Saturday, November 05, 2011

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From People Talking About Kim Kardashian's Divorce. (POP!Best!)

POP!Best! is a weekly look back at the week that just happened. In case you forgot. Or were in a coma or something. Or maybe you were just busy. Who am I to judge? But I do judge. Oh, how I judge.

Back in the fabled time we now think of as "the 80s," every assumes that life was all feathered hair, popped collars, and guys cutting the fingers off of their gloves

for no real reason, and that life was simpler and easier back then, what with Reagan being still 75% alive and Bill Cosby having not gotten all old and bitter.

But people forget that the unenlightened denizens of that darker time didn't have all the answers, like we do today, and frequently forgot all the important things in life, which is why they needed reminding of the things they needed to know to live via the awe-inspiring idea "All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten."

That simple idea -- that in kindergarten we'd learned everything we'd ever need to get by in the world -- took the 1980s by storm, even though it was published in 1988 and therefore was a little too late to do anything about all the bad ideas that had already been spawned by the 1980s:

But, late as it was, it's fair to say that Robert Fulghum's simple poem inspired the world, and for decades after the publication of his book of essays, we no longer sought out excesses, we no longer were mean to each other, we did not wage unjust wars or help trample the dreams of millions to enrich ourselves.

Which is why we were, until this week, living in a veritable paradise where people shared, and ate warm cookies and cold milk, and flushed, but then, this week, as we all know, the entire equilibrium of this and every other universe (yes, even that one where everything rhymes with orange) was upset when the unthinkable happened and a celebrity marriage turned out to not be based on romantic notions of love at all!

Never mind that, by my count, 99.9% of all marriages are based not on love but on other emotions, less fanciful, less poetic emotions like "She was the first and only person who would sleep with me more than once" or "I'll show my sister who can get married first," (both of which are lesser-recognized emotions in the pantheon but are still valid): whatever the standards we set for our own marriages (low, judging by the fact that Mexico now thinks 2 years is about how long anyone can stand to be married), celebrity marriages are something different. Something beautiful. Something for us to aspire to. Something for Americans to watch since we foolishly gave up having our own real royalty over 200 years ago and now live empty dreary lives.

Celebrity marriages are more than just a way for someone who stored bat guano in her house to legitimize our view of her and somehow become a U.N. ambassador and "role model" in spite of all evidence to the contrary; celebrity marriages are how we, as a people, made sure that traditional values of love, and romance, and four-hour TV specials, were still respected, here in the United States and probably everywhere else in the world but who cares about them because we now have forty-nine different states where it's totally legal to go into an elementary school carrying a concealed shotgun. (USA! USA! USA!)

Until this week, that is.

Past celebrity marriages never failed to live up to our standards and ideals. People like Britney Spears and Jennifer Aniston and...

... and other celebrities who got married*

*I'm kind of the wrong person to ask about this, in that I don't really know who celebrities are. I'm far more likely to remember the name of Jaggers' clerk (Wemmick) than I am to remember the name of the girl who played in those vampire/werewolf movies (Kate Beckinsale, whose name I only know now because it came up, improbably, in a work meeting yesterday). My go-to celebrity informant is Sweetie, who knows everything there is to know about celebrities, including, importantly, who they are. I asked her on the spur of the moment to name famous celebrities who got married famously and she gave me "Britney Spears to that Jason guy who lasted a day; Prince William and Kate; Khloe Kardashian, Brad and Jennifer, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise..." before petering out, which, in retrospect, is kind of a disappointing performance from Sweetie.**

**After a few minutes she added "Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. And also I realized that Brad Pitt and Angelina never got married, but I'm not going to go back and change the post at this point. It's too late for that. We march onward! USA! USA! USA!

invariably served not just as conduits for our own frustrated emotions (Why can't I get paid $20 million just to run around on a movie set and fight Jonathan Rhys Meyers? Besides the fact that I can't act and am out of shape to the point where I look like I might be kind of melting, I mean?) but also as symbols of our highest ideals ($600,000 on a dress? USA! USA! USA!), but all that changed this week when America -- and, probably the world, but, again, who cares? Let them deal with Greece, we've got our own crisis going on right here! OCCUPY WHEREVER IT IS THE KARDASHIANS LIVE! -- began to feel that perhaps it had been duped by a celebrity marriage.

