Thursday, July 21, 2016

Greif on the Kardashians

A provocative and otherwise-excellent essay, starting with our reality TV culture (even into our presidential race) and focusing on the Kardashians.

I haven't followed them at all (well, of course, more than one must observe such things if you're in the culture at all). But Greif argues that the K's...
-reflect the culture's emphasis on "being seen"
-are "inert and mostly indolent" (Greif doesn't say this, but their show seems like an extension of Seinfeld's "show about nothing" idea)

-claim to have emotions continually but never show any
-are "altogether in control of their physical forms"

-are "post-racial" ("the family's most attractive feature") and neutered Bruce ("though at first, only symbolically"), resulting in "the blurring of racial difference and the eradication of gender difference"
-are, ironically, a cast of "supposedly distinct individuals" who are difficult to tell apart

Greif's comments about men in the K world-- and in particular, Bruce/Caitlyn-- were rough (but presumably correct): They "condescend to a variable roster of useless males who are periodically expelled." Bruce, "the one ostensibly stable male presence...exiled to the garage, the butt of jokes for most of the show's run...Bruce Jenner played his trump card by becoming the only sort of figure who could wield power in a Kardashian world: a woman...this 'Cait' surely does start with a k."


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