Fame: The New ‘F’-Word

Of all the creepy things I know about Kim Kardashian (and they are legion) the creepiest is that she has fans.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian

Of all the creepy things I know about Kim Kardashian (and they are legion) the creepiest is that she has fans.

The Hollywood figure who’s famous for… well, nothing, actually – she can’t sing,  dance, act, paint or string together enough platitudes to get invited on a talk show – is now flogging something called Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

It’s an on-line game which the gullible may download. The app shows you how to create your very own avatar which pretends to be Hollywood-bound in search of stardom. Not as an actor or a dancer or anything, you know, talented. Just as a celebrity, famous for being famous. Much like you-know-who. Your avatar will go to ‘photo shoots’ for which virtual wardrobes must be purchased. Your avatar will get weary, for which ‘energy boosts’ (Colombian marching powder, anyone?) need to be paid for. How to pay? Just head to the on-line ‘Star Shop’ and purchase as many ‘stars’ as you like. You can get 50 for $4.99. Or the Best Value Bargain: 1,250 stars for $99.99. Then you spend your ‘stars’ to get your avatar up and running.

The app is free to download and the perks are imaginary, but the money spent to obtain them is very real. Star-struck kids have spent hundreds of dollars apiece helping their avatars pursue fame. Experts predict Kim Kardashian: Hollywood will gross $200 million in its first year.

A visiting Martian might be forgiven for asking: what’s going on?

Good question. Whatever it is, it was also going on last month at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. TIFF is a big deal. It attracts world-class films and the people who produce, direct and star in them. People like David Cronenburg, Atom Egoyan, Kate Winslet, Al Pacino… and Justin Bieber.

What? Bieber?? The teenybopper princeling of high school hooliganism and over-refreshed dumb-ass misdemeanors?  What’s that mutt doing at a film festival?

Doesn’t matter. He was there and the TV cameras and the Hollywood paparazzi followed him around like a flock of seagulls tracking a shrimp boat. The actor John Cusack, also at TIFF, was totally mystified at the Bieber TV coverage.

“They had, like a Wolf Blitzer Situation Room” Cusack said. “They’d go to a reporter on location saying ‘He’s been on this street’ and ‘Here he is in a mall’ and ‘Here we see him kissing his girlfriend.'”

Cusack was nonplussed. “This is a film festival,” Cusack said. “It’s awesome that the guy actually likes films, but…”

Exactly: but who cares?

Millions, apparently. When it comes to lowest common denominator media pandering, nothing can be too trivial.

Somebody once compared the visionaries George Orwell, who wrote 1984 and Aldous Huxley, who wrote Brave New World, thus:

“Orwell feared those who would ban books. Huxley feared there would be no reason to ban books because no one would want to read one… Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

What-evvvver!

Who needs to read a book when you can ‘like’ The Biebs on Facebook or channel Kim K on your iPhone?

I mean, like….Hel-LO!

— Arthur Black lives on Saltspring Island. His column appears every Tuesday in The NEWS. E-mail: arblack43@shaw.ca.

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