The Formula for Fame


kardashian.JPGSome silly things in life make me wonder why.

Why, for example, does one of my coworkers love Mountain Dew so much? Why do I always get lost in the Bangkok airport, despite plotting my course with a map and having been there multiple times? And just why, exactly, is mechanically separated chicken necessary? (On second thought, I don’t actually want to know that last one.)

Lately, I can add a new, silly quandary to my list: Why is Kim Kardashian famous?

Last week, every time I turned around I heard about was her multi-million-dollar wedding. But why? For goodness’ sake, she made a sex tape that was leaked in 2007! Later that year (as a reward, I assume), she posed nude for Playboy magazine, and then her mostly-K-named family was given their own self-titled reality show. Now she has the celebrity businesswoman platform to “develop” (i.e., use minions of behind-the-scenes people who actually have the expertise) fragrances and other products.

Twenty years ago, a sex tape wouldn’t have made someone famous and influential. Infamous and ashamed, perhaps, but not admired and adored. But shame is history, it seems to me, and self-promotion is a sign of our times. Give someone 15 minutes of notoriety and, with the Hollywood machine, they can ride that wave into a brand name. Nowadays, retreating from public humiliation is a sign of defeat, so many camera-ready celebs brazenly embrace their bad behavior. All they need to do is have a mischievous response ready for every misstep (sexual or other) they take, and a “courageous” tweet that says the situation has made them stronger. They just can’t actually apologize for what they’ve done. And certainly they cannot hide from the cameras.

In 2011, this is the path to a certain kind of stardom. Stardom that means absolutely nothing at all—but cashes in exceptionally well. 

Who wrote this?

Meredith has had two careers: one as a writer/editor for both Focus on the Family and The Navigators, and one as an English teacher trekking far-flung corners of Europe, Africa and Asia. She now rejoins Focus, but with souvenirs—including new eyes with which to better view American culture.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

From the 2007 Emmys opening number, starring "Family Guy"'s Brian and Stewie Griffin:

Stewie: You know, Brian, we are priveleged to live in this particular age of television programming.

Brian: Really?  You think so?  Seems to me like nearly all television these days is complete trash.

Stewie: Yes, quite right.  But never before in history have we had such a wide selection of trash.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Lisbeth:

Some of my hallmates said that, when they finished watching the Kardashian wedding, they immediately made bets with one another about how long they thought the marriage would last.  With a family like the Kardashians, people had to have known a short marriage was coming; it was only a matter of time.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Marylou:

Just now ran across this article. Yes, I was saying the same thing. Who is Kim Kardashian and why do we care about her wedding?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Charger:

That is sad, how there is no shame in anything now. You can do things in public now that a couple of decades ago would get you arrested. Sad sad sad.         Which one like's Mountain Dew?