What is the American Dream these days? We live in a culture obsessed with wealth, fame, and all the trappings of the good life. We value hard work, but we don’t want too work hard. We want to work hard enough to have enough money to play hard and shop hard. But not so hard we don’t have time to play.
So this brings me to two consummate representatives of the American Dream, and American Ingenuity. Kim Kardashian and V. Stiviano.
We’ll start with Stiviano, since she is in the middle of her 15 minutes right now. This controversy hit right in the middle of the best NBA playoff season in years. The controversy talks about the big elephant in the American room: racism, when we are supposedly post-racial. We also have a story of the tragic mulatto. And the mistress. But unlike Monica Lewinsky, Stiviano has already started writing the book, and is writing her own story. She won’t have to wait 15 years, and since she is controlling the messaging, her reputation hasn’t been completely tarnished in the media. She is certainly PR savvy.
And Stiviano represents the new celebrity in the America. A place where reality stars build empires, become media personalities and run for political office. A few years from now, I am sure Stiviano won’t be looking for billionaires to fund her lifestyle, because she’ll have her own dollars. She’ll probably a bestselling author and lifestyle guru with her own show on cable television. Taking the shortcut to fame fortune and riches, despite the inauspicious beginning. She’s just taking a page from her friend Karrine Steffans book > from video “vixen” to media personality.
Now on to Kim Kardashian, the queen of reality TV. Kim Kardashian went from sex tape to the cover of Vogue in just 11 years. With successful fragrances, television shows, retail stores and clothing lines along the way.
Kardashian’s job is to be herself. The mere act of getting dressed in the morning is “newsworthy” if your last name is Kardashian.
Not that long ago, a start like hers, with a sex tape, would have been a death knell. Ask Vanessa Williams, who was lost her Miss America crown due to some Penthouse photos. Now sex tapes and tell-all books about your hookups can launch a “career.”
We (americans) love rooting for the underdog. It is almost like we want people like this to succeed, despite our Puritan roots. Isn’t the old adage, do what you love and worry about the money later?
These ladies represent the American Dream: fame, fortune, success. All just for loving themselves.