Kardashian Dreams, And Other Pop Culture Notes

So I’m at the grocery store checkout line the other day and I see this: 

And I realize afresh something that’s occurred to me a few times over the past few months: I have absolutely no idea who the Kardashians are. And yet here they are on the cover of a major magazine. And it’s not the first time, either, because I know I’ve glanced over their names and cleavage in the not-distant past. And always with a weird frisson of guilt because: I kind of write about popular culture; I used to work at People magazine, the very epicenter of popular culture; and who knows, maybe a quick, withering reference to the K’s in some other piece (a thoughtful analysis of the works of, say, renewed financial regulation in a post-crash environment) might come in handy. But as I tossed a box of Honey Nut Shredded Wheat onto the belt I knew, shamefully, that I was not equipped to do so.

So reporting commenced. A visit to Kim Kardashian’s official website. A glance at some of the nearly 14 million (!!!!!) hits achieved in a Google search.

And here’s what I learned:

1. There is a rich, somewhat notorious and now dead father.

2. A grasping, publicity hungry mom.

3. An array of sisters, most/all of whom have names starting with a ‘K,’ even when it stretches traditional English spellings to, and beyond, the breaking point. (e.g., Kourtney)

4. None of them seem to work, beyond being socialites and camera targets.

5. Nevertheless, they hang out with mainstream New Age guru Deepak Chopra.

6. Which makes me feel infinitely worse about MNAG Deepak Chopra.

7. None of the K girls seem to mind being naked in front of a camera. Kim, in fact, has her own notorious bootleg (allegedly) sex tape in circulation. Which, critics point out, isn’t particularly hot.

8. And yet, I suspect, if the K’s didn’t exist, a whole other family of women would (and in fact are currently gearing up to) take their place.

9. Because this is how we roll in the good old Western Civ.

10. And there’s an interesting essay/analysis on why this is true, and maybe why it’s not an entirely bad thing. Or maybe it’s a hideous thing, even worse than we think. Or, to put it another way, how’s that health care reform coming?