I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Kardashians

The title of this blog probably clued you into the fact that I’m not a fan of the Kardashians.  As I try to keep abreast of any phenomenon that draws such attention, I actually tried watching their realty show once. I had to turn it off after about 30 seconds as my fear for humanity became too intense.

Despite that, I’m quite fascinated by the Kardashian phenomenon because I don’t understand why they’re famous. It seems there’s no particular reason other than a concept developed by Altheide & Snow that the more you appear on TV, or in this case all forms of media, the more your social status grows. These women are living proof that theory is accurate.

Over the past few weeks, it’s not just the entertainment airwaves that have been abuzz with news of the Kardashians. Kim Kardashian’s wedding was a massive media event covered by most major news sources in the western world.

Not to suggest this is the first celebrity wedding to cross over to news. I remember when I was a newsroom rookie and Celine Dion was getting married. That day, the station I worked at led the show with a major report about homelessness; the competitors led with Dion’s wedding. I didn’t see the numbers, but I know who won the ratings war.

The idea of drawing news audiences at the expense of editorial content is old hat. But at any school of journalism or newsroom the debate rages on—as does the balancing act of trying to retain credibility.

I’ve written before about CBC’s promotion of Battle of the Blades during The National, and in a privately run newsroom an entire series I once produced designed to cross-promote a reality show.

Now you could make the argument it’s all about drawing in more viewers to make more money, so more solid news content can be created.

Or you could argue that to make way for shameless promotion newsworthy stories are dropped—and even at a public broadcaster, ratings trump editorial content.

I don’t see how any traditional agency can knock citizen journalists given the now acceptable norms of our industry.

Perhaps I’m turning into a dinosaur, and taking this all too seriously. But news is meant to inform, to engage, to spark action, and, yes, even change the world. News as entertainment may be a reality, but the fact “reality” shows are now news is truly disturbing—and a bit too far down the slippery slope for me.


6 thoughts on “I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Kardashians

  1. I don’t give a rat’s ass either, but that might be because I like to think of myself as a creative free thinker/writer who sees the bland banality oozing from their shopping sprees. The K’s (I decline to use their real name for fear they may become even more famous) may topple us over the edge and into a permanent boring and predictable society.

    • Thanks for the comment Kent; although I must admit I was a bit hesitant to post it as I don’t want anyone to think I wish a violent end to any irritating personality 🙂 After much thought, and in the spirit of online openness, I decided to approve your comment, and assume you wish no one any real harm; it’s just an expression of your frustration.

      My real issue is the treatment of stories about these celebrities as “news”, when clearly they have no relevance. If Kardashian can make millions with a possibly fake wedding, why wouldn’t she? The bigger question is why does everyone keep covering her?

      • So called reality television is simple junk. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would watch, or be interested. These programs along with a host of others, often including the news seem further evidence of the dumbing down of America.

        It’s ironic in the age of high definition television with hundreds of stations to watch, there’s little or nothing to watch worth bothering with. Reality programs are at the Zenith of this dumbing process, and the Kardashians are at the apex of the junk pile. If we set our goals this low, then anyone can be a star. Perhaps that’s the draw. Programing for the high school dropout. Yet, it is still a wonder why anyone would watch these boobs. Such crap.

  2. So called “celebrities” like the Kardashians, etc and Primadonna overpaid sports figures are merely drama queens! Why they even receive news airtime or print is baffling. Who the Hell cares!

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