Ugh, the Kardashians are the worst, am I right? No, I’m not right. In fact, if you did agree with that, I have some bad news — you’re the worst. If you’re wondering why I say that, you can hear all about it on this week’s Unpopular Opinion podcast …
… where I’m joined by comics Maria Shehata and Griff Pippin. Or you can read all about it in this column right now. Let’s get to it, you monsters. Here are a few reasons why it’s time to stop being shitty to the Kardashians.
Sure, you know a lot of people hate the Kardashians. There’s a good chance you hate them as well. Do you know why, though? If not, let me be the first to break the bad news — It’s because you hate yourself.
Seriously, hear me out, you self-loathing bastards. No matter what specific and ultimately petty reason you may give for your unrelenting disgust, it really just boils down to the fact that the Kardashians are, at least in terms of the things they’re hated for, a reflection of the world we live in. They’re obsessed with material possessions, they want attention for doing nothing special, they’re deluded enough to think people actually care about the mundane details of their life … the list goes on.
Now, look at that list again. Does anything about it seem familiar? Is it at all reminiscent of something you see on a regular basis? Like every Facebook page on the planet, perhaps? Be it buying a new car, adopting a new pet, or coming down with a minor illness, if it’s happening to you, chances are you’ll take to social media and tell your “followers” about it. And guess what? With the possible exception of immediate family or close friends, no one gives a shit about what you’re up to either.
Oh, neat, you know who else has a foot? Almost everyone.
The only thing more annoying than your incessant posts about the cute things you and your significant other do as a couple is the constant stream of posts from people complaining about how they don’t want their timeline flooded with details about your relationship. That’s just what we do now. Every detail of our existence gets posted online for public consumption, and at every step of the way, we pretend people actually care, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. We know it’s sad, we know it’s desperate, and we do it anyway.
Or, for another example, take the constant criticism Kim Kardashian (and almost every other female celebrity) gets when we find out that a picture we’ve seen in a magazine or online was tweaked to make her look slightly more attractive. Why can’t they just be happy with their natural beauty? I can’t answer that, but I can tell you that Instagram filters wouldn’t exist if that was a thing any of us truly cared about. Using technology to pretty up our online image is such a common thing we had to invent a hashtag specifically to warn others when we post a picture that hasn’t been altered.
How is any of this at all different from what we claim makes the Kardashians so awful? It’s not, but hating that family has become a quasi religion, and the comments sections and social media feeds where people post their complaints are the church. No one goes there because they believe the words they’re saying or the messages they’re spreading, they go because doing so makes them feel like they’re somehow better than those they look down on, even though they commit the exact same sins on a daily basis.
If you’re wondering what inspired me to write about the Kardashians this week, look no further than Lamar Odom. To give you some quick background info, he’s the former NBA star who married Khloe Kardashian. After appearing on Keeping Up With The Kardashians together several times, he and Khloe starred in their own spinoff show, the aptly named Khloe & Lamar. After they separated, his life spiraled out of control, culminating in him falling into a coma and nearly dying after spending an (allegedly) drug-fueled three days in a Nevada brothel.
It was one of the saddest possible outcomes, and the way the general public reacted in the days after the story broke made it significantly sadder. As one would expect, the Kardashians were mentioned in pretty much every write-up about the tragedy. If there’s ever been a moment when calling a ceasefire on hurling hate and anger in that family’s direction, this was it. That didn’t happen, of course. Instead, things devolved into a chorus of enraged outsiders questioning why the Kardashians deserved to be mentioned at all.
And how come they’re always photobombing his pictures?
I’ll just say this as plainly as possible — that’s a stupid fucking question. For starters, if you know anything at all about Lamar Odom’s history, you know the Kardashians are the closest thing to a real family that man has ever had. His father was a mostly absent heroin addict, and his mother died of colon cancer when he was 12 years old, leaving the job of raising him to his grandmother. You shouldn’t be mad that the Kardashians get mentioned whenever Lamar Odom’s tragic downfall is written about, you should be happy that, after 30-plus years on this planet, he somehow ended up surrounded by a huge group of people who, from everything I’ve seen, accepted and treated him like he was part of an actual family.
Even if none of that was true, Khloe Kardashian is still his wife. If it bothered you that she was the one who got the final say in how his medical treatment progressed, I’d love to know who you think should have been doing it instead. His train wreck of a dad? His long dead mother? Byron Scott? By all means, tell me who makes a better point person in that situation than his wife. They’ve been separated for a while, but you don’t just immediately stop loving or caring about a person because a relationship doesn’t work.
