The Consequences of the Kardashians
The first time I remember hearing the Kardashian name was probably back in the mid 2000's when Kim was associated with Paris Hilton. Later Kim would steal the spot light from Paris in 2007 for being involved in a leaked video of a certain carnal nature with her former boyfriend Ray J. The next thing I knew the Kardashian's were given a reality show on E!.
The truth is, I'm not much of a "celebrity" person so I never quite understood what it was that made this family so important in the eyes of pop-culture but, I soon would discover her father Robert Kardashian was one of the lawyers who had defended OJ when he was charged with the murder of his wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. Also her stepfather is 1976 Summer Olympics decathlon winner Bruce Jenner. Bruce is actually a pretty amazing guy or ...err… lady (I’ll come back to this later).
E! reality shows are famous for their clever editing yet it still was shocking that I had found myself on a weekend watching some marathon of the Kardashian show. Yes, even now on those same weekend days where I can find nothing interesting I will find myself watching out of curiosity. What is the fascination with this family? How has this show been on so long? Then I discover apparently other shows were made – them being in Miami and the Hamptons; I can’t keep up with the Kadashians at all but, what I have discovered is that all that beauty and money doesn’t seem to cure dysfunction in a family.
They all seem to be nice in some ways. I’m not writing this to simply tear them down. I think the tabloids and other media do plenty of that. While people seem to be interested in their lives, people also appear to enjoy taking jabs at them left and right.
The mother, Kris is an interesting character. The scenes I have viewed her in portray her as someone who does care about her daughters but she also seems to compete with them in unhealthy ways. She is controlling and even manipulative at times which comes across as a woman who is entirely insecure and even immature. She has been called the worst mom on television.
Kim has been divorced twice and now she’s married to Kanye West who I personally do not have a favorable opinion of since he generally comes off as a narcissist. Who can forget his comment, "George Bush doesn't care about black people” or taking the mic away from Taylor Swift as she was accepting her award? Kim is best known for her derrière and the aforementioned scandalous video. She is also a mom now to a daughter named North. Yes. North. She has done modeling and from the shows I’ve seen her and her sisters run some clothing store.
Kourtney has an on again off again relationship with the father of her three children, Scott Disick who is the quintessential rich kid that has yet to grow up and get a real job but finds plenty of time to make bastard babies. Although according to what I have read, Kourney is the one who is not interested in getting married. The most recent episode I watched showed Kourtney pregnant with their third child and Scott seemed to think it was not important for him to be around during the time leading up to the birth. It’s hard to sympathize considering these two seem to have had problems since the beginning. Scott clearly has a problem with alcohol so I have no idea why Kourtney would choose to allow herself once again to get pregnant by this man who routinely causes her so much stress. Has she not heard of birth control?
Khloe is probably the most likable of the sisters. She seems to have had her ups and downs over the years. She married Lamar Odom, a basketball player in 2009 and even did a reality show with him yet they divorced soon after in 2013 after it was widely reported he was cheating on her. Over the years many accusations have been made concerning who Khloe’s real father is, since her appearance is indeed a bit different from the other sisters. Rumors have told many stories about her biological father being Lionel Richie, OJ Simpson, and Alex Roldan. The family remains firm in stating that Khloe is indeed Robert’s biological daughter.
Currently it is being reported that one of the brothers Rob is on the verge of revealing family secrets. It has been previously reported that he is struggling with drugs and weight gain. I don’t know much about this sibling other then rumors. This goes for the two younger Jenner girls who have only recently became subjects of the tabloids.
Kris and Bruce have recently split up and the latest news has been in the form of a Diane Sawyer interview where Bruce revealed that he now feels a desire to live as a women. He did not say whether or not he was going to go forward with surgery but he is interested in living for a year as a woman first, which is required for those who seek a sex-change.
I find Bruce to be the most interesting and respected character so I suppose this is why he is no longer married to Kris. I was shocked to discover that Bruce admitted to being conservative during the Diane Sawyer interview which seemed to be much more of a brave step when compared to him announcing his interest in living as a woman. Diane tried to make Bruce out to be some sort of victim but Bruce did not buy into the message. In fact, he held firm and never gave the impression that he feels sorry for himself. His character is praiseworthy.
Just recently Twitter and Facebook were saturated with posts dealing with Bruce stepping out in his new look and new persona - Caitlyn. "Call Me Cait" will be a documentary series on E! that will premiere in July.
So what is the American audience to gain from this family? As an adult I feel concerned for the young people this show is clearly geared for. The underlying message of the show seems to glorify wealth and fame. The Kardashians are simply people who get attention for being around other famous people and having money. While they do seem to be involved in business these achievements are not highlighted. Rather the focus seems to center on petty arguments and silly scenarios that are most likely planned and rehearsed.
After watching I find myself torn between feeling a bit of disgust and feeling quite a bit of empathy. On one hand they do have complications that occur in families all over America but on the other hand, I do not want to see the complications this family has. They often come off as being quite selfish and there seems to be almost no interest in the individuals to actually do anything for others, except make more money by selling themselves through promotion and promoting themselves by creating drama. They model, they entertain, they sell clothes but, where is the value of their private schooling being utilized? Why did they not go on to college and gain Master’s or PhD’s? Not one of them is a curious individual interested in learning math or science or any real skill that can actually help their community or the world. Interesting that they have all this money and fame yet, nothing of real substance to show for it; it’s actually quite depressing. Is this what America has come to?
Their fame is a reflection of our culture and our culture appears to be passive aggressive and quite selective when it comes to making proper judgments about behavior. On one hand we preach constantly about how we should not judge people yet at the same time, so many in our society do indeed judge the Kardashians. Anytime their name is mentioned on the internet, comments of hate and disgust can be found. On the other hand, they do indeed have fans and what are we to make of people who tolerate the Kardashians and accept them as normal or even genuine?
We should make judgments about people’s behaviors but we should not make judgments concerning the actual person and therein lies the problem. So many people flippantly call them stupid, evil, ignorant, annoying, etc., while others seem to not care at all what they do, almost giving them a status that allows any behavior to be excused.
For example, Kourtney and Scott are likely not “bad” people but their behaviors are irresponsible. Kourtney continuing to stay with a man who is clearly struggling with a number of issues and then making the choice for a third time to bring another child into this world with a man who doesn’t care about himself much less her is disturbing. What kind of message does this send to young girls? It is not okay for Scott to treat her the way he does and her behavior towards him is equally abusive. Why is nobody stepping in and helping her see reality? Again, many women are just like Kourtney but that doesn’t make the behavior appropriate. Americans, especially our younger generation need positive messages and especially positive messages from strong women who are willing to take control over their lives and take responsibility for their actions.
The Kardashians are but a small contribution to our culture; they are certainly not the only “reality” show on television. They do however capture enough headlines to be well-known, even known to people like myself who only occasionally watch TV from time to time.
It is perfectly acceptable to admire successful people who have obtained wealth or status but why are we not more interested in those who achieve those means through hard work, diligent study, and those who make large contributions to society through their cultivated gifts?
Perhaps things will change and hopefully there will be a silver lining. It is possible that the consequences of being exposed to the Kardashians will ultimately help our culture realize that life is more than just having money; instead it is about building good character and working hard for our families while delivering value to others in our community and even perhaps to the world. Success should indeed be desired but not just for the sake of being popular rather, our entertainment should reflect positive desires, goals, and accomplishments.