It’s not the Kardashians. It’s You
President Obama’s recent comments on media culture and materialism have many believing that he is personally criticizing reality-TV star Kim Kardashian and her baby daddy/boyfriend, rapper Kanye West.
In a recent interview with Amazon.com, the President said, “The American dream involved some pretty basic stuff — a good job where you felt some security, a good education … People felt if they worked hard they could get there … I don’t think people went around saying to themselves, ‘I need to have a 10,000-square-foot house’ … I think there has also been a shift in culture. We weren’t exposed to the things we didn’t have in the same way that kids these days are. There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing or where Kanye West was going on vacation and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”
Before reality-TV, celebrity magazines and the term “pop culture,” the average American did not have a 24-hour view into lifestyles of the rich and famous minus a weekly syndication of Robin Leach’s show. But with this “shift in media culture,” people are now given open invite into the lives of the very rich- causing many to measure their own happiness through that of celebrities, leading many to live above their means.
The Kardashians- which people now consider an empire, are worth an estimated $80 million which they made starting with their reality TV franchise, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and a slew of endorsement deals, makeup and a clothing line. The show, which is on its 8th season, allows viewers an inside look into their lavish lifestyle, which includes million-dollar mansions, private jets, and day-to-day activities that involve photo shoots, vacations and shopping sprees. Thus, its easy to see why the President is acknowledging this shift in media culture and how it has skewered people’s perception of success and happiness.
It’s not just the Kardashians. Its the Lindsey Lohans, the Real Housewives and Victoria Beckhams of pop culture, that have created in us, this obsession with things that don’t really matter in life. Media professionals argue that they are simply giving us what we want and the ratings seem to prove them right. If you hate what the Kardashians stand for, stop watching them. If you simply love to hate them, bootleg it. But don’t get defensive because the President called us out on our shifting ideals or simply blame the TV stars for the denigration of American values. We have a part in this too.