Hadley Freeman 

Kanye and Kim Kardashian: the new showbiz power, er, kouple

He's relaxed about the occasional leaked naked snap. He's used to paparazzi. His name even begins with K! Is Kim's new man her perfect partner?
  
  

I approach you, readers, like a colonialist missionary bringing literacy to ignoble savages. You see, it strikes me from across the ocean that you have not been instructed in the ways of the Kardashians, a family who have wreaked as much damage on the image of American pop culture as they have on the letter K. So prepare yourselves for literacy – Kardashian literacy, which probably means it should be spelt "Kardashian kiteracy".

The Kardashians are, it is depressingly safe to say, one of the most famous families in the US today. This is due, in varying proportions, to two factors: one, the now-deceased paterfamilias, Robert Kardashian, acted as OJ Simpson's defence attorney (and then, after banking the cheque, expressed doubts about his client's innocence); and two, Kardashian's ex-wife Kris, her new husband, the former Olympic gold medallist Bruce Jenner, and their extensive brood are on the phenomenally successful reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. OJ Simpson and reality TV: that's what has brought this family millions of dollars and priceless amounts of fame. America, feel the pride.

In truth, the Kardashian who intrigues me the most has always been Kris. Here is a woman whose entire worldview can, I suspect, be summed up with these two salient facts: she gave all of her daughters names that began with "K", wrenching even the most unlikely of monikers into an attention-grabbing alliterative ("Kourtney", "Khloe"); she was happy to be filmed encouraging her reluctant daughter to pose for Playboy.

But because Kris dares to be over 35 she was never the show's star attraction. Instead, that honour has long gone to her daughter Kim, who boosted her fame with that now- traditional rung on the ladder to celebritydom – ie, a leaked sex tape – and has been posing for the paparazzi, backside first, ever since.

Last autumn, Kim caused even more of a furore than usual when her marriage of two-and-a-half months to a stuffed sock named Kris Humphries came to an abrupt end, which is sad but at least the couple made $17.9m from the wedding – or $10,358.80 per hour of wedded bliss – so cloud, silver lining, etc.

Yet there was now a hole in Kim's life that no millions could fill: a man-shaped hole. Where could a worthy man be found, one who doesn't mind constant paparazzi, who understands the value of occasional leaked naked photos and, most importantly, whose name begins with K?

Enter, stage left, Kanye West.

I like to imagine that Kanye didn't so much as turn up chez Kardashian as get held aloft like a young Simba by Kris Kardashian Jenner, while the Californian sun rose behind him and the remaining Kardashians sang, in chorus, Circle of Life.

Far from improving one another, Kimye, somewhat predictably, are bringing the worst of themselves to one another: he is allegedly the reason for Kim's sudden fondness for wearing pantyhose as a dress ("Kim takes edgy fashion tips from her boyfriend!" as one magazine put it with polite euphemism); he, it is rumoured, will be on the next season of the reality TV show. Beyoncé – wife of Kanye's best friend Jay-Z, of course – is said to detest Kim and while one part of me suspects this is just a tabloid media fantasy cooked up to play into the trope that all women hate one another, a bigger part thinks it is probably true as Beyoncé has always come across as talented and sensible and Kim … well, whatever.

In any case, now they are rumoured to be "making wedding plans". "This will be America's royal wedding!" crowed one US celeb mag this week. Indeed: two narcissists united by the mutual love of publicity, who are both diminished and enhanced by their union, who will make, at a rough estimate, $50 gajillion from any upcoming wedding and who, most importantly, have names with matching letters. Whether this wedding even happens or not, this match sums up a certain uncomfortable side to the US the way the royal wedding in Britain encapsulated a particular element to that country that, I suspect, most Guardian readers try to ignore. To Kimye!

 

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