Even though I’ve seen a mere handful of episodes of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” I know too many things about Kim Kardashian and her sisters and the machinations of their manager-mother. I know things about Kim’s appearance (gluteally speaking) and the kind of car she drives and with whom she socializes. Then there is, of course, that business with the sex tape.
In 2011, Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries. There was no missing this news because the media exhaustively covered the engagement, wedding planning and wedding itself. The couple were married for all of 72 days before Kardashian filed for divorce. Celebrity gossip aficionados were gleeful because it was such just desserts — this overexposed celebrity, famous merely for being famous, fulfilling the prophecy that a marriage made for television can be no marriage at all. There’s nothing we love more than yanking people off the flimsy pedestals we so carelessly put them on.
Kardashian’s marriage was really no one’s business, except that she made it our business. There was even a two-part, televised “wedding special” on E! — quite the oxymoron, if you think about it. The special was billed, “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding,” one more gesture revealing what a highly polished and planned farce the whole thing was. It’s almost too easy to judge the farce, but we have to accept that this “wedding special,” and the entirety of Kardashian’s fame, are predicated on the very simple premise of supply and demand. She and her team know what many of us want, and they give us the vapidness we demand, season, after season, after season. Kim Kardashian stopped being a woman long ago. She is a well-coordinated brand now: books, television, perfume, Playboy.
After her marriage dissolved, Kardashian took up with Kanye West. It was such a ludicrous pairing that the relationship eventually began to make sense. They were both so ostentatious in their fame, they created a mysterious void within which their love could flourish — a black hole of joy.
Together, Kardashian and West have demonstrated a keen understanding of supply and demand. They named their baby daughter North, after all. The show must go on.
As I drove to work Tuesday, a radio deejay shared an outrageous story about Kanye West, with a night off from his newly launched “Yeezus” tour, renting out an entire baseball stadium in San Francisco. He had the words “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!!!” displayed on the Jumbotron in bright, shining lights. Kim Kardashian’s family was there to witness the blessed moment. She said yes, of course. He gave her an obscene diamond. The moment was captured, for posterity and an audience of millions, via Instagram, with the requisite flaunting of the diamond ring on a slender left hand. Before I could help myself, I thought, “How romantic. Good for them.”
The forces of supply and demand are so much bigger than all of us.
Roxane Gay is a frequent contributor to Salon and has two books, "An Untamed State" and "Bad Feminist" forthcoming in 2014. Follow her on Twitter @rgay.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun