Today, I present to you a new YMR Series: Stories That Fit on a Napkin.

This collection is titled, “Tales of a (Bar)Fly on the Wall.”

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Being An American Woman: My 10 days with Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

 (Part One)

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On Monday, July 7, I traipsed around in the front yard in Beatles-themed pajama pants tucked in my boots.  I dragged a trash bag behind me, filling it more every other step with remnants of a two-turned-three night celebration of these United States.  The bag  stretched awkwardly at the bottom where I had smashed soot-covered cardboard canisters in it, You know how a cartoon’s stomach takes the shape of whatever it’s ingested? My trash bag was having a breakfast of consumer-approved, mass-market b-b-b-bomb leftovers.  There was one small black spot in the yard, near the middle, where we’d launched the rockets that blow up to make a smiley face in the sky.  Or at least a sort-of smiley face.  Have the technological aesthetic advances of emojis ruined the rudimentary art of a nice night of fireworks, now, too?

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 Other than that one minute dark spot, after the rest of my garbage pick-up, there was no sign our very American celebration had even occurred.  And I wondered if – emotionally – it was kind of like that, too.  Were any parts of the traditional America we celebrate even a thimble’s worth of what America really is today?   Do kids these days know what a thimble is?

After the trash was picked up outside, I returned inside where I dumped out some half-full beer cans, threw away a couple peaked-looking hamburger patties, straightened a side-ways American flag displayed in an Incredible Hulk mug on the window sill to its proper glory and then, like a real patriot, took myself a sit-down on the couch.  That’s where I pulled out my cellphone, the no-contest winner of what “tool” we as Americans use more than any other tool of modern times, and started browsing the internet, updating my latest apps, checking email.

A question came to me: What were other Americans downloading today on their little phones?  Had anyone taken advantage of the jazzed up nationalism July gifts us and made a “PATRIOT APP?” (Sounding terribly a lot like PATRIOT ACT, there, somebody should monetize that idea with some type of satire..)   What were all the other American women doing besides cleaning up their own fireworks graveyard now?  And there, on the App Store’s chart, I found out.  They were – a whole stinkin’ lot of them, anyway – downloading with fervor, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

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Well, this blog just took a menacing turn.  I almost believe more people will stop reading now out of plain old American disgust because of the mention of Kardashian than if I suggested I instead sat down on the couch and downloaded some crazy app that helps you plan to burn every American flag and replace it with a Confederate flag in a 100-mile radius.   (FYI: Not a real app,  there —  just a made up wild idea that seems more tolerable than me writing about Kim Kardashian’s cell phone game.

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I’ve never felt the vehement dislike for Kim Kardashian’s existence that some folks do.   I commonly fall back to the poignant quote from early 2000s music group 3LW when discussing other people’s fame and successes :  “…Haters they gonna hate, Ballers they gonna ball…That ain’t got nothing to do, with me and you, that’s the way it is.”

I’ve always kind of accepted that, ya know, ol’ Kim K got famous for whatever reasons and she (and by she, I mean her management and mom, etc) really, really, really used every resource available to keep that level of fame constantly progressing.   Isn’t that what the American Dream is?  Using the tools you have?  And isn’t, again, the most effective and commonly used tool we wield as Americans today, that nifty Iphone or Android in your pocket? 

So, I downloaded Kim Kardashian: Hollywood to see what the fuss was about.   I needed to find out – for instance - if I weren’t an already relatively well-formed American woman eyeing down the rim of 30 years old with a penchant for critical thinking and my own independence, what I’d gather from this *fun, gaming experience.* Like- what if I was one of the impressionable 14-year-old girls that has 16k followers on their @KimKFanZine Instagram account and considered this app — even mildly so – a legitimate guideline to fame and fortune?   What if somebody studied Kim Kardashian: Hollywood the way I have earnestly studied my autographed copy of Robert Evans’ The Kid Stays in the Picture?   I tried to keep my mind open.  Maybe the game would surprise me - and not be- as rightly assumed by my friend Michael when I told him I’d been playing for 10 days and was at B-List fame:  “the most vapid thing ever to be experienced on this planet.”

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(This is just one of the Google Image results for “vapid.”)

In Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, the gameplay is similar to – say – the Sims.  You get a character.  You build up a certain amount of energy and use that energy to do tasks – which when completed – ups your levels and unlocks items you can buy with money, which you also generate by doing these tasks.  Understandably, the things you buy most commonly in Kim’s game are clothes, accessories, and eventually, condos.   Once, during the 10-day tenure since I’ve been crawling up the faux-fame ladder, I did have to pay my slummy-looking landlord rent.   And, when I went out of town, I also had to pay for my plane tickets and transportation around “LA” and “Miami” and eventually “Las Vegas” and “New York.”   So, that’s something.

Ya see, but for my character,”Mary”, to get to all those jet-setting opportunities in the game, I had a manager Simon and a publicist, Maria finding the “deals.”  And to acquire those managers, it all began, with Mary coincidentally running into Kim K.’s character on the street and letting her in the retail store that Mary was currently slaving her life away in *after hours* to grab a dress.  Kim K. and Mary then form an immediate friendship and are chatty as all heck.   (Which, IN REAL LIFE, if this overly-friendly exchanged started occurring,  I’m sure would’ve resulted in Kim’s bodyguard quickly detaining lowly retail associate Mary out back by the boutique’s fancy dumpster.)

The narrative continues with Kim complimenting  and fawning over Mary , inviting her into her Beverly Hills home, introducing her to all the right people, and giving her (and this is where quite a bit of *vapid* sets in) advice throughout the game.   Advice, ahem, like this:

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Before this certain piece of advice flashed on the screen, I’d been sort-of rationalizing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.  I was prepared to admit that it was fun to *earn* enough money to buy “Mary” an outfit that would most certainly garner her compliments at her next appearance at a bar.  I was feeling weirdly rewarded when I knew, after earning a few more grand in the game, I could upgrade to a really big house, with all brand new furniture, and brand new clothes in the closet – Something that, in my real life, would take far more than just clicking *bubbles* to use my *energy* and thus, finish tasks like checking my make-up during a photo shoot.  

But that advice from in-game Kim, it gnawed at me.  Dating famous people will get you more fans, too. It was ringing in my ears.   (Well, not totally because I only play the game on mute so nobody knows what I’m doing.) After that message, the blinders were off.   This wasn’t some fun little “dress-up and live” game that reminded me of when I had Polly Pockets and Barbies as a little girl, and dreamed up scenarios that were loosely based on the life of the character Mary Richards who I truly adored from the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  

This was some horrific fictionalized anti-feminist, anti-woman, anti-progress, man-mongering, disaster!  Or…was it?

 “Dating famous people will get you more fans, too.”  Kim advises.  Well, she’s right, isn’t she?  For her, a leaked sex tape with Ray J – the rapper little brother of R&B star Brandy, was the initial push of Kim into the public eye.   

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“Getting new clothing, cars, and homes can increase your star power for love and work.” An info bubble pops up and explains to “Mary” during a meeting with her manager, Simon.   I assumed this nudge was a result of Mary not having bought any new accessories or clothing since my last level up.  Or because for Kim (and maybe other women?) – it is true? 

Thinking about all this has launched me into a serious self-assessment.  I’m guilty myself of posting “Tuesday is Shoes-day” on my Instagram page to show off a new pair of heels I just got in the mail.  Of course,  my motivation for posting the heels was certainly not to increase my start power for love (happy with a thankfully non-famous, brilliant, wonderful supportive man) or work. 

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But in the game,  for my character “Mary” – a young lady fighting her way up in an industry where your attractiveness is undoubtedly important and so is your pocketbook and social power, maybe Kim is just gettin’ really real about how things *can* go down. Or specifically, how they’ve gone down for her?

I’m nearing A-list status on the game. Right now, Mary’s being encouraged by her publicist Maria to buy a condo in Miami that she can’t afford because she didn’t know she’d be pushed so hard to do so and instead spent $4k of her earnings on an outfit that included a black leather jacket.  Soon, Mary will take her first catwalk at a really important fashion show.   And thereafter, I assume, kiss “B List” goodbye.

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Wanna know what happens when I make it to the top?    Er.. I mean, when “Mary” makes it to the top?  How I feel after clawing my way to the top by whatever means necessary?  Was it worth it? Stay tuned for the release of Part Two by following me on Facebook, Twitter on Instagram.



When I feel like an idiot and my internal dialogue is repeatedly saying, “You are an idiot.” - I pretend a highly-esteemed person comes along and corrects me by whispering “savant” after “idiot.”