Kim Kardashian: American Woman
What else makes Kardashian so weirdly appealing? At one point, I begin telling her that I also think that in a country of dysfunctional families, the fact that her family communicates is also amazing, but all I can get out is “and the other thing about you that’s appealing—” before she interrupts to say, “Right, I think it’s great that the show is aspirational. I started off in a small apartment, and now I’m in this huge home.” That someone might not find the Kardashians aspirational is simply something she would not consider. She’s not conflicted about the point of life: It’s to be happy and make money, and she’s doing both. Kardashian is a nice person — there’s no way to spend time with her and not come away with that impression.
Does she hear the haters, sharpening their sticks over her Pandora-like release of crass commercialism and oversharing on the world? She doesn’t read anything about herself anymore, not tabloids, no Google alerts, nothing. Nevertheless, the hate came to her one day in May at Barnes & Noble in Manhattan at the book signing of Selfish, a book consisting of a collection of her selfies from the past eight years. Inside the midtown shop, she sat on a carpeted dais surrounded by 300 fans, few of whom had shown up for a signed book — they wanted selfies with their selfie idol, the woman who has made “a science of the selfie,” as Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom puts it, adding, “Instagram wouldn’t be the same without Kim.”
Today, at first, there’s a ban on selfies, enforced by a bodyguard and put into place in order to move people through as quickly as possible. After staring into the eyes of too many devastated teenagers, Kardashian soon overturns this decree. “If you’re fast, you can take a selfie,” she says, decisively. “That’s what the book’s about.” Fans rotate in at an incredible clip, blurting out, “You’re like a Barbie!” or, “You are a role model for my daughters,” or, “I want to say, ‘Fuck the haters,’ because you’re amazing.” Girls in pink bedazzled shirts reading ‘All Hail KKW’ tell her they missed school for this — “Oh, no, I don’t want to get you in trouble!”
At the sight of her, gay men cry, and then recover quickly to take the perfect selfie. There are grandmas, a few straight guys and lots of people who just don’t look like they should be here, which is what makes it hard to identify the half dozen or so animal-rights activists with sleeve tattoos and gauge earrings in the line, who wait until they’re right in front of Kardashian’s dais before beginning to attack. “Fifty animals skinned for one fur coat, and you dress your kid like that?” they angrily shriek at Kardashian. “Shame on you!” “You’re the most disgusting human being on the planet!”
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