See, that’s the entire problem, though. We don’t see the Kardashians as people. We see them as a soulless entity that exists for no other reason than to make money, take selfies, and get famous. They don’t have cares, they don’t have worries, and they sure as shit don’t have feelings or emotions.
What are you, some kind of wax sculpture?
They are subhuman monsters who deserve zero respect or sympathy in any situation, even when they’re rallying around a man who desperately needs someone to be there for him.
So, naturally, when the family did assemble to be by his side, it turned into a huge controversy. That was fueled in large part by a rumor that, when they arrived, they had a camera crew in tow to document Lamar Odom’s impending death on their reality show like the fame whores that they are. This myth was debunked almost as quick as it surfaced, but that doesn’t mean all the stories claiming it happened were taken down. At best, some sites updated their stories with a one line correction way at the end that made it clear the rumor was bullshit, but a lot of sites just left the story up, completely devoid of updates.
Even worse, a lot of sites took the situation as an opportunity to further drive home the point that the Kardashian women are life destroyers who curse every man they touch, as seen in this article about famous men who were “ruined” by meeting them.
When I saw that headline, my very first thought was, “Goddammit, OJ Simpson better not be on that list.” No such luck.
Yep, you read that right, ladies and gentlemen — the Kardashian women ruined OJ. Granted, his association with them centered mostly around Robert Kardashian successfully keeping him out of prison after he was accused killing Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but since when do we let facts or rational thinking get in the way of a chance to shit on the most hated family in America?
Far and away the most egregious response to the situation came from Dennis Hof, the owner of the Love Ranch, the brothel where Lamar Odom was found near death. When the Kardashians asked him to hold off on talking to the media until they at least had a chance to get all the details, he came back with a simple response: “Go to Hell.”
Fucking what? Who responds like that to the family of a man who nearly died in your place of business? The only thing more disgusting than what he said is the fact that when the story came out, almost no one batted an eyelash upon hearing about it. They’re the Kardashians, after all. What’s he supposed to do … treat them with dignity or respect?
Run the phrase “Kardashian family tree” through your Google machine and it will mostly likely produce an image showing their lineage starting with Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner, which is perfectly understandable, I suppose, provided you’re just using it to supplement a lazy blogspam post on your shitty gossip site that only garbage people read.
Unfortunately, I have my suspicions that it’s also an accurate representation of where a lot of people assume the Kardashian family story begins. As if Robert Kardashian fell from the sky carrying a bag of money, landed on Kris Jenner, and the resulting explosion produced an unstoppable empire of wealth and celebrity that continues to thrive to this day. I’ll admit that would be pretty damn neat if it was true, but there’s more to their history than that, and it’s every bit as interesting.
As you can probably already tell from this detailed breakdown.
The Kardashians’ great grandparents came to America in 1915 after narrowly escaping an unpleasant moment in history known as the Armenian Genocide, which was exactly what the name suggests. The Ottoman government, in what is now known as Turkey, instituted an extermination program that’s estimated to have resulted in the deaths of anywhere from 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians. Why? Religion, of course!
Well, sort of. In 1912, after being defeated in the first Balkan War, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, resulting in the loss of 85 percent of the territory it occupied. The empire’s Muslim leadership, known as the Three Pashas, saw relocating the remaining population to Anatolia, an area sometimes referred to as Asia Minor, which makes up most of the land in the present-day Republic of Turkey, as their only viable option. At the time, the area was occupied mostly by Armenians, most of whom were Apostolic, Catholic, or Protestant.
Eventually, it was decided that the they had to go. A propaganda campaign was undertaken to make the minority Armenian population appear to be a threat to the safety of the ruling Muslim government. In a few short years, that escalated into a full-on genocide, with able-bodied males being executed or forced to work themselves to death in labor camps in one wave shortly before World War I, and the remaining population death marched into the Syrian desert shortly thereafter.
Of course, that’s kind of just the story of how there came to be so many Armenian communities around the world …
Shout out to Glendale!
… but you won’t be at all surprised to know that the Kardashian version is a little more Hollywood-esque than most. As legend has it, the family belonged to a group known as the Molokans, a Christian sect that rejected conformity and orthodoxy in religion. If you wanted to build a temple to worship in, you could do that. If you’d prefer to do it at home in front of the early-1900s version of a box fan and pray from the comfort of your couch, so be it. Get this … they even consumed dairy products during Christian fasts.
The Kardashians fled at the urging of a man named Efim Klubnikin, who wrote a prophecy at the age of 12 warning that the group would need to flee to America soon, and then showed up as an elder to let everyone know the prophecy was about to come true. Under his leadership, a group of about 2,000 Molokans, known as Jumpers, fled to America, with a large majority settling in the Los Angeles area.
