Inordinate Ordnance: Keeping up with the Kardashians is an Exercise in Stagnation

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Written by Chris Carr

One day, while Earth's population will be in the throws of production and consumption (more the latter than the former), life will quietly and unceremoniously end. Oh, it will be a ceremony for us, but only for us, unfortunately. We will be the proverbial tree and the unoccupied woods, felled and died without nary the whisper. In thousands of years unknown, sentient creatures will land on earth, excavate our pots and pans, our houses and cars and our computers. They will make assumptions, calculated guesses about the life of us Earthlings.

One of the things we will invariably find are records of our idols—the people we now currently revere and send worship to in the form of money and love. They will study a society who read devotionals from the books of TMZ and Entertainment tonight. Our literature will overwhelmingly idiot-centric, littered with facts on Kardashian tweets and pictures of countless “leaked” nude pictures of our idols. We are the followers of the pop machines, the plastic classes, the malignancy heiress design. We are true Beliebers. It's a candied culture, created and served, easily digested, from a wide-mouth can. 

I think about how my grandmother used to spend hours on her scrapbooks, diligently taping, gluing and stitching the history of our family together, one manila page at a time. To her, this was our history. Those myriad little books she slaved over, would tell the story of Us (note the capitalization) to future generations of unknown people she already loved. Now, my Facebook time line does the work in a fraction of the time. It will forever stand as a tombstone to my life, denoting, “Here was Chris' life. Here are his friends. Here's what he thought about the Avengers movie. Try New Pepsi .5, only half a calorie, and less stomach cancer!” 

This is not a revelation. At least, I hope it isn't. All the information tweeted, updated and “liked” will stand as a testament of the human race, either by our descendents or by visitors from other planets. It's a humbling thought I hope others have had. However, every day I see evidence to the contrary littering my Facebook feed. “OMFG!!! Leaked pics of Snooki, on a Stairmaster, naked, burning Kissinger books. U gotta see this. LOLOLOLOL!!!!1!” for example. 

The point is, is that this is unacceptable. Every time I get a streak of creativity, when I feel like creating something beautiful, something original, something positive, that could affect the world for the better, I get struck with this feeling of dread. This dread comes from the counter-balance that is this aforementioned candied culture. For every word written, line drawn or canvases painted, Kim Kardashian will tweet about her vapid stupidity and get paid $10000 for the nuisance or moving around her over-privileged thumbs. For every independent film that asks questions and criticized civil society, JWOWW goes up a cup size. For every song written about love and sorrow, one hundred songs are “written” about sweating on the opposite, inebriated sex.

I'm not anti-fun, I'm anti-stupid. I say everything in moderation, especially moderation. However, the emphasis has shifted from progressive, ground breaking entertainment and art to the reiteration of proven formulas, spoon fed to the stagnation nation of guidos and guidettes. I used to think that people watched these shows/people because it was a lot like going to a freak show or watching pandas at the zoo—they don't do much, but they are kind of funny. But this cannot be completely true since Ed Hardy is a millionaire, “music” in no longer a part of Music Television and Snooki is a number one selling author. If that last fact isn't a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what possibly could be, short of Kate Gosselin being elected policy maker for social services.

I refuse to leave such a legacy. What about the prose of Hemingway? And the forward thinking of greats like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Douglas Adams? How much danger are the Kardashians to the memories of Stephen Fry, Woody Guthrie, Julius Caesar, Ferris Bueller and Oscar the Grouch? These are great people. I fear the current fascination may actually undue the work of these people. Mixed with the ease of information of social networking, the idolatry of stupidity and what we will certainly leave behind, how can you not see this as a threat? All I ask is that maybe instead of leaving a legacy worth 140 characters, use that space to point the reader toward something worth a life's work.


Chris Carr is Editor-in-Chief of thecannon. Inordinate Ordnance publishes every Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.

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