Ms. Kardashian Affirms My Need for Time Off

It’s cold this morning in Vermont–a little cloudy, a little wet, the whole world seems to be getting a slow start on the day.  I had forgotten what the late summer weather is like up here.  Cricket, the Pappilon dog co-parented by my hosts here, eyes me silently from the couch; Stella, the very Rubenesque cat makes a big lump on the end of the bed.  If you listen very closely, and are very still and quiet, you can hear the chickens outside.

On the drive yesterday, somewhere between Brattleboro and Putney, four insects of the same kind found themselves smooshed against the windshield, all at once, like they’d been thrown from a handful, scattering their insides across the glass.  Whatever kind of bug it was, their guts were a bright orange-toned red, opaque and transparent at the same time, like paint mixed with gel medium–and I thought immediately of the Chagall murals at the Metropolitan Opera.  For some reason.  They are the only other place I know where you can see this color.  It was beautiful, really.

But, two days ago:  Inside the Daily News, which I was reading by looking over the shoulder of a perhaps unsuspecting man sitting near me on the M Train, there was a color picture, maybe 5×6 inches, of Kim Kardashian.  The picture was captioned “But why is she famous in the first place?”  The printing of such pictures are often captioned with such questions in current media, especially if the pictures are of Ms. Kardashian.  It seems to me that the combination of photograph and caption is, in fact, the answer to the question.  That we continue to ask this question and pretend to be baffled by the seeming lack of answer indicates to me that we cannot see (or that we refuse to see) how our preoccupation with celebrity–rather, with the magical transformation of the self–is both the reason and the thrust of Ms. Kardashian’s fame.

When I started thinking about her celebrity and its cause, I knew it was time for a vacation.  I am here for a few days of decompression and slowness.  Hoping for, but not counting on, or depending on, that magical transformation of the self that a few days outside of routine can give you.

See you when I get back.

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