes; (3) her nude Champagne photo that, sadly, did not succeed in “breaking the internet” but which allowed all who were so inclined to view some oiled-up full frontal; (4) saddling her child with the world’ stupidest name; and (5) being married to an arrogant, obnoxious jerk.

Kourtney:      Most famous for (1) being Kim’s sister; and (at least for now) (2) being married to an arrogant obnoxious jerk.

Khloe:            Most famous for (1) also being Kim’s sister; (2) also once being married to an NBA player; (3) sometimes (unfairly and unkindly) referred to as “the fat one;” and (4) possibly not actually being the biological child of Robert (but we’ll never know for sure).

Kris:   I can’t even talk about Kris, except to say that she will not likely be saddled with accusations that she has accepted the natural aging process gracefully.

Kylie and the Other One Whose Name Starts with “K”:           Two underage (or barely legal), leggy young things who have been pimped out by Kris from a fairly young age to attend functions in nightclubs wearing couture that leaves little to the imagination.  Because that worked out so well for Lindsay Lohan.

There are some assorted others, although I think they may be Bruce’s (Belinda’s?) children from a prior marriage, one of whom may or may not have dated someone who was on “The Hills” (a show I never watched and to this day am not sure whether it was scripted or reality television, except I think one of its “stars” has a line of clothing at Kohl’s and another has spent the equivalent of the GNP of The Gambia on plastic surgery and, like Kim and Kourtney, is married to an obnoxious jerk).

So there you have it.

Now, I’ve just spent a good 45 minutes thinking and writing about the Kardashians, when I could have been reading “Democracy in America,” which is something I’d really like to do before I die.  I could have been raising awareness about illiteracy – hell, I could have been scrubbing my baseboards, but you get my point:  I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into the Kardashian Vortex, and I don’t think I can fairly argue that it was exclusively in the name of a good blog.  So, that’s on me, and I’m going to have feel embarrassed about the extent to which I ruminate about these mindless idiots, who, on second thought, must have at least a few communal brain cells, seeing as how they have built an entire dynasty based upon nothing more than large butts and a lot of hair.

I have to acknowledge that there may be some amount of jealously going on, as in, I’d love to make millions just for having a big butt, since I happen to have one just lying around on the back of me, and it hasn’t made me one penny in fifty years.  It would be nice to find a way to cash in on that and, as well, I also have a lot of hair.  And while I certainly wouldn’t want to see myself on every tabloid cover and would never voluntarily relinquish any notion of privacy, as the Kardashians have, there’s no question that one silly little reality show has opened a lot of doors for a group of people with no apparent talent or intelligence and has presented them with opportunities that, pursued thoughtfully, might have added something of real value to this world.

It’s my understanding that, aside from the television shows, the various Kardashians have business interests in a clothing boutique, a shoe line, and other various fashion products to which they have leant their name.  I should note, by the way, that it took a little Internet sleuthing to figure that out, because for all Kim protests about how hard she works, most of the actual “work” seems to involve being followed around by someone with a video camera or posing for photos in which most of her is uncovered.  For all of the supposed legitimate businesses helmed by the various Kardashians,

I’ve yet to read an article in Fortune magazine or the Wall Street Journal touting their amazing business acumen (maybe because I don’t read Fortune magazine or the Wall Street Journal, but still).  Maybe I’m shopping at the wrong stores, but I’ve not once seen an actual product designed, produced, processed, marketed, promoted, or sold by KK, with the exception of KK herself.  Maybe they exist.  I’ve never seen them.  But then, I’ve never seen a narwhal (in person, anyway), and I’m pretty sure they exist.

Maybe there are actual enterprises which Kim (or her mom, or her sisters) oversees and directs.  Except I’m pretty sure it’s a case of her lending her name to some generic schlock merchandiser that slaps her name on crap (manufactured, no doubt, in Azerbaijan by underage workers in sweatshops who earn 85 cents a day) and then sells it at K-Mart.  These days, it seems that’s about all it takes to call yourself a “designer,” and while we’re on the topic, note to brands like Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s, and every other chain retailer who thinks that just because something was “designed” by a celebrity, I’ll buy it:  Never in my life have I ever said to myself, “I want to smell like Britney Spears.”

So, my consternation is mostly over how a bunch of mindless numbskulls have made a small fortune and have somehow continued to keep this country enraptured with their idiotic lives without having contributed (either individually or collectively) anything…anything…to the world except more of the reality-show hijinx (table flipping in fancy restaurants, wine-soaked cat fights at luxury resort destinations, quickie weddings doomed to fail, etc.) that, when consumed on a regular basis, slowly invade our psyches and kill our souls to the point that we become the human equivalent of nacho cheese Doritos.  Somehow, they have managed to remain in the spotlight far longer than their predecessors (whatever happened to Paris Hilton?), and the public (including me, I guess) has yet to lose its fascination with all things Kardashian.  And we wonder why we can’t find a way to solve those pesky social issues like income inequality, homelessness, or the Westboro Baptist Church.

But that’s America, I guess, where there’s no law against being a shameless self-promoter (in fact, if you’re good enough at it, you get your own television show where you get paid a lot of money to do nothing more than say, “You’re Fired!”)  What troubles me (aside from my concerns about just how messed up Kylie and The Other One will surely be once Kris has wrung every ounce of income potential out of them) is that there are people in this country who watch the programs, read the magazine articles, buy the products, and are responsible for supporting and perpetuating the notion that if you’re relatively attractive and have some pretension of a lifestyle that seems glamorous (even if it’s being paid for by someone else), there’s a lot of money to be made simply by being willing to fight with your family on television and show the world your massive, enormous, Montana-sized butt.

I find that very, very depressing.

So, in the interest of attempting to counteract the collective Dorito-ization of America, I promise here and now that I am never, never, NEVER again going to make reference to anything Kardashian.  Whenever I feel the impulse to comment upon what this band of ridiculous nincompoops are up to, I’m going to pull out my copy of de Tocqueville (I do actually have one; it’s served me well as both a coaster and a door stop) and attempt to get through a page or two before succumbing to the urge to look at koala videos.  As well, if I feel the need to gaze upon a very large posterior, I’ll turn around in front of a mirror.  I think I can do it.  And de Tocqueville gives me hope:  He said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”  Let’s hope he was right.

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