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Posted at 03:09 PM ET, 11/05/2011

Kardashian rehash: Making sense of reality


Kim Kardashian in the wake of her divorce announcement. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
So what was that all about? The whirlwind marriage and divorce of unaccountably famous Kim Kardashian has been as baffling for fans who truly believed in her reality show as it has been for non-watching skeptics who can’t figure out why they somehow know everything about her.

It’s hard to take a couple seriously when they’ve clearly got such a profit motive for you to be interested in the relationship — and that applies not only to the Kardashian reality-show empire, but the entire celebrity news establishment that tries to cover them.

As we noted in September when the Salahi saga last heated up: “You don’t need to be on TV anymore to live a reality-show life — potentially, a lucrative one.... The round-the-clock gossip industry is flush with cash for anyone who can offer dish on a B-lister, including the B-listers themselves.” Not only did Kim Kardashian make big bucks for her wedding photos, etc., she’ll undoubtedly command huge fees when she finally gives an interview about her divorce.

But even detached “serious” journalists (like us!) are in a pickle when it comes to shedding light on this new breed of celebrity, as we wrote last year: Can you really break news about these people if they’re just planning on revealing it all on TV anyway? “Their private lives are paradoxically public fodder for their shows. That’s left the gossip press completely co-opted, pushing stories that are little more than recaps and promos — advertising, really — for television programs.”

Read earlier: Reality TV is affecting reality, creating a weird world for gossip writers, 8/1/10

A reality show life, just not on TV, 9/18/11

Read also: TV Column: E! caught in backlash over Kardashian wedding, 11/3/11

Michelle Singletary: Unfamous people caught in Kardashian-like financial bind, 11/6/11

By  |  03:09 PM ET, 11/05/2011

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