If asked to describe the brand of America’s royal family in one word, by now, you probably know that the word is capitalism. In a KarJenner America, ignorance is bliss and exploiting your sexuality to promote the materialism that gets you to your bliss is a right of passage. But there is a reason only the KarJenners have been able to execute this formula to such effect. Trump knows.
Trump used it to win the election. Kris Jenner used it to indoctrinate his constituency: the non-apology.
In a pre-KarJenner era, Pepsi would have ended Kendall Jenner’s career. Sponsors would have refrained from using her, and her famous connections would have dwindled down to a nub. Yet, in the time since her extremely offensive and problematic ad aired, her followers have increased by over 10 million and her likes per post have increased by nearly 50%.
Her most recent post: “carefree kenny” is the embodiment of why. She has no plans for apologizing; and in fact, her pockets will be more heavily lined if she never does. Kendall has been known to be the more “mysterious” of the daughters. She does not over-share. Her sample-sized body has allowed her to increase her star power without having to exploit her sexuality, nor dabble in ignorance, to stay relevant. Her sisters are left to do that—buffering her celebrity, while catering to their own.
Almost every time Kylie Jenner dons an appropriative hairstyle, she follows it up with a selfie, smirking at the camera with a caption a la “unbothered.” She knows she’s being offensive. She also knows that you (and thousands of publications) are then going to write about it, and she’s going to be laughing her way to the bank.
Had she ever apologized, had Kendall apologized, they would no longer be the catalysts of “the conversation” that Kendall’s faux Pepsi protest was encouraging us to “join.” They’re aware of their role—and they enjoy the luxuries it allows them, unbothered.
They refuse to take responsibility by principle. Because to them, we’re responsible for making their vain dreams come true—it’s our problem.
Trump is also our problem. Ask anyone who voted for him about why they voted for him, overwhelmingly they will tell you, “He’s not politically correct!”
Obviously, for many, this is code for “he’s racist/xenophobic/sexist/transphobic/anti-gay/classist, as am I.” However, that is not the only reason running a campaign on “I will not be politically correct!” was able to work.
What resonated with so many of the misguided Americans who voted for him: his unapologetic antics. Trump played “the victim to mainstream media.” And just as we are encouraged to empathize with the KarJenners for being victims of the mass media that their matriarch has weaved around them, much of America decided to empathize with (and see themselves as) Trump.
And now he’s laughing at those of us that didn’t, and those that did, for we all helped him rise through our mass coverage–and it’s our problem.