And we were duped, and that outrage you feel is not just regular ol' outrage, but a white-hot-burning kind of outrage that can only be inspired when Americans really truly really honestly have something to be mad about, like Netflix increasing their price by about twenty bucks a year, or Kim Kardashian making more money off people who can't understand why it was so dumb to let her make any money in the first place.

What happened this week was more important, I'd say, than every other thing that ever happened in the world, combined, judging by the outrage and talk and sheer amount of time I'm assuming The View spent talking about the Kim Kardashian divorce, and you're probably expecting me to make some point about how weird/stupid it is that people could devote so much energy to talking about the Kardashivorce when there are serious things going on in the world, like whatever it is Greece is up to, but I'm not because I, perhaps alone among people, understand that this is more than just Ewoks blinking, which, important as that was to denounce, wasn't quite as Earths-shattering as the news was this week.

The Kardashivorce (TM), as I said, upset the equilibrium of the multiverse, an equilibrium that had been established back in 1988 when, after exactly 1,988 years since God created the world, we'd finally learned how to live. Now, we stare bleakly into exactly the kind of post-apocalyptic world we've always dreaded and imagined, albeit one that admittedly has fewer zombies than recent pop culture would lead one to expect, but a post-apocalyptic world nonetheless, a world in which the rules have changed and nobody is sure how to proceed.

What should we look up to? What ideals will hold true in this new world? Will there still be Oreos?

Those are the questions that all week long, humanity was afraid to ask and nobody had the answers to... until now, when I have painstakingly pored over all of the coverage I could bear to read about the Kardashivorce, and gleaned from it a new set of rules for us to live by in this Brave New World*4

*4: Suck it, Aldous Huxley. You can't copyright a title. USA! USA! USA!

that we are about to march into. And I have put them together into a little poem I call:
All I Really Need To Know I Learned From People Talking About Kim Kardashian's Divorce.*5

*5: See footnote 4, Robert Fulghum.
Always make sure your marriage outlasts the engagement. It's more embarrassing to get divorced after six weeks than it is to get married after 10 months.

By the same token, it is irrelevant which lasted longer, the most important commitment you can ever make, or a stint on Dancing With The Stars.

No matter what happens to you in life, the biggest problem you will face is what to do with the gifts people gave you.

Australia won't shelter you from criticism.

Neither will Las Vegas.

Television is no longer a reliable source for moral instruction.

Nobody likes an "Indian giver."

It's apparently okay to use the phrase "Indian giver."

Follow your manager's advice when marrying; follow your intuition when divorcing.

There is no right or wrong
. (That's a relief.)

Above all, do no harm to your brand identity.

Listening to the hoopla will only hurt the ones who post on Twitter about how supportive they are of you.

If you promise to give stuff to charity to get people off your back, you totally never have to go through with it.

Make sure that your heart is living where your mind builds its dreams, or some nonsense like that.

Angelina Jolie's poop smells like papaya.

The best way to avoid lots of attention is to go on television.

A gentleman does not neglect his abs during times of stress.

It's okay to take advantage of your children if you mention that you feel awkward about doing so.

What famous people do should affect your every waking moment.

And, in the end, never despair, because no matter what you do, you will always be better than Paris Hilton.


Stephen Hayes said...

We are rapidly turning into a culture that honors celebrity over achievement. Although I've been aware of this for some time, I was amused at the way your post shines a light on this. I resent the fact that I even know who the Kardashians are because I don't see what they've done to deserve their fifteen minutes of fame.

Rogue Mutt said...

I wish people would wake up and realize Kim Kardashian has no soul.