a quick recounting of the epic war of words between kim kardashian and jon hamm re: the issue of celebrity in america

for those of you not glued to the gossip sites 24/7, have no fear! i’ve got your back. pour vous: a breakdown of The Greatest Celebrity Showdown of Our Time (For Right Now)™©®¥™™…

here are our players:

jon hamm– beloved actor who stars on a little show called mad men. he is pretty and has single-handedly made old fashioneds hip.

kim kardashian– paris hilton’s estranged BFF and a sex tape star, KK is famous for her butt (which may or may not be fake) and her failed marriage (which may or may not have been real).

a few weeks ago, excerpts of an ELLE UK interview were released, wherein- while promoting the upcoming season of mad men- jon hamm said this:

“we’re at a place where the idea of being ‘elite’ is somehow considered negative… whether it’s paris hilton or kim kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated. being a f**king idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you’re rewarded significantly. incuriousness has become cool… it’s celebrated. it doesn’t make sense to me.”

he said a lot of other things too, but this is what was picked up. likely because the press hoped to bait kim kardashian into a response.

a few days later, KK came through:

“i just heard about the comment jon hamm made about me in an interview. i respect jon and i am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that not everyone takes the same path in life. we’re all working hard and we all have to respect one another. calling someone who runs their own businesses, is a part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, “stupid,” is in my opinion careless.”

subsequently, hamm said this in an interview with e!news:

“it’s surprising to me that it has become remotely a story. i don’t know ms. kardashian, i know her public persona. what i said was meant to be more on pervasiveness of something in our culture, not personal, but she took offense to it and that is her right.”

here, the hamm hits upon something both profound and obvious- that we are responding to a celebrity’s PERSONA and not them as a person.

(massive [vaguely related] digression: though i’ve never been famous, i’m going to counsel you that, should you ever become famous, the only way to survive as a celebrity is to acknowledge the divide that the hamm has alluded to here. you’ve {1} your person and {2} your persona, and never the twain shall meet.

because, though you’ve a life and a narrative, they’ve nothing to do with one another beyond the fact that, because you have a narrative, you’re at liberty to live your life.

this is the jackie way. it’s old school celebrity. like, from the silents in the days of yore.

actually, that’s the best advice i can give you: should you ever become a celebrity, pretend you’re living in a silent film.

don’t speak! and if you absolutely must speak, then do so DISCRETELY. if someone says something about you or you have the misfortune of saying something stupid yourself, for the love of god, do not attempt to correct it.

never ever mess with your narrative! it doesn’t belong to you.

i think this is one of the few ways that celebrity can actually work from a mental health perspective. well, at least the way it works better than the way it works when you muddle who you are with who the public thinks you are and who you think you are with who you think the public wants you to be.

even just reading that sentence, the mind is boggled by the levels of conflicting states of being therein. when you try to live within the constraints of those irreconcilable contexts, things will not go well for you because you will no longer be you and you will know longer know who you are.

so, dear friends, there’s my thoughts on how you should handle your celebrity. go forth! be famous! moving on…)

next, the hamm did something totally shocking. he stood by what he’d said.

on today, hamm told matt lauer:

“i don’t think [my words] were careless. i think they were accurate. it’s a part of our culture that i certainly don’t identify with, and i don’t really understand the appeal of it other than in a sort of car crash sensibility. and it’s not something that i partake in or enjoy, but it is what is and here we are…. there are a lot of channels on the dials and those channels need to be filled up with things…”

for the record, celebrities seldom do this. they back-peddle. they say they didn’t really say what they said though it’s clear as day that they did, and then journalists trot out transcripts and tapes that prove that they did, in fact, say what they said.

inane as that it, that’s how this usually goes down. what the hamm is doing is altogether different. dude is a celebrity prompting a public discourse on the very nature of our celebrity culture and he’s not backing down. which is kind of really awesome.

in response, KK did what anyone in this situation would do… she called ryan seacreast:

“i respect jon and i am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, not everyone takes the same path in life. we’re all working hard and we all have to respect one another. i just feel like, to be honest, it’s all about trying to stay focused and keeping everything positive. it really takes a lot more energy and effort to be harsh than to say something nice and be positive.”

not a bad statement all in all, no? a little too oprah for my tastes, but, while i wouldn’t say she “won” the war of words by any means, she didn’t disgrace herself either.

oh, but wait… what did KK do next? let her BFF jonathan cheban mouth off to us weekly about how unfairly she’s being treated, but of course.

oh reader, BRACE YOUR HEART.

in quartata 

“i think jon hamm needs to just shut up and stop being such a mad man!”

“put jon hamm in a mall, and more people will go up to the people working at the burger king than they will to him,” [jonathan cheban] told Us. “bring kim to a mall and there will be a riot.”

“let’s see where he is after mad men.”

Oh.My.God. have you died laughing? i mean, really, where to even begin? the pun? the mall? the wicked cackle that must’ve accompanied the final zinger?

celebrity news breaks down one of two ways. there’s the zen business put out for mass consumption and then there’s the dirty tidbits fed to the gossip magazines. jonathan cheban’s comments obviously fall into the later category and, in regards to them, i will tell you two things: (1) this is kim kardashian playing dirty, and (2) this is how kim kardashian really feels. 

because if you’re a celebrity, your best friend doesn’t go blabbing to the press- much less us weekly– without your permission and expect to still be your best friend at the end of the day. if they do dare to blab to the tabs, at the very most, they do a blind quote. they don’t take attribution. that’s not how the game is played.

things that are true: KK may not have approved the words here and she may have wished cheban had given them a delivery less evocative of a disney villain, but she sanctioned this.

now, what is up with the malls?! do people even go to malls anymore? furthermore, is creating a riot in a mall really a valid means of measuring 21st century celebrity? for people like tiffany and debbie gibson and NKOTB, yes, unquestionably. if you could incite a mall riot in 1989, you had achieved the height of fame, but today? in 2012? really?

lastly, hamm for this win:

“i’ve come to the realization that ‘wargames’ had it correct in 1983. the only way to win is not to play. so that’s all i’ve got to say about that now.”

in conclusion, i would like to point out that, throughout this, paris hilton has not said a word.

7 thoughts on “a quick recounting of the epic war of words between kim kardashian and jon hamm re: the issue of celebrity in america

  1. Pingback: “when a girl dresses like a slut…” « solving problems with 90210

  2. Pingback: kim kardashian <3 kanye: hysteria and the acceleration of "real" time in the Ro(Faux?)mance of The Century | finding jackie

  3. Pingback: “when a girl dresses like a slut…” | solving problems with 90210

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