This is excellent, read it in full. On the Kardashian bit in particular:
- Every era, for centuries, has had its few celebrities or cultural products whose name people who are neither as enlightened nor as funny as they think invoke as, with implied caps, THE DOWFALL OF SOCIETY. Who they end up being depends on a lot of factors: winner-takes-all name recognition by tabloid-cover or headline-feed or ad-placement osmosis (which is why Miley Cyrus is an example and Demi Lovato is not); their appeal to 13-year-old girls (which is why boy bands are reviled en masse and by name and, I dunno, Myspace emo is not); their appeal to 40-year-old women in Middle America (which is why Fifty Shades of Grey is an example and James Patterson* is not); and then race, implied class and/or new money, weight, etc., meaning a large portion of the backlash here comes from people using “Kardashian” as a synecdoche for “THE DOWNFALL OF AMERICAN CULTURE, AS EMBODIED BY NON-WASPY, NON-TINY, DOWNMARKET-CODING WOMEN.”
- Go a step farther and you find the people who criticize Kanye West dating a celebrity to juice his own celebrity, in the music and out. It seems like a fairer, more thought-out point until you notice everyone they are or were silent about, namely every celebrity couple, because this is how celebrity couples work by industry default. (And have since forever. Read history, of any era; if you want convenience and relative recency, read Anne Helen Petersen’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood series. Nothing is new.) Since it’s Kanye we’re talking about, here’s a good example: Taylor Swift, who dropped Red while she dated a Kennedy and the most saleable One Direction member, and worked both of these into her music. Somehow none of the Kanye pundits brought the hand-waving freakoutery.***
* Yes, I know Patterson has institutional immunity, and that women also read him. I know because patterson, Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell make up about 60% of my mother’s reading habits, to the point where it’s a family joke that she won’t buy a book if there’s no murder in the title. This may explain a lot about me and my family.
** Kim codes white in relation to Kanye, but not entirely in general; it’s kind of like how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is either white or not depending on who wants to make which point.
*** There was HWFO, but butthurt Louis Tomlinson stans are different than yuppies tsk-tsking about Kanye’s artistry being tainted.
I said it on Twitter, I’ll say it here: “A great read describing Kanye’s politics, basically comparing him to Batman.”(via madeupmemories)