I’ve taken interest in the Kardashian divorce because my friend recently subjected me to numerous episodes and, of course, the two-part wedding special that set new bars for both garishness and gaudiness. Molly Lambert wrote a piece for Grantland about the Kardashian phenomenon that I mostly agree with. She states, essentially, that the Kardashian brand is more important than Kim’s actual lifestyle and, due to her mother’s reign of terror over her daughters’ lives, that the actual marriage to Kris was a sham, and that the whole thing might have been predetermined.
I agree that the health of the Kardashian brand has trumped Kim’s own happiness, but I’m not sure Kim actually knows the difference. Her rise to fame has definitely been fabricated. Though I’m not sure what her life was like as a child, her mother was exposed to scant amounts of celebrity through her ex-husband who was a famous trial lawyer, and she clearly liked the taste. While it’s hard to comment on the friendship between Kim and Paris Hilton (which is how Kim burst on the scene), one would have to think that someone with fame whoring tendencies spent time with someone like Paris for publicity purposes (even if the Kardashian brand wasn’t even a thought in her mind at the time.) Point being, Kim likes attention. Kim needs attention. Kim ties her self-worth due to the amount of attention she gets.
But what Kim doesn’t realize is that the caricature, sex symbol Kim Kardashian has just become…Kim Kardashian. If this were a set-up, some ploy for E! ratings (and it would have worked simply as that), then there’s no doubt in my mind Kim and Kris would ride this out longer than 72 days. After all, going through all the pains of dating, engagements, and wedding planning seems like more of a chore than pretending to stay together for the sake of publicity and milking your new Kardashian E! show about living in New York. If the divorce was a publicity stunt, it’s a bad one because it plays directly into what most people thought anyway: that the wedding was a sham and they’d be divorced in a year. The fact that Kim divorced the “love of her life” in a mere 72 days solidifies her “love” as a joke and, therefore, her brand becomes less trustworthy. While many laugh and point at Kim, there is a significant portion of her fan base that actually doesn’t, and this latest act has to damage her brand among these supporters who actually saw her as responsible and “human”. And, believe me, Kris Kardashian, Jenner, whatever, the shrewd shrew she is, I’m sure is aware of this. What would have shocked the masses and bucked the trend? A happy marriage with kids. If Kim was THAT conscious about her brand, she could have transitioned her career to the next stage: married/momma Kim. A Kim that promotes maternity clothing lines and parenting tips. She could have used this to become a more “responsible” person in the public eye; this is something Madonna would have done had she been in Kim’s position. It would have opened her up to an entire new audience that once thought she was a joke and simply a sex symbol. But that didn’t happen.
Which means only one thing: Kim actually thought it was for real, and that her life has actually become the fantasy that is portrayed on television. She actually thought her “love” for an uninteresting, decent NBA player was something for the ages, which then opens up questions as to how deep her myopic vision of her own life is, and also what her deep seeded priorities actually are. It appears someone like Kim (and seeing how she was raised, this is hardly a shock), is much more in love with herself than she is with anything else in this world, and this view has been validated by TV ratings and an audience that only sees her in edited snapshots that have become her reality. She televised her wedding, not as a symbol of love to her husband (who is a replaceable part) and not as a conscious effort to promote the Kardashian brand for financial purposes. It was just another snapshot of life to satisfy her own self-worth. The seed was planted long ago and now it’s a fully functioning tree that bears forbidden fruit whether she knows it or not. What this 72 day divorce shows is that she’s not the shrewd business woman everyone thought she might be. She’s a lost soul that has been taught that notoriety, by any means necessary, equals value. So, she will go on, fully expecting to always fall in the safety net otherwise known as fan support. Except, one day, when she ages, her looks go, and the public finds another hot celebrity to become obsessed with, she will be left with nothing but these snapshots that she will no doubt try anything to re-acquire. I hope, for her sake, she doesn’t become Norma Desmond, though if she does, I’m sure she wouldn’t even realize it.