Well, it certainly was a valiant effort.
Against the back drops of a beautiful home, with the proper lighting, and well thought out responses to some of Oprah’s more aggressive questions, you almost think that, why yes, these dark haired ladies and gents deserve all of the attention they get. They seem like reasonable, intelligent, smart business women who just happen to have a show documenting their daily lives.
But then you turn on the E! Network and watch an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you find that these are not people who are on television because they have something meaningful to say, or because they set the paradigm example of the modern American family. No, these are people who sell their lives. Every single aspect of their lives.
Be it Kris Jenner getting on Khloe about her weight, or Kourtney and Khloe nursing bad bikini wax burns with sticks of butter from the fridge, or Kim breaking down over the collapse of her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries; with the Kardashian’s, absolutely nothing is sacred.
The Oprah interview was interesting, because Oprah is in my opinion an infallible interviewer. However, for me, it did nothing but further reassert the paradox that is their existence.
For instance, there was a time in which Oprah asks Kim why exactly she decided to end her marriage so quickly—what happened that was so drastic as to make her go back on the vows she made a little more than two months earlier. But Kim declines to answer, despite the fact that her short lived marriage has already been immortalized…
If anyone wants to know the answer, they can sit back and watch it unfold on Kourtney and Kim Take New York. So why not just answer the question and save me the time of going through my DVR and just answer the question?
Or the fact that Kris Jenner refused to answer certain questions that Oprah posed about the O.J. Simpson trial and her feelings about the verdict, saying that she didn’t want to comment on it out of respect for his children—when in reality she has commented extensively on it in her new memoir. Now, if you really respected his children, why would you write about it in the first place? She is her daughters’ manager, so I’m fairly certain she has a good idea on how media works. You write something controversial so people will talk about it and be titillated enough to go out and buy your book.
Now, I’ve only seen the first part to Oprah’s interview with the Kardashian clan, but let’s hope that part two features Miss Winfrey questioning Kris Jenner on her decision to reveal the fact she cheated on her then husband Robert Kardashian despite the fact that it opened up an emotional can of worms for her daughter, Khloe. Due to Kris’ allegations, now Robert Kardashian’s other past wives have found an opening to sell their own story, which states that Robert confided in them that he wasn’t Khloe’s biological father.
But she won’t comment on certain topics out of “respect”? Respect for who, exactly? You sell your daily lives, and now you’ve sold you past at the expense of your children’s happiness…and for what? Continued fame? Notoriety? An interview with one of the biggest stars on the planet?
Well, in that case, wish granted. But is it really worth the cost?
If anything, Oprah’s interview just makes the Kardashians’ and their motives harder to understand. They want to be seen as good people. During interviews, the Kardashians are all very tactful and give measured responses accompanied with dazzling smiles. But this is in direct contrast to everything their reality show showcases about their family.
They fight, they pose, they scream, they have sex, they talk about sex, we hear them scream during sex— it’s like our generation’s Jerry Springer. It’s everything that draws people to that type of a show, its mindless escapism that makes us feel better about our problems, except this version is about a family that is rich and beautiful. Over time, people develop emotional attachments to these people, which is probably why they are so popular—people feel as though they know them.
So what exactly are they doing with not answering Oprah’s questions? If they are worried about their dignity and the privacy of their family, I’ve got news for you, those things were long sacrificed on the altar of cash and fame—and they aren’t going to be resurrected anytime soon.
Perhaps, rather than muddying their motives, Oprah’s interview made them all the more clear. They want it all. They want notoriety and privacy. They want class even though they sell their most tasteless moments.
But it isn’t possible to do that. You can’t embody all of those things. It isn’t possible. And to try to do so makes you appear hypocritical and shady.
Oprah’s interview was revealing in many other ways—for instance, Kim opens up about being on birth control at fourteen. Apparently, she was in a relationship with a boy since she was twelve and wanted to have sex with him, so her mother’s response was, alrighty then, let’s put you on the Pill.
Now, I’m not a mother, so please feel free to take whatever I say with a rather large grain of salt, but, I feel as though my response would have been a little different. I would not have punished my daughter for wanting to have sex, but I think I would at least try everything in my power to educate her on why sex at fourteen is a really, really, outrageously awful idea. If she’s going to have sex, she is going to see pictures of genital warts. That’s just a fact. I would make them know of the possible repercussions. All of them. I would also, I dunno, question her motives for being in a two-year relationship that began when she wasn’t even a teenager.
This may seem a little crazy, but when I was twelve through fourteen, I was more concerned about how the hell I was going to defeat the last boss in the video game Kingdom Hearts when I didn’t yet have enough items to synthesize the ultimate weapon/couldn’t figure out how to upgrade my thunder spell in time for the final battle (concerns that still plague me to this day), rather than being deflowered by a prepubescent male on the futon in his mom’s storage unit in full view of the Christmas decorations while the elf on the shelf eyes us creepily as he fumbles with my bra clasp.
Another somewhat surprising revelation was that Kim was in a “deep depression” for the four months after the dissolution of her marriage. Now, I can recognize that she was probably embarrassed and upset that things didn’t work out the way she had hoped, and who knows, maybe she was depressed, but here’s the thing about this family that perhaps mirrors the strife within many families—they seemingly make and manufacture their own problems.
When being questioned about her short lived marriage, and the allegations that they weren’t legitimate, Kim claimed that she didn’t see the logic behind that viewpoint.
I find that claim very intriguing. So, you don’t like people judging you and your motives? You don’t like the scrutiny that your marriage was a fraud and the law suits that claim the same thing? Then you shouldn’t have televised the wedding—or the events before and after the event. Because in between the shots of the wedding, or the engagement, or of the fallout, there are commercials and advertisements that profit off of people watching your life.
Your life is a product to be consumed by the viewer. Thus, it’s completely natural for people to assume that your marriage was a product you designed and sold for money; so it’s fascinating to me when she claims that there is no logic behind the scrutiny, when in fact, nothing could be more logical.
So, did Oprah reveal anything new about the Kardashians? Well, she certainly reaffirmed something for me; that the Kardashians are a paradoxical family that have built themselves upon the very thing that will most likely be the cause of serious turmoil in their lives.
It seems that by televising their every move and decision, the Kardashians have opened themselves up to their own specialized Pandora’s Box, filled with enough problems to keep them busy for another three seasons.
But I’m not so sure that anyone will still be watching.
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