Sounds crazy, but fleeing when they did, no matter what the reason, spared the Kardashians’ ancestors the horrors of not only the Armenian Genocide but also the entirety of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917.
So, if you find yourself consistently seething with rage over how easy of a life the Kardashians have it, take heart in knowing it wasn’t always that way. Historically speaking, they’ve had to deal with some shit, and it’s not like they landed in the United States and immediately started cranking out sex tapes and smartphone apps, you know?
When the advice of the elder Kardashians’ wacky spiritual adviser (who was totally right, by the way) landed them in America, one of their first business ventures was an almost certainly not glamorous garbage truck service. Robert Kardashian’s father owned a meat-packing business.
Hey, speaking of that, how much do you know about the father whose money the Kardashian kids sometimes get accused of living off of to fund their lavish lifestyle? Any idea how he made his money? If you said “lawyer,” not really. Before the trial that made him famous …
And ruined OJ by introducing him to the Kardashian women.
… Robert Kardashian hadn’t practiced law for 20 years. His first real success in the business world came in 1973 when he and a few partners founded a publication cleverly titled Radio & Records, which, no surprise here, kept track of what records were being played and other radio-related information. When they sold it, he made $3 million in 1979 money. That’s a decent sum, but it’s probably not what you envision when you think of “Kardashian money.” From there he invested in various other ventures and whatnot, but nothing to bother his Wikipedia page about.
Had it not been for his decision to be a part of OJ Simpson’s legal team, something he did for no other reason than because the two had been good friends for years, there’s a decent chance we’d have no idea who the Kardashians are to this day. That this decision made Robert Kardashian relatively famous is no one’s fault but our own. Coverage of that trial didn’t draw record numbers of viewers for nothing. It was the first time we’d ever gotten such an inside look at the personal life of a huge celebrity, and Kim Kardashian’s dad just happened to be one of the cast members in that reality-show circus of a trial.
OJ did this.
It wasn’t dad’s money that made the Kardashian empire as we know it today possible, it was the celebrity status we attached to his last name as a result of our voyeuristic fascination with turning a genuine tragedy into televised entertainment. Without that, the fact that Kim Kardashian eventually had sex with Ray J on video probably wouldn’t have even registered as news.
I’m not a religious person, but sometimes it really does seem like karma might be a real thing.
Now, don’t take everything I said about the Kardashians benefiting more from their father’s fame than his money to mean that I’m implying they had zero help in that department. Way before the sex tapes and reality shows, Kim Kardashian started and ran various businesses (eBay stores, closet organizing, etc.), funded mostly by money she got from her father. Here’s the thing, though: He didn’t just give her the money. He loaned it to her, with the stipulation that she pay him back with interest. That he was able to do that certainly gave her a leg up in the world, but it’s also something she could have just as easily accomplished by going to a bank.
If her father’s financial success played any role in her current fortune, it probably had a lot more to do with him teaching her the value of using the money you have to make more money, which is precisely what he did for himself by giving her that loan. With all that in mind, think about the few non-image related compliments people sometimes begrudgingly offer up about Kim Kardashian. She’s smart. She knows how to run a business. We’re talking about a woman who made an estimated $28 million last year, most of it coming from the various business ventures she’s launched as a means of monetizing her fame.
How to spot a potentially profitable investment opportunity is an instinct she likely picked up from her father, and it’s something she’d probably be doing even if she never became famous. That people would watch if she made a media spectacle out of her everyday life, however, is something she learned from us. We’re the ones who showed her that people will pay attention to you if they like you, and that even more people will pay attention if they hate you. That the public’s fascination with the OJ trial turned her dad into a famous person just for going to work proved that decades ago, and we prove it’s still true to this day every time her reality show is renewed for another season.
If you’re the type who sees the name Kim Kardashian and immediately seeks out the first face you can shout “What does she even do?” at …
… eventually you must realize that you’re the answer to your own question. In her most basic of roles, Kim Kardashian attracts attention, negative or otherwise, in a way that makes people want to say something. All those blogs and magazines and news sites don’t talk about Kim Kardashian because they care about her, they do it because you care about her, and the frustrated comments you leave and the links you anger-share on your Facebook page do nothing to make that less true.
I don’t give a good goddamn if she ever loses a bit of her popularity, but if that’s a thing you’d like to actively participate in bringing about, just shutting the fuck up and going about your day when faced with news about her would go a long way toward making that happen.