Newsflash: Kim Kardashian wants a $7,500 Baccarat Cosmos extra large vase – and another $165,000 or so in wedding presents.
This nugget came via breathless reports detailing the bridal registry of a woman who offers nothing, yet seems to need everything (including a $375 candy jar).
While it’s impossible to know the true intensity of the love between the non-celebrity celebrity and her betrothed, basketball player Kris Humphries, it is as clear as the 20.5-karat diamond engagement ring on Kardashian's finger that the hoopla surrounding the couple’s planned nuptials is as manufactured as cubic zirconium.
Don't blame Kardashian, who, with her family, has hit on a magic formula for making money – a reported $65 million last year – by simply being their spoiled and shallow, if generally harmless, selves. While the Kardashians are a guilty pleasure who don’t ordinarily inspire introspection, perhaps we should ask ourselves some questions: Why, especially at a time when economy is staggering, do we celebrate those with dubiously earned fortune and fame? Is the impulse voyeuristic? Misguidedly aspirational? Escapist? Masochistic?
From the times of fairy tales, big weddings have captured the imagination – only the attention paid these days is as outsized as Kardashian’s ring and registry (which add up to about $2.2 million, for those keeping count). We’re seemingly suckers for the lure of spectacle and the illusion of happily-ever-after – and we’ve gone from living vicariously through so-called royalty whose money came from accidents of birth to getting our glitz fix from so-called stars who gained notice through the train wreck that's much of Reality TV. Even the called-off wedding of an 85-year-old pornographer is big celebrity news.
Reports of Kardashian’s laughable wedding registry ($150 napkin ring, anyone?) bring to mind a parody video we discovered recently, via The Huffington Post. The short uses the form of a late-night TV plea to save starving children and turns it into an appeal for the well-to-do, on behalf of the fictional Imagine a World Foundation.
"Imagine a world where a child grows up without nanny or a kid being forced to wear last year's clothes," whines a red wine-sipping hipster dad, topped by a knit cap. "For as little as $6,000 a month, you can sponsor a child."
A mere $6,000 won't get Kim her vase. But it would sure be nice to imagine a world without a "Keeping up with the Kardashians" wedding – let them elope and live happily ever after, out of our view. That would be their present to us.
Meanwhile, check out the video, a gift from the Selwyn Brothers, below – the only thing it will cost you is a few minutes.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.