I’ve been living under a rock, or so it would seem, because until today when I looked up Kardashians on Wikipedia I really didn’t know who they were. For weeks I’ve been hearing the word Kardashians and wondered if they were a band.
Friday at work, I overheard three students arguing about the K named people. When two left, I asked the remaining young woman, and she smiled and kindly explained they were people who were paid to be famous. “Umm… They do that now?” I wasn’t so clueless that I hadn’t notice tabloids exclaiming gossipy stories about K named women at the checkout. Something about an expensive wedding and a marriage gone bad in 72 days.
Today I looked up the name Kardashian on Wikipedia and found out about their television show. Even when I had cable I never watched E!. I really don’t need to know any more about the Kardashians than I do now, and would not recognize one if I saw one.
This amuses me and I chuckle at my own cluelessness. To the young, knowledge of the famous is a sanity check. Not knowing the glitterati often gets me a sneer or sarcasm, that tells me I’m out of touch with reality and implying I’m over that famous hill. I turned 60 last year, and I can’t name the young people who are currently famous as movie stars, TV stars, sport stars, and I would stay rock stars, but is rock is even famous anymore? I’m just now memorizing Kate Winslet’s name and I saw Titanic twice at the theaters – for the shipwreck.
My pop culture education grades took a nose dive when I gave up cable TV and quit reading TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. I do read The Rolling Stone on my iPad, so I know a few new groups, but I had to buy two Arcade Fire albums before I could remember their damn name, and I still can’t remember any of their dang song titles. Starting in my late 40s, and all through my 50s, I’ve been losing the ability to remember nouns – so maybe that’s why I lost interest in pop culture. Following the famous requires noun memorization.
I know who Kay Francis and Robert Montgomery were, and I doubt millions of young people do – so there! Who is clueless now?
Luckily, forgetting doesn’t hurt. Oh, it’s annoying when I struggle to recall a name I used to know, but it doesn’t hurt. And it’s not even embarrassing at work when young people make fun of me for not knowing the people they worship. I remember being 13 and baffled by parents, aunts, uncles and teachers that reveal their low IQ by not knowing The Byrds and Robert Heinlein.
The 21st century is so passé, the 19th century is where it’s at. My new idols are Anthony Trollope, Louise May Alcott, John Singer Sargent, Edith Wharton, Charles Darwin, … so back under my rock.
JWH – 1/16/12