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Why I Hate (what) The Kardashians (represent)

March 16, 2012

It was an innocent post on a friend’s Facebook page. A friend who I like, respect, enjoy and is an incredibly nice and generous person. But when she asked if it was “weird” that she so enjoyed meeting someone who worked with Kim Kardashian and hearing the scoop about what a nice person she was, I answered. And I felt a little bad about it, but she asked, right?

I said, “Honestly, I can’t look past what I see as an incredibly negative impact on society and our twisted values towards everything from materialism to body image. I don’t care if she’s “sweet,” when you have that kind of platform and don’t use it to make the world a better place, but rather to promote yourself and your materialistic values, you’re a loser in my book.”

She didn’t know that it’s bad to ask me such questions when I’m in a kinda foul mood. Not her fault.

But I don’t care how nice Kim Kardashian is to the people she works with, she’s a fucking cancer on the soul of society. At least I didn’t say that on Facebook. Her, and her entire family. I don’t care if they kiss every baby in every orphanage on the planet, they are the epitome of the vain, shallow, self-serving, materialistic, selfish, unrealistic and destructive behavior that is not only destroying the planet, but making modern American culture one of the largest forces leading us down that path.

So let’s get a few things out of the way. I will start, as I often do, with my favorite quote of all times, from that great American philosopher, Dave Barry, who will some day realize how much he loves me. “A person who is nice to you and not nice to the waiter is not a nice person.”

Of course Kim Kardashian is nice to her real-estate agent. Sometimes “nice” has to do with the impact that a person has on the world around them. And the more impact you have, the more responsibility you have. “Nice,” then, is less about how you make the people close to you feel, but about how all of the people you touch feel as a result of that touch. I’m willing to bet that someone close to Hitler, maybe who knew him as a child even, would say, “he was always so kind to me, I think he was very insecure, people misunderstand who he really was.”

That may be, who am I to say? His tailor probably loved him. But I’m pretty clear that the impact of his actions on the world are in no way mitigated by the good manners with which he spoke to his tailor.

That’s how I feel about the Kardashians. Yes, I just compared them to Hitler, and I will stand by that. Because I think that the impact they have on the world is about that positive.

Before I tell you why, let me make very clear that I am a fan of capitalism in theory. I have no issue with wealth, or even wealth inequality – I don’t think that we all are, or need to be, equal in any regard. HOWEVER, I have huge issues with exploiting the insecurities of others in order to amass fortunes that ultimately serve to hurt those others. And that’s what I think celebrity culture does, in large part. Especially those who are famous simply for being famous. For “selling” us a lifestyle that few of us can possibly afford and marketing it as The American Dream. Which is what they do.

We admire them simply for being rich. Well, and tacky, and thoughtless and scandalous. We have given them millions of dollars for the pleasure of watching them set the standard of what it means to “have it.”

As a society, we are suffering from the delusion that we should all have bigger houses, fancier cars, bigger bling, grander adventures. MORE. BIGGER. BRIGHTER. Largely because of people like them.

And it’s killing us. We are drowning in debt and insecurity all based largely on this idea that we have to “Keep Up With The Kardashians.” As if keeping up with the Jones’ wasn’t bad enough. Her wedding was “our” dream wedding. Great! Promote the idea that couples should go thousands of dollars in debt for a party that will impress other people. No, it’s not reasonable. It is dangerous.

Promote the idea that we should marry and divorce on a whim. That any personal event can be packaged and sold, as if it is about what it can “get” us rather that what it means to us or does to us. Promote the idea that dating is about what “he” can give you, where he can take you, what he can do to impress you, rather than slow and honest discussions about who we are and what we want as humans. Promote the idea that what we wear to an event is more important than …..

And for goodness sake, you win if you get more things and more money…

No, I won’t buy it. And I won’t stand by and watch while other people watch her and say “but she’s so nice.” It is killing us. We are buying things we can’t afford, with no regard to the debt, the impact on the planet, the condition of workers, the waste or even if it will actually make us happy.

Does she know what impact she has on the world? I don’t suggest that she intends to do harm. I’m quite sure she doesn’t, but here’s the deal, for her and her whole twisted family: When you have that kind of platform and don’t use it to fix some of the problems in the world, then you fail as a human. Just flat-out fail.

She could use all that power to live a perfectly luxurious life and help us see how our behavior is killing us. How we consume and waste in a way that is not only driving us into debt and taking us far away from our authentic selves and authentic relationships, but that also allows us to turn a blind eye to real problems. Climate change? Hunger? War?

The money that was spent (whether it was profit or not) on her wedding could have funded early childhood education programs in Seattle. But by making such a spectacle of her wedding she showed us what she valued. And by supporting it, we showed her what we value.  Oh, I know, the marketers “gave” her that stuff so they could be seen. I get it, I come from marketing. But why is THAT what should be seen? Why are those things what we should sell? Why are we buying it?

I’m sorry, it’s disgusting.

Is she misunderstood? Is she a victim of the world in which she grew up? Probably. But she’s all grown up now, and she can stand up to it. In fact, she’s one of very few people who can. She could speak credibly to how corrosive this culture is – even to the people who promote it. Who were weaned on the rancid teat of materialism. (No offense, Mrs. Jenner, I’m sure your teats are lovely.)

