Monster

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!–Great God!

– Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Oscar Wilde said it best: when the gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers. I wonder whether this nation, in its most ardent prayers, could have asked for a more perfect product of its wants and needs than Kim Kardashian.

Everyone wants to be famous, right? Kim does! She’s the kind of person who releases personal news early on a Monday morning, to make the most of the week’s news cycle (and encourage posts like this). If you can’t act, sing, dance, write, or perform any other kind of art or service, I guess it’s fair to make money being a jerk.

Everyone wants to be rich! What if you could make 18 million dollars just for having a wedding? You’d do it, right? You’d think about doing it for sure. You’re thinking about it right now, I bet.

Doesn’t everyone want to be perfect? Kim does; a pretty girl to begin with, she’s spent lots of money and time making herself look even better. And what could be wrong with wanting attention, wanting people to look at you, even more than they do? Where’s the harm in a little cosmetic procedure here and there?

I am just not sure she will recover from this one.

Kim Kardashian’s marital procedure has me thinking. What is attractive about getting married? What makes it something anyone would want to do anymore? If you can pick someone out of a herd, meet and get along and get engaged and then married and file for divorce a year to the day after your first date, isn’t that just a very long kind of joke?

Long con. That’s what I meant to say: isn’t that just a kind of long con?

Let’s say that you and the person you love decide to marry each other while on a road trip: leave your car, go to a convenient hilltop, and promise each other your undying love. Done and done. If you decide to call it off a week later, who is the worse for that?

Well, you are. But chances are you probably won’t call it off. When you do love each other, it’s just not that easy to stop the love.

If it were that easy, we would. Stop, I mean. There are days deep in any relationship when you simply can not stand the person you love. He has stupid hair, and his socks! The socks. Ugh. All his comments are sooooo five months ago, he can never follow your nimble train of thought, how can he even pretend to know what you want in your omelet? He doesn’t understand you at all, he never did! Just look at this stupid set of pillows he gave you. HE NEVER DID.

And you wish, down in that secret place you never tell him about, that he’d just get hit by a bus. Then you and Jon Hamm could finally be together.

But we stay. Love, damn it to hell, makes people stick around.

There might be people who stay married because they think marriage is important. (I don’t know any of them, but I’m sure they exist.) I suspect most of us stay married because love on its worst day is still a mixed blessing. It’s better to love someone and be with him even when you don’t like him than love him and be without him. It’s better to leave the big shovel under the stairs than use it to bury his lifeless body under the flagstones. It’s not marriage that forces these bargains, it’s love.

At a time when plenty of people have great reasons for being mad at Kim Kardashian, I am not just angry with her because she did this cynical thing in a nation that still forbids about ten percent of its adults from marrying each other. I am not angry with her because I watched the wedding or bought the magazines or did any of that, because I didn’t. I haven’t cared who this girl is or what she does. Until now.

I am angry with Kim Kardashian for taking something sacred, something delicate and marvelous and terrible and as fleeting as life itself, and shitting all over it. That something isn’t marriage, it’s love.

But what makes me angriest is the culture that handed her the script. The culture that said, in one way and another, No, it really is all about you. The culture that gave Kim attention for her beauty, and for that sex tape; that gave her family a reality show and then gave her one of her own; that buys her perfume and clothes and whatever else she sells, also finally bought her a wedding. Now that she’s exercising her legal right to end that union, I’m upset because she made money on it. Really, marriage is the most exquisite torture, taking years to perfect, and how dare anyone do that for money?

But what good American ever does anything, if not for money?

I am angriest with us. Kim is the monster we made, and she’s just getting started.

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