Keeping Up With (and Losing Count of) the Kardashians

Pop Culture

Keeping Up With (and Losing Count of) the Kardashians

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

While all of India lost its marbles over one batch of 19-year-olds who lifted an ICC World Cup, another 20-year-old halfway across the world broke the internet by simply carrying her pregnancy to term. With the thunder that achievement created, the only way you would have missed Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy announcement would have been if you were in the midst of an online detox.

The scion of Kim Kardashian’s infamous clan released an 11-minute brand AV letting the world know she had accomplished a feat women have been acing since the dawn of humanity – giving birth to a baby. Here’s a word to the wise – despite the home-movie aesthetic of the footage, make no mistake about this being anything other than a corporate film.

And why not? Kylie Jenner didn’t just have a baby, she launched a new vertical in the sprawling Kardashian media empire. Between Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, and now Kylie Jenner, the family has produced seven toddlers and infants, a clear statement of intent. At this rate, there’s going to be too many Kardashians to keep up with by the end of 2018.

Ever since the Kardashians stumbled into the limelight as the family of OJ Simpson’s attorney, they’ve found increasingly new ways of clinging to relevance. As trailblazers for superficial celebrity, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie have launched successful cosmetic ranges, selfie books, make-up apps, and socialite games while courting tabloid drama to remain in the headlines. Under the hawkish eye of “momager” Kris Jenner, each Kardashian is meticulously cultivated, like a scandal-bearing bonsai, to attract maximum attention from paparazzi at every phase of their life.

At this point, the Kardashian-Jenners are no longer a family. They are an advertising firm, production house, and theatre troupe all rolled into one.

The recent population explosion in the household, with Kylie adding a seventh baby to the brood, means there’s an entire new generation of Kardashian-Jenners in the wings. Apart from the horrendous implication of additional seasons of KUWTK, these babies represent the next stage in the evolution of celebrities. Being famous merely for being famous is no longer reserved for hangers-on to actually famous people or the stars of a sex tape – as the cottage industry around tracking every moment in the life of Kim’s kids and untalented siblings proves.

Whether this sort of fame will result in a worthwhile legacy beyond “video games” like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood remains to be seen. But for now, we collectively continue to make these pod people, whose lives are dedicated content farms for their social-media feeds, part of our lives in more ways than one. North West is already being groomed as a fashion maven, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Saint or Chicago West drop the first toddler hip-hop album produced by Daddy Kanye. Given Kylie’s fascination with plastic surgery and cultural insensitivity, we can look forward to several cringeworthy gimmicks that will undoubtedly be trotted out to push her baby into our collective consciousness.

At this point, the Kardashian-Jenners are no longer a family. They are an advertising firm, production house, and theatre troupe all rolled into one big conglomerate that profits off your likes, retweets, and follows. And with Kylie Jenner’s baby trending even before she has a name, it looks like their latest launch was a huge success.