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Friday, June 14, 2013

Kashing in with the Kardashians

David Horsey, Keeping up with the Kardashians
David Horsey/Los Angeles Times (June 21, 2013)
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West not only became parents last week, they also provided a new storyline for the reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." Now, for many TV seasons to come, America can watch a child grow up immersed in the world of high-end consumerism and easy celebrity from the moment of birth.
Not everyone cares about the Kardashians, but those who do cannot get enough information about every detail of their lives. A sociologist could spend a career analyzing the way in which certain attractive, rich people -- Paris Hilton would be a case in point -- who have no remarkable talents or achievements to their name, can cleverly turn themselves into celebrities with millions of followers.
When Kim Kardashian enters a marriage to a pro basketball player that lasts a matter of days and follows it with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy with a rap star, it becomes big news. When Rob Kardashian introduces a new line of socks, some people will purchase his over others, even though they could be produced in the same Asian sweatshop as a pair on sale at Target.
The Kardashian women are all darkly beautiful, but they are hard to distinguish from any number of magazine models or even from each other. Other than the clan's provisional patriarch, Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner, none of the family has done anything more remarkable than spend lots of money on nice clothes.
Nevertheless, the Kardashians deserve credit for turning their lives of excess into mass entertainment. There is no particular reason to care about any of them, but they have figured out how to make us care. Like seeing a Maserati collide with a mansion gate as we drive by, it is hard to look away.

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