If Seinfeld was the show about nothing, then Kim Kardashian is the ultimate example of a Seinfeld celebrity. She first gained fame as the girlfriend of Heisman winner Reggie Bush. When Mr. Bush was at the peak of his celebrity during his USC years whoever he dated was news. People inquired who is that pretty girl in the picture with Reggie? No doubt, those curious about Reggie’s then current flame are now kicking themselves for creating a celebrity explosion.
Whether you like or admire a given celebrity, you can generally acknowledge they have some sort of talent or striking feature. They might not be your cup of tea, but you can generally understand the attention. Yes, the Divine Ms. K is pretty, yet there are millions of pretty girls otherwise devoid of talent who gain no attention. Yes, she is the daughter of an OJ Simpson case attorney, but her celebrity dwarfs any acclaim for her dad. Certainly, she is the step-daughter of Bruce Jenner; however, Bruce never generated any buzz for the last couple decades until his family’s reality show aired.
Maybe the American public has a fascination with people and shows about nothing. Kim Kardashian is not the only Seinfeld celebrity. After all, American Pickers is a popular show on the History Channel. Think about the premise of the show, two guys drive around the country and visit crazy old guys who hoard things. Mike and Frank definitely meet some off the wall individuals. Similarly, we watch another History Channel favorite, Swamp People, in which some of the bayou gator hunters actually need subtitles to assist the viewer in understanding what the characters are saying. At least Kim and the rest of her clan speak clearly.
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians show fits into the mindless genre. Kim and her sister diddle around with little work projects and their mom gets upset with at least one of them on a constant basis. Poor Bruce tries to steer clear of trouble. There is nothing wrong with the Kardashians, every family is dysfunctional in some way. They are par for the course. Nevertheless, they have become similar to the old Hollywood Squares show in which a large tick tack toe board was populated with older celebrities. You knew who they were, but for many of them you really could not remember why you knew them.
Kim’s celebrity has taken on a life of its own. Our biggest celebrities tend to be actors and sports figures. These folks garner attention so long as they are in the limelight and for some after burn as the spotlight fades, yet they become anonymous like everyone else after a time and only find attention in later years when doing something foolish. KK seems to have found the perfect niche of celebrity that requires no actual activity other than being seen. Perhaps this phenomenon will dissipate whenever Kim tires of the attention.
American celebrity culture is a curious thing. The public generally brandishes its attention on those who have great talent at something. Every so often a Seinfeld celebrity will slip through the cracks to gain fame and fortune for reasons few can recall, Kim Kardashian is one of those.
By William Costolo