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Stories by a short, fat bastard

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This is a serious question
Something has been puzzling me for a long time, and I can't find a good answer.

This is a serious question:

Who are the Kardashians?

What did they do to be famous?

Why are they all over various media outlets?




Okay, that's four questions. Or 3.5 if you count the last one as a repeat of the first. In that case, it would be three questions. And I assume the answer to the last 3 (or 2.5. Or 2) are tied to the first.


I know who they are, what I want to know is why they are.

A long time ago* in a land far far away** apparently*** there was a reality TV show about a family. The show ended, and then this mob were all over the media. I don't know why they had a TV show. I don't know why they have a clothing/accessories line people actually want. I don't know why they are on The Internet, and people take notice of them, or go mad over their digitally enlarged bums. Why does one of them declare he is a woman, and she is instantly more famous and awarded Courageous Person Of The Year, when I have at least 3 friends who have done the same (or transitioned from female to male) and have not been awarded anything for doing this.

...um... question mark, I think.

So. Who are the Kardashians?

*15ish years or so.
*** I don't think it aired here, and if it did, I wouldn't have watched it.****
**** I don't watch That Sort Of Thing.

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I have no idea really....


Robert Kardashian was a lawyer and businessman from an Armenian-American family. He rose to fame as the attorney who defended O.J. Simpson (although Simpson lost, and went to prison). This first Kardashian was married to a woman named Kris Houghton, and they had four children: Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob. Kris and Robert Kardashian divorced, and Kris married Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner. When Bruce announced that he was transitioning to female, the relationship became strained, and by the time Bruce was publicly Caitlyn, they got divorced. (Caitlyn is no direct blood relative of any Kardashian.)

The four Kardashian children from the first marriage apparently leveraged their father's connections to get them all into the fringes of show business, beginning with the "reality TV" show. The daughters describe themselves as "socialites, businesswomen, models, and designers", as well as dabbling in dancing and acting. The son describes himself as a "businessman, model, and talent manager".

The TV show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, seems to have been nothing more than an example of the phenomenon of people being "famous for being famous" - although I don't understand why they got to be famous in the first place. But this sort of pseudo-fame perpetuates itself, and now I daresay that even the Stone Age tribesmen along the Amazon River have heard of the Kardashians :-(

I knew Jenner was related but I had no idea how she fitted in.

Now I have to hope that knowing this hasn't pushed out something I need to know.

Set this entry as a "memory", and forget what you just read :-)

He rose to fame as the attorney who defended O.J. Simpson

Ohhhh is *that* where they came from! I had wondered this myself.

Thanks for the synopsis.

When I read Den's question, I realized I didn't know the answer myself. Wikipedia is your friend :-)

You're welcome!

The timing is off. Kris and Robert Kardashian divorced in 1991. Robert Kardashian defended OJ in 1995. Kris married Jenner also in 1995. Kim began her rise to fame in the early 2000s, and the reality show based around their family started in 2006.

The way I synopsized it, the timing got somewhat compressed, but the order is still intact. First Robert married Kris, and had the four kids; during this time Kim used Robert's money and connections to make herself, and the kids as they grew up, famous-for-being-famous. The big breakthrough, though, was when the Kardashian name got into the news because of the Simpson trial, and suddenly everyone was mad to know what those wealthy, glamorous "beautiful people" were up to next.

One of the Kardashians, Caytlin Jenner, is famous because she used to be a world-famous Olympic athlete, winning the Decathlon in the 1976 Summer Olympics. She (as Bruce) appeared on cereal boxes, had large endorsement deals, and was a household name back then. She has had name-recognition long before the Kardashians did.

Kim Kardashian is skilled at keeping in the spotlight. She managed to turn a failed marriage, a few minor appearances on a friends reality show (Paris Hilton's The Simple Life), and a leaked sex tape into a reality show featuring her, her mother and step-father, and her nine siblings. Since then, she has had two more marriages, the last with a very visible self-promoter (of the no news is bad news variety).

They are famous because they had some minor attention given to them, are photogenic (and a large, rich family), and Kim has the drive to keep them famous and in the celebrity news.

Caitlyn Jenner is not, and never has been, a Kardashian. She was married to Robert Kardashian's ex-wife - at best she is the father of the half-siblings of the original four Kardashian siblings.

Kim Houghton Kardashian Jenner (whatever) is the core "famous for being famous" member of the family, although she raised her kids in the same tradition.

And anybody with a lot of money can be beautiful. Shitfire, if I had enough money, I could look as Hollywood-perfect as any Kardashian. (Of course, I don't want to!)

I had a much longer comment which went way too much into the "who" and what their story was, and less into the "why", which Den was asking.

While it's true that Caitlyn never had the Kardashian name, she became a member of the family before it became famous, and is the biological father of 5 of the children in the family. The fame that accrued to the Kardashians at the very least splashed over onto her. I would judge that the interest in the gender transition of a world-famous Olympic athlete from 35-40 years ago would be a lot less if she wasn't part of the Kardashian family.

Pretend for a moment that my father's name was Joe Smith, and my mother's maiden name was Mary Jones, and I'm Ann Smith. My mother would have gone by the name Mary Smith. Now pretend that my parents got divorced, and my mother married Mike Green. She'd start calling herself Mary Green, and my half-brother from that marriage would be Fred Green. But that would not make Mike Green or Fred Green "Smiths", and my father Joe Smith would have no legal relationship to them at all.

And Bruce Jenner's transition would have been pretty newsworthy even if he hadn't married Kardashian's ex-wife. Jenner was quite famous in his own right, mostly for his Olympic career and the entertainment and advertising opportunities that came out of it. For a well-known athlete who had won awards competing as a male to suddenly announce that he was female, and taking the appropriate medical steps to make that visible to the world, is a fairly large jolt to the mind-set of the average American. (Which says a lot about how uninformed the average American is about trans people.)

Hardly anybody had ever heard of Richard Raskind when he was a well-respected ophthalmologist. But he sure got famous quickly when he became Renee Richards, professional tennis player. (After a few years on the circuit, she went back to ophthalmology, and is still practicing in NYC.)

Edited at 2016-02-29 10:31 am (UTC)

Kim Kardashian was beautiful and went to high school near other rich and famous people managed to use that to make a popular girl it brand for her, it helped that her step parent (Caitlyn Jenner) had been a well known ahtlete when she was younger and had been on a box of wheaties (note for trans people - you use their current pronouns when talking about their past pre transition and their current name, not their dead name, except when they explicitly ask you otherwise. They were always female or male, or X but their gender presentation may not have been)

I live in the US and I didn't even know these things!

I'm in the Don't know, don't care, why bother camp.

I was just wondering why there is so much media time given to these people. Why are they on my TV all the time, etc.

I see the name bounced around on the fringes of other media, that's the only reason I know of them. I don't watch any TV, except BBC's Sherlock.

Trivia: DS9 fans are fond of making jokes playing on "Kardashian / Cardassian".

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