If Kim is the lovely person that some people would like to think she is, here are some suggestions for her (and I’m resisting the urge to tell her to wash her face.)

1. Stand up to it. Look at people like George Clooney, Oprah and Angelina Jolie as examples. Are they perfect? Nope. Are they living a spartan life? Nope. But even with their luxurious lives, they are doing real work in the world to make it a better place. To shed light on the problems we face and the solutions we can work towards. They are every bit as famous, and every bit as luxurious, but they are setting examples of thinking beyond their next party and their next “oh my god I’m so trashed” photo-opp.

2. Give people something aspire to that is GOOD for them. Rather than being some strange Suess / Orwell Dystopian Princess, help the next generation of kids avoid the pitfalls that your stiletto heels fell headlong into. Wash your face (damn it, I meant not to say that) and launch an “inner beauty” campaign for urban kids. Start a contest for kids to find their own look and reward creativity rather than material-mob mentality. Start a media project to help kids talk about how they feel with their families and friends. Use that (absolutely amazing) ass of yours to launch a body-image project for teens.   DO SOMETHING GOOD. And if you do something good, often enough, you will be something good.

3. How about a show in which YOU celebrate real people, living real lives. You could even call it “Getting Real With Kim.” (But please god don’t make it the insulting black-face style travesty of whatever that things was that Paris Hilton – to whom you bear an uncanny likeness  – and Nicole Ritchie did. Could that have been more offensive?) Take us on a journey of real discovery about what it means to make life work, and the amazing things that real people face, do and accomplish in the real world. Not  a “pity the poor people” charity hour, but a “real world heroes” kinda thing.

4. Warren Buffet. Enough said.

And no, showing up for a photo opp because you wrote a check to some charity is not the same as being charitable. Looking good is not the same as being good. And certainly is not the same as doing good.

As long as you are the poster child for materialism, vanity, and capricious folly, you are not doing anything good in this world. Worse, with the celebrity platform that you have, you are endorsing these things as societal goals.

No, it’s not your “fault” that this society looks up to its celebrities. But you are solely to blame for your actions, and the impact they have on others. “But I didn’t mean to send the message that we should….” Doesn’t matter, you did it. It’s like saying, “I didn’t mean to give you a black eye when I punched you in the face.” Doesn’t matter, you still threw the punch.

So ya, I hate everything the Kardashians represent. And I hate that we celebrate them and mask it in the veil of “they’re great marketers.” Yup, they are. Genius marketers. Which is what makes it so much worse that they market toxic crap.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    March 16, 2012 12:40 pm

    Well said Alyssa. I call it the Princess Effect. We see it more and more. Parents are all into telling their little girls they are princesses and that they should have princess things their whole life. Our generation and generations before us have never seen such pampering and materialism as a reward for nothing. I had 3 newspaper routes at age 9, I babysat all the churches kids by age 13, did the nursery and taught sunday school. I volunteered as a candy stripper at the hospital. When we had a tornado in 1991 that deviated our community and killed 36 people, I volunteered everyday for months as a freshman in high school. I had a job when I turned 16 and never looked back. My 18 year old niece has never had a job, she refuses. She eats, listens to music, and watches the damn Kardashians all day. I know you are going to get a lot of feedback saying: That’s who she is….she’s nice…blah blah blah. Once about 5 years or less, I was watching the View..saw Lady Gaga in almost nothing at Disney land performing. I put up a blog and thought it was a travesty. All anyone can say was that: “That is who she is. She performs and has a right to be who she is and she doesn’t have any negative effect on my kids…” blah blah blah. So, you think your little girl at Disney World doesn’t look at that with high regards to be like her one day? Wake up! Disney World….Where their employees can’t even wear make-up or have pierced ears, yet, Gaga can perform there with nothing on?! I would get arrested if I wore what she wore that day.

    My frustration lies in the denial of society and parents alike for this travesty called Kardashian’s and the “Princess Effect” It’s a shame what this generation is growing up to be. Spoiled, rotten brats

    thanks for letting me rant!

  2. March 16, 2012 12:42 pm

    Another thing about the whole “charity ball” thing. When you’re rich, our tax system gives you a free pass to give a huge chunk of your tax money either to a charity of your choice or to support the infrastructure of the country you live in. And to some extent, when you choose to write that figure on a huge novelty check for the micro-charity your other celebrity friend is supporting, and is spending that money on huge salaries for its board and huge gala parties for its contributors – even though you’re technically giving to charity, you’re really just doing the absolute least your accountant deems possible in order to spend that money on yourself and your friends (and PARTIES!) while reaping the PR benefits of being a celebrity philanthropist.

  3. Alyssa Royse permalink*
    March 16, 2012 12:45 pm

    SO TRUE! It’s a frickin’ tax write-off, not a charitable donation! It’s like the government giving to charity rather than to infrastructure! TOTAL PET PEEVE! In fact, how is that even legal?

  4. Alyssa Royse permalink*
    March 16, 2012 12:46 pm

    I agree with you 100% Don’t get me started on Disney!

