So, I’m at an airport watching the CNN broadcast over the flat screens in the terminal. The topic: Kim Kardashian’s divorce from Kris Humphries after only 72 days. The angle: Was the marriage a publicity stunt for the Kardashian brand and, if so, what are the implications of this divorce for the brand moving forward?
Let me first say I am indifferent to the Kardashian brand and all said implications moving forward. While Kim no doubt is a pretty woman there are lots of those on this planet and I have long wondered at America’s fascination with this particular specimen. Wondered at yes but surprised by no. That’s the world we live in. Paris Hilton. Anna Nicole Smith. Kim Kardashian. These Barbie Dolls became icons by some fateful combination of genes, money and chutzpa. That and making a sex tape.
And like the real Barbie, they are brands whether I like it or not. And while I don’t, many do. The talking head on CNN called Kardashian a lifestyle brand with a global footprint worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Sigh. The news anchor thusly wanted to know if the brand would be negatively impacted by this seemingly obvious scam marriage and impromptu divorce.
The pop culture expert answered the brand would be hurt…that young women the world over will view this event as some sort of betrayal.
Come on? Betrayal. Betrayal of what: the sacred vow of marriage? Didn’t that go out the window when the bride sold the film rights to her wedding along with numerous other affiliations? And frankly, do even the biggest fans believe –I mean really believe- all these blingy babes and real housewives are about anything other than garnering fame for themselves and their get?
The Kardashian brand will be just fine by this scandal because the Kardashian brand had no standards in the first place.
August 28, 2011
Hurricane Irene is in the history books. As I predicted, by the time it got to New York it had the impact of the Spiderman play -and hyped like it too.
Now that we’re all sick of the breathless coverage on the Weather Channel and Wolf Blitzer’s Pantagonia raincoat I thought a display of other non-weather related hurricanes would be fitting.
Children, can you think of any others? Surprisingly, I couldn’t…
Everyone is talking about the economy. Or should I say shrieking? Fueled by hysterical reportage, the topic has become another 9/11. While the credit crisis is real, I think the media has taken it too far. Cable news is downright ghoulish about it. “How low will it go?” bellows the reporter on CNN. Words like “disaster” and “catastrophe” are being tossed around so often they are losing all meaning.
It reminds me of the hurricane coverage on the Weather Channel. A storm brews in the tropics and the media responds accordingly. Reporters put on their raincoats. Experts materialize. We are captivated by the swirling tempest, hypnotized by its evil eye. The journalists and experts speak gravely of dire consequences but beneath the warnings, we can’t help but detect a sense of ghoulish anticipation. Dare I suggest it’s as if the experts and reporters are secretly hoping for the worst. Why? Because the nastier the storm the more people will watch it. We personify the hurricane: Hugo, Katrina. It’s personal now. The drama is real!
Is it not eerily similar to what we are witnessing right now, regarding the markets? Expert analysts, sleeves rolled up, are screaming about “bottoms” and “bailouts.” The women of CNN are genuinely concerned. I heard one today liken the crashing markets to “a car racing down a huge hill without any brakes.” An apt metaphor, I suppose. But did the hill have to be “huge?” And is the car really “racing?” Like kids at an auto race, are these journalists watching the markets, hoping for a crash?
In the face of epic bad news the media becomes more like an ad agency. The news is written as copy now, full of melodrama and pathos. They are selling these storms and crashing markets, making volcanoes out of mountains. The drama is real!
And so it is. But is the hyperbolic coverage becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy? My financial advisor said she wished they’d just be quiet, that enough was enough. We get it, already. She feared a “War of the Worlds” effect. That the American people were beginning to fear the worst, and that the worst was yet to come. And since no one (the experts, the Presidential candidates, Oprah) knows what to do, panic ensues. Panic begets chaos. The markets tumble further. The sky falls.