In Defense of (gulp) Kim Kardashian

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Early last week, it was announced that this summer, Kim Kardashian would be joining the cast of the Lifetime Television show Drop Dead Diva for a multi-episode arc.  Almost immediately after the press release hit the internet, a new barrage of Kardashian bashing began.  I may be in the minority here, but it made me feel sorry for her.

First, I must divulge that my husband is one of the writer/producers of Drop Dead Diva, which is why I was monitoring this twitterstorm so closely.  Quite frankly, I was surprised by the vitriol that followed the announcement. After all, this is a show that has guest starred Paula Abdul and Liza Minelli in almost the same breath. But the fierceness with which viewers voiced their digital dismay at the casting decision made me think. 

“I am honestly disgusted with this move,” wrote one.  Really?  I’m disgusted with the mold I found growing on a forgotten potato I just found in the bottom of my vegetable drawer.

“Didn't the producers read the article that the Kardashian ‘brand’ is declining and everything that has their face and names on it from shoes to magazine covers had a drop in revenue,” wrote another.  No. They do not follow the every move of Hollywood tabloids. They are too busy working.

“Why would they ruin the show with such a horrible person.” one queried. Horrible?  Horrible is not the way I’d personally describe the woman who just donated $50,000 to the Trevor Project a LGBT suicide prevention program. Or the woman who donates her clothes to raise money for the Dream Foundation a charity that grants wishes for adults suffering from life-limiting illnesses.  And what about the woman who says in an online interview that she was “raised always being taught to give 10% of my earnings to the church, and always went to the Special Olympics with my step dad, Bruce Jenner. Giving back and helping others in need has been a way of life!” Just horrible isn’t she?

“I love the show but hate Kim.”  Hate.  Something this world can use a lot less of.  But if you have to, hate the state of education in this country.  Hate the fact the banks forced thousands of people to lose their homes.  Hate that our country is still riddled with prejudice for anything or anyone who is different.

“She put herself out there for this type of criticism.” “She only thinks of herself and her looks” "I can't believe she is trying to act.”  Why should we care about such comments posted on a Facebook page?  Because all of these comments could just as easily be heard being whispered by girls or parents when the cast announcements were made about the local school play, and a newbie had been awarded the starring roll.  Monkey see, monkey do.

And what about the notion of a reinvention for Kim, which is what the Drop Dead Diva “series is all about” according to the the show’s executive producer Josh Berman.  Were there sexual exploits of consenting adults caught on film? You bet. Shameless promotion?  Uh, huh.  Mind-numbing television entertainment?  Afraid so.  Paid handsomely for the deeds?  Yep, and laughing all the way to the bank, I assume.  As would I, should anyone offer me millions of dollars for appearances and a reality show (okay, not the sex tape part).  Of course, no one is asking me.  But I digress.

It is with this type of prejudice for those who have erred, that our nation has had debate regarding the idea of rehabilitation of convicted criminals.  But here we are only talking about, gasp, an over exposed celebrity.

And honestly, which one of us wouldn’t want a chance to reinvent ourselves.  The idea of reinvention is a bastion of  hope for many, as millions of people have seen their lives change with the faultering economy.  Oprah just devoted an entire issue of her magazine to the topic.  Madonna is a master of it.  What is it about Kim that makes her ineligible for such an opportunity.

And speaking of the economy, those Kardashians certainly are doing their fare share of job creation. It takes a whole lot people to run the empire in all its permutations, something I’m sure many families are thanking their lucky stars for.

But what may be the big issue that many take umbrage with, is the idea that Kim and her sisters are setting themselves up as role models for young girls, teaching them that the root to success is through materialism and selling your image, not their intelligence.

However in fact, the Kardashian family is one group of smart cookies. Only the shrewdness of able business people could catapult one person’s 15 minutes of fame into the empire that today is all things Kardashian. There are TV shows, stores, clothing lines, perfumes, books and a myriad of promotional appearances. We’re talking design, merchandising, public speaking, marketing, business strategy and putting your best face forward.  These skills are not only nothing to scoff at, but a desired ability I’d wish for both my children.

And while certainly nothing more than fluff and drivel, it should be noted that the Kardashian television shows are pretty tame in terms of bad behavior.  Kim herself is shown in a mostly positive light, albeit with a bit of paranoia and some big sibling rivalry issues.  Would I want this type of exposure for my daughter?  Not a chance.  But what’s good for the goose...

January 18, 2012 Los Angeles, CA.The Kardashians, Kim and Khloe and Mother Kris attend the NBA Basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California...Louis Lopez/CSM(Credit Image: © Louis Lopez/Cal Sport Media/ZUMAPRESS.com)


Finally, in the age of Twitter and Facebook where everyone has a blog, including your truly, isn’t that what everyone wants?  To have their voice heard?  Kim is just tweeting on a bigger stage.  You don’t think we are all blogging for ourselves, do you?  Fame baby.  Like it or not, for many it’s the name of the game.

With that in mind, how can we continue to blame Kim and her family for what the boycottkim.com website claims, is making “a mockery of American culture, doing whatever it takes to extend her fifteen minutes of fame.”  Actually, that would be us.  The media, and the public have made a mockery of American culture by giving the boob tube and the entertainers contained within such a large slice of our everyday lives. We are the ones who are setting a poor example for our children on what merits our time and attention. The Kardashians were just smart enough to cash in on it.

 

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