Don’t get huffy over Kanye and Kim

By Pat Watson Wednesday May 16 2012 in Opinion
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An American female celebrity breezed into town last week, here to hawk her latest product, accompanied by her equally famous rapper beau-of-the-moment. >From the remarks on Twitter that their visit generated, one would think the pair had come here to do something immoral or illegal or some stupid human trick.


The comely Hollywood celebrity duo is Kim Kardashian and the rapper, the sometimes-controversial artiste, Kanye West.


Sometimes we are too earnest about these human diversions and react as if they are the scourges of the earth.


For all the grim news that confront us daily and with all the kinds of worry that we could be experiencing, an American celebrity coming to Hogtown to sell perfume shouldn’t really be deserving of that much scorn.


We need these distractions.


The stories we tell ourselves as if we are perpetually sitting by the campfire in the dark – ghostly tales of death and destruction, menace and mayhem – need to be tempered by shiny, happy people doing nothing more than trying to get people to buy something that smells nice as a welcome diversion.


What’s so wrong with that? Well, some people’s deep satisfaction and sense of self can only come from finding ways to put these characters down. Yet they have no trouble going to a movie and later discussing in earnest what they had just seen, as if quite real, all the various aspects of it.


‘Why didn’t he just shoot the guy in the first scene?’


Because it would destroy the plot, and the movie would have been over within the first 10 minutes. That’s why.


‘Why do those detective shows go on like that when real police work is nothing like CSI?’ Because the way it’s really done does not make good television. That’s why.


Yet when a piece of fiction steps off the screen and floats into town, people are offended by her very presence.


Tell the truth. Who wouldn’t want to have people crave his or her perfume creation to derive enough sales to support a comfortable life? And, who isn’t just a little envious of all that celebrity glamour and fame? Who wouldn’t want Kanye West as arm-candy?


We know the damage that can be inflicted on those birds that live in gilded cages, those prisoners of fame, almost completely stripped of their private lives. But in the way we have accommodated our current culture, these road shows are a logical outcome of our explicitly human-centric outlook.


So a famous woman came to town in her sexy Avon lady outfit to move ‘merch’. If she and the crowd of gawkers magnetized by her presence had fun while participating in this bit of street theatre, this reality event, then so what? What free-marketer could frown on this bit of retail success?


Everywhere one looks in any urban setting, it’s all about us humans. There is hardly anything happening that does not show our concern about us, first and foremost. What else is there?


How about the distracted birds and the disappearing bees? Any mention of the natural environment these days can conjure up images of those tree-hugging types who have no clue how ‘real’ life works. For example, a recent news report explains that here in Toronto, we live in the flight path of some 50 million birds. Yet, we will not make much effort to turn off lights in high-rise buildings at night so as not to confuse this portion of nature with whom we share the planet as they try to continue to do what they have been doing for thousands of years, which is thrive – just the way we humans want to keep doing.


Why is it that for us to keep on being, so many other aspects of nature have to be sacrificed? We pay lip service to the natural environment, but caring enough is not equivalent to doing enough. That, we don’t seem to get too worked up about. But let Hollywood types draw a crowd and people get huffy.


A further note on the environment…


Those who shop regularly at discount supermarkets have long become accustomed to paying 5 cents for plastic grocery bags, even before the fee became a by-law in 2009. For many, the objection to the fee was that it was becoming profit for the supermarket chains and wherever else you pay for them. If in fact the money raised does go toward planting more trees in the city then, hopefully, people can live with having to pay for those plastic bags. Or if the fee is a problem, then go back to the old days when people carried their own bags with them when they went shopping.




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