In the past week, I’ve heard more through the media and my peers about who Kylie Jenner’s alleged baby daddy is than I have about the current state of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (the state of which being struggling, and facing more and more hardships each day). What I want to know is when celebrity and fame and the worlds of both became so integrated into our daily lives. When did we decide, as a collective, that the lives of those with a face in the media have anything to do with our own?
The Kardashians—whose reality TV show alone brings them millions of dollars each—are more than prominent in our family households. No pun intended, but it seems that whether we like it or not, we keep up with every single one of them.
Kylie, the youngest of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner’s many children, is reportedly pregnant with rapper Travis Scott’s child. The “sources”—who have unsurprisingly been sharing their intel with some of the least credible magazines out there—have declared that Kylie is five months along with a girl, while Tyga took to social media to express his distaste (and claim paternity!). And Kim is currently using a surrogate for her and Kanye’s third child. And Khloe is reportedly pregnant for the first time with Cav’s star Tristan Thompson. And Caitlyn is releasing a controversial book. And Kendall is probably off somewhere resolving racism with her Pepsi cans, again.
Now, here I am, writing this article and realizing I know all of this, but I don’t know what my president accomplished last week. (I won’t even assume it was much, but still.) All that illustrates is a critical imbalance in either media morality, human priorities, or a conjoinment of the two. This raises the question: what is important to us and why or why not do we choose to spread awareness for those things rather than others? If you think about it, neither Kylie nor her family has even confirmed her pregnancy yet. The entire story is based off of a rumor.
There are theories we can discuss here. I’m not a psychologist. I’m sure there are actual reasons as to why distributors and consumers zoom in on trivial situations and news, I just don’t have the credible education to start listing them out. But I can infer that there’s a possible link here. The media wants to sell. People want to be entertained. Stories about a pregnant rich girl who grew up on our TV screens and the fact that the father is allegedly a popular and talented modern rapper are much easier on the conscience than the fact that DACA recipients might lose their benefits in a few months.
There’s no question that thinking about all the unfortunate events going on in the world takes a true toll on your emotions, but I really don’t think the 3-minute distractions plastered all over tabloids and our Instagram feeds about baby bumps and the clothes the Kardashians choose to wear will make any of our cultural anxieties go away. We can still look at the baby photos, assuming this entire story is the real deal. But we can also make it a point to dedicate a few of those minutes to contacting our Congressional representatives about gun control, putting together some resources for areas in need of hurricane relief, or reading up on what’s going on in our government at the moment.
Media, in essence, has the capability to revolutionize the progression of our society and how people can make hands-on change. What we avoid and what we accept is up to us, too.