I was lucky enough to start my workday yesterday hiking Griffith Park with a lovely dog named Señor Gustavo (The names have been changed to protect the adorable). The particular trail we blaze most often is also preferred by a nearby stable and horseback tour company. I have absolutely no problem with this since I love horses and I love seeing them in the middle of Los Angeles. Often when I pass these trail rides, I get snippets of their conversation.
“Of course, this was back when television was good,” mused a man in an unironic cowboy hat, “before reality got involved. Now we’ve got the Kardashians.”
“People like to blame the Kardashians for the decline in our media,” I said in a squeaky voice, “but we choose the shows we get, don’t we, Señor Gustavo! Yes, we do! Yes, we do!”
Let me be abundantly clear: I have no great love for the Kardashians. Frankly, reality television is some of the worst television I have ever seen and it takes jobs away from writers which is what I would like to be paid for someday. Keeping Up With The Kardashians has earned its place in my ire since my first roommate used to fall asleep to it because she “didn’t like silence” so I had to wake up to the adventures of the alliterative family constantly for three months. I am well aware that most of my distaste for Keeping Up With The Kardashians revolves around my distaste for that particular individual, rather that a hatred for the Kardashians themselves.
As a matter of fact, and I am sure I will lose followers, possibly friends, with this; I like the Kardashians.
I like the Kardashians solely because so many people hate them. I like the Kardashians out of spite.
Even when I lived with that Roommate, the one my mother refers to as “Hannah Montana Gone Wild,”, I did not hear as much about the Kardashians as I do from people who hate them. With the exception of the recent Bruce Jenner interview, everything I know about the Kardashians I know from people who claim to hate them. Most recently, on my Facebook feed, an App that blocks any mention of the family was met with loud praise from a former teacher who uses the Kardashians, rather than any number of more violent or offensive public figures as an example of everything wrong with the world. If I had gotten that App, it would have blocked most of his posts.
Why do people need to fill their discourse with complaints about a family they have never met, never will meet and purportedly dislike? Why would you think so often about something that pisses you off? Why not talk about shows you think people should watch, before they get canceled because they have no web presence.
Keeping Up WIth Kardashians has been on the air for nine seasons. As of February, it was renewed for three more. The reviews are pretty much entirely negative but people are still watching. 4.39 million people watched the episode where Kim Kardashian married Kanye West. The show is doing something right. I have to wonder how many did so just to see how bad it would be. How many are watching reality television just so they can feel better than other people? How low is our national self esteem that we will continually marvel at people we do not like because we need to be better than someone?
Screw that. I like the Kardashians. I like Kim and Kanye and the mom and the other ones and Bruce Jenner, if only because they’ve become scapegoat of everything wrong with the world.
“Oh, but they’re so fake!”
Yeah, calm down, Holden Caulfield. Everyone is fake. This frank, abrasive voice on my blog is not the voice I use with my boss or with my mother. I put on personas and masks to navigate the world, as does every person on the planet because the truth is complex. A person’s essence cannot be distilled down into a TV show or a blog or really anything. It takes a lifetime of work to actually know yourself much less to know other people. Why do you despise this one particular family for doing what everyone else in history has already done. If you know that they’re fake than you must know that you can’t know who they really are so why even have an opinion?
“Oh but they didn’t earn their wealth and fame!”
Again, so many people didn’t “earn” what they have for it to justify you despising one particular family more than anyone else. Do you resent Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, his privileged upbringing? “No, because he’s a good reporter.” Yes and the Kardashians are celebrities. It is their job to be entertaining and they are (see the ratings) just as good at it as Anderson Cooper is at reporting. Also, if you’re so upset that the Kardashians are famous, stop talking about them.
“They’re a bad example!”
If you are looking to reality television for examples of how to live your life, you are already in more trouble than I can imagine, but why exactly are the Kardashians bad examples? Because of Kim Kardashian’s sex tape? The one released without her permission which she then used to increase her wealth and notoriety, effectively turning a bad situation to her advantage? Even if you, like so many, believe she intentionally released it, what is so wrong with having consensual sex and releasing the tape? Is it because they’re shallow? Again, this is television. Literally everyone is shallow.
I suppose I am just irritated that this fairly innocuous family is the designated punching bag when so many more horrible people are venerated, especially in Hollywood. In 1988, oscar winner Sean Penn tied Madonna to a chair and physically and emotionally assaulted her for hours. That same year, Mark Whalberg threw rocks at a fourth grade field trip while shouting the N word and assaulted two vietnamese men which got him sent to jail for a hate crime which he is currently trying to get expunged. Roman Polanski is still allowed to make movies even though we know he raped a child. Why can we forgive all of that but we can’t forgive The Kardashians for being “shallow”?”
If you liked this, or if you didn’t, please download my original short story: To Move On. Every download gets me one step closer to winning the contest and paying off my student loans!