Having spent a total of three minutes today in the regal splendour that is physical proximity to Kim Kardashian, I feel able to offer some observations on an icon who incidentally happens also to be a woman.
Forgive that last impertinence. Kim Kardashian is a mostly a twitter account, a reality show, some magazine covers, some nightclub appearances and a series of images posed during what is called -in the business- a step and repeat.
The name originates in (obviously) repetition, and the simulation of activity. One stands in a series of poses before a background that usually carries the name of a product, while photographers call to her and the air is illuminated with flashbulb flashes. Note that these photographers are not paparazzi. The event is usually either heavily or lightly choreographed.
Take today. It was the culmination of Michael Hill Jeweller's competition in which lovers demonstrated their affection on the internet via a series of choreographed events. The prize -given away today- was a diamond that -if not as big as the Ritz- was worth the amount you had to earn to be able to live there, once. It's an enervating and invigorating aspect of contemporary society that the apparatus of luxury, once denied by status and birth, is more widely available.
We waited for KK. There was some preamble. Michael Hill told his story. Then she appeared. The photographers opened up, and the air was filled with epileptic light. "Kim, to the right!" said the snappers. She looked to the right. "To the middle," commanded those in the middle.
Are you getting the picture? The photogrpahers were, and that was the point.
Shortly afterwards, she handed the big rock to Cameron and Shariyah Morris.
The flashbulbs erupted again. Another 'step and repeat'. Then we went to the 'one on one'. This consisted of brief questions, and Kardashian's answers.
In person, Kardashian is just a little taller than a little person. She speaks in a series of breaths that form sentences. Sometimes she squeaks. I'm not being dismissive. She's playing a part, the part of a passive female celebrity. Once we had monarchs, aristocrats and gods. Now we have celebs. Blame the enlightenment, or perhaps the enshrinement of 'hotness'.
The democratising of aspiration seems to coincide with Kim Kardashian's project. She is famous for... well, looking luxurious, but having the common touch. She is available, digestible. Her reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians has features shared by her early video work, i.e. a sex tape filmed by her boyfriend of the time, a music producer known as Ray J. Not much happens. The dialogue is banal. Certain hydraulic permutations are promised, but ultimately thwarted. It's a lot like life.
What you see then, when you see Kim Kardashian - and this is her innovation, one that is made new in every generation - is the hopes, the anxieties and boredom of a certain group reflected back to them. She's hot, but she's not sexy. She's pretty, but not beautiful. She's glamorous, but not stylish. Her makeup is professionally applied, and not prone to cracking. It's wrong to ask, what does Kim Kardashian do? She just is.