    I will say, however, I love Lady Gaga! I think she’s actually the opposite of Kim Kardashian and the Disney Princesses. She speaks her mind, lobbies for justice, is totally individual. I kinda worship her, actually.

    But the Princess thing, yes, 100% Spot on. ARGH!

  5. Kay Sakach permalink
    March 16, 2012 4:19 pm

    Well said. I am a writer myself commenting on ever blog/news article relative to anything Kardashian. I gave been working on a blog myself, but I’m not sure I can be any effective force if change with these trashy reality shows. Ryan Seacrest is producing yet another. The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Toddlers and Tiarras, Dance Moms, and The Desparate Housewives of, well…whatever threaten to dismantle all we fight for in women’s rights in the 60s and 70s. Parents certainly need to come out of their career comas and take a good, hard look at what their teens are
    watching and the significance it bears on the future. Further, I’ve noticed the fans of these shows tend to be uneducated idiots that can’t seem to use any other adjective other than “amazing”. I suppose writers like us just need to keep pounding away.

  6. Kay Sakach permalink
    March 16, 2012 4:22 pm

    Apologize for the spelling errors..iPhone is a little more difficult to use.

  7. Kay Sakach permalink
    March 16, 2012 4:23 pm

    Completely agree!

  8. Alyssa Royse permalink*
    March 16, 2012 4:28 pm

    I agree 100%! Thank you! Feel free to repost this wherever you wish! We do need to start calling “bullshit” on stuff like this!

  9. March 16, 2012 4:49 pm

    Bravo to this post and bravo to my friend Kay Sakach for responding! I knew she would!

  10. March 17, 2012 3:59 am

    I enjoyed reading this. The idea was well thought out and supported.

    Perhaps it’s to my benefit that I’ve nipped this problem in the bud by addressing it well before my vitriol arises. I don’t look. I know absolutely nothing about the K’s or any of the other shows except that they represent everything you’ve railed against, which is a spew of trash that runs against all that is decent, respectable, and worthy of attention. (Frankly, I think that Limbaugh chose the wrong target for his ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ epithets.)

    So far, it seems to have worked.

    Everyone should kill the television set, go outdoors, take a walk. That would be… nice.

  11. Colin permalink
    March 17, 2012 8:00 am

    Here’s something to consider – the Kardashians are more of a symptom of our society than the source of the problem. They exist to the extent that they resonate with something in our cultural psyche.
    With that in mind, one might claim that railing against them is as useless as railing against a cough brought on by chronic smoking. But it actually isn’t. They provide a handle, a concrete example which we (you in this case) can use to open a discussion about our societal values. Without that, it would only be an abstract, philosophical discussion. So thanks, Kardashians, for giving us a platform with which to examine a baser side of human nature!
    Granted, symptoms (like the Kardashians, or a chronic cough), do exacerbate problems; a negative feedback loop if you will. But seeing them fundamentally as a manifestation of a larger human issue (rather than the cause) does free us up to see a bigger picture, and perhaps help us to identify where we really can affect change, and make the world a better place.

  12. Alyssa Royse permalink*
    March 17, 2012 8:22 am

    Yup. I guess I merely hinted at that with the “It’s not your fault we look up to celebrities” and “victim of the world she grew up in” bit…. But I agree with you 100% She / they exist because we make the, let them, buy them, support them. And it is us who need to say “no more.”

  13. March 18, 2012 10:53 am

    Who is Kim Kardashian?

  14. dsol permalink
    March 26, 2012 11:02 pm

    I agree 100%… they are role models and the lesson we take from them is: money, money money, fashion and more money! we should be talking about the boy who was killed by a watchmen in Florida instead of this nonsense…
    very good written!

  15. sincerelyjellep permalink
    March 31, 2012 9:46 am

    I want to kiss the ring on the hand of the person that wrote this. I used to feel bad for Kim K, because I felt she was a victim of the whole sex tape thing, but now I think she was doing what she does best…MARKETING. This is exactly how I feel about the whole celebrity thing. She compares herself to other celebs & says how its not fair how she gets all of this scrutiny. Yes they all live their luxurious lives, which they have a right to because they work for it, but the other celebs seem to be genuinly working toward something positive. Lady GaGa pulls all of her crazy stunts, but you can tell she actually wants to stop bullying and help the lgbt community gain rights. Some people do not deserve fame no matter how nice they are to their staff.

  16. Shawn permalink
    June 10, 2012 10:31 pm

    Chris kardashian is pimpin her kids out so hard its disgusting!

  17. July 29, 2012 2:32 pm

    Hello, I wish for to subscribe for this blog to get newest updates, so
    where can i do it please help.

  18. Nancy Larson-Rossi permalink
    September 1, 2012 11:25 am

    Brilliant in every way.

  19. steve conerly permalink
    June 17, 2014 9:09 am

    EXCELLENT AND VERY ON POINT COMMENTARY!!!! I agree with you 110%!!! The Kardashians represent THE VERY WORST of our toxic obsession with celebrity!!! I can’t wait till the day they SLITHER OFF into obscurity!!!!

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