According to the tabloids, Kim Kardasian is a star. I stumbled upon her TV show once, fought down my dinner, then continued to watch to see what the big fuss was about. From pictures of her, I’d deduced that it was about certain aspects of her appearance, two in particular, but I wanted to be sure she wasn’t talented in other ways too.
In the show, Kim shares time with her equally vacuous sisters as well as her vacuous mother who is married to a vacuous Bruce Jenner. Yes, that Bruce Jenner. If you google him, a picture of the hero decathlete of the 1976 Montreal Olympics pops up, then a blend of photos of him in his role as Dad in the Kardasian household and what can go horribly wrong on the plastic surgery table.
As you may know, Kim Kardasian is an economy unto herself. Her show’s sponsors might include everything from big pharma to McDonalds. In the same indirect manner, Kardasian sells magazines (and the stuff they advertise), and, I would wager, trips to shrinks for young girls with ruined body images who might eventually replace therapy with a boob job from the type of doctor who took the sawzall to the face of her dad. People and companies, many of them respected, even paid to be included in Kim’s wedding, “earning” her about 17 million dollars. Rich young lady, yet as with Paris Hilton, nobody really knows what she does outside of emitting copious loads of greenhouse gasses.
Speaking of doorknobs…….
From the reality show “Jersey Shore”, this is Mike Sorrentino. He is better known as “The Situation” a name he gave himself in honor of his pet abs. As he will tell you, Sitch is skilled at working out his abs, tanning his abs, pulling up his shirt to show off his abs, and hot tubbing. I’ve seen the show once, or maybe half of once, and I can tell you with certainty that this guy is so thick that not only is he allergic to books, but books are allergic to him.
He will make an estimated 5 million dollars this year from his show, endorsements, and products. Another chunk of this sum is from Abercombie and Fitch, a company so impressed by this guy’s idiocy that they’re paying him to NOT wear their clothes. With all due respect to Sitch’s hollow skull, I think he’s brilliant for pulling this off. He or someone around him recognizes that his being a stone cold idiot has value enough to make him the kind of person Washington, D.C. is so afraid to tax. Brilliant!
To be more exact, of course, it’s tragic. It’s tragic that Sorrentino and Kardasian are not famous in spite of their shallowness, but precisely because of it. It’s tragic that they are but two replaceable saps in a very controlled “reality” wherein nothing is real, and what is real amounts to nothing.
This process is how – given what we definitively know about minerology, toxicology, seismology, hydrology, ecology, and sustainable economy – the Pebble Mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay is even being contemplated in this day and age. The low grade of the ore deposit will demand that an unimaginably huge pit will have to be dug in order to make the mine profitable, and a 20 square mile lake behind the world’s largest earthen dam will have to be created to contain its tailings. Downstream is the largest run of salmon on earth, a bursting recreational industry, and one of mankind’s oldest subsistence economies . Dam failure, it’s over. Aquifer contamination, and it’s gone.
But it is being contemplated, by the kinds of untouchables who get aneurisms at the thought of not banking another billion by next Friday. Who cares if the jobs they create will not be Alaskan jobs? Who cares if the gold they dig up will go onto a Canadian balance sheet? And if the dam breaks? Really now. If they can condition society to get upset if Kardasian doesn’t have gold ding dongs on her bikini or the Sitch don’t have his neckbling, it’s not a big deal.
Salmon, grizzlies, moose, and rainbow trout are known in biological circles as “charismatic megafauna”, creatures that can arouse people to heights of civic enthusiasm and action. Baby seals, for example, spotted owls, and whales. Salmon also happen to be keystone species, which means they are the foundation upon which entire ecosystems are built. It is an incontrovertible fact that without healthy runs of salmon, Alaska as we know it dies.
Even though they appear satisfied with being charismatic megafauna, Kardasian and Sorrentino are unwittingly rocketing towards keystone status. We must not let this happen. Besides discovering a life strategy that involves far less consumption, we need to teach our animal friends how to draw more attention to themselves and to be serious a-holes about it. If you know a bear, tell him to get a posse and represent. Tell your salmon buddies to go shopping for handbags and tiny dogs, and by all means possible, to party harder. And even if the rainbows you’re catching can snap your rod in half, please suggest a little more gym time, maybe a few more crunches. We need the dollas up in here; the future of reality depends on it.