In which the Elegant Bastard suggests that all strange beasts must be allowed their beastly strangeness.
I have never lived in Montana, nor have I ever visited. I therefore have no idea how frequently zombies come out to play with the locals. Still, these encounters must be fairly rare given the panic that arose when a local television station calmly advised viewers that the zombie apocalypse had begun and was coming to a street near them … immediately! Fear and loathing were apparently quite widespread.
Torontonians, of course, would shrug at such news. Zombie invasions are a twice-daily occurrence here. Once in the morning and again at around 5 p.m., they stream back and forth in the underground tunnels we have long provided for their use. As they do not really speak, communicating mostly via snarls, finger gestures and staring eyes, it’s hard to know what they seek. Perhaps light, or mates, or some better source of dietary fibre, but whatever their goal, they scurry quickly away to wherever they think it might be hiding. Few brains are eaten and things return to normal fairly quickly. Imagine lemmings equipped with opposable thumbs and you’ll have the picture.
On the basis of that experience, I feel I can – with authority – suggest to Montanans that they just grin and bear it. Like other creatures – and this is true of all reputable monsters – zombies can only do what zombies do. Would you tell dragons not to fly, harpies not to snatch and gorgons not to stare? Then why tell zombies not to chase and catch and chew? They must climb out of their darkness, must stumble around in search of victims, must eat the brains of those they seize, and then return to an unquiet sleep. They cannot do otherwise. A zombie is a zombie is a zombie.
And that, Dear Reader, brings us to the Kardashians.
It was only a few days ago that someone finally told me the identity of the troubling images staring back at me from the ranks of magazine covers displayed in supermarket check-out lines. I had wondered what creatures these were. Now I know and I approach with a new kaution. Why would I not? Kardashian faces are hard. These weird sisters and their dam are so klearly a kollection of karnivores. Their pointed chins, powerful jaws and often visible teeth send subtle shivers down my spine. Karbrashian eyes, veiled behind koiled Kartrashian hair, seem both kalculating and predatory, as if weighing up my worth as a midday morsel. My forehead burns, my limbs go leaden; my legs refuse to move. Already I feel kaught and must k-k-consciously fight back against the kolonizing power of their special “K” brand. I nervously pat for my wallet; it is there.
I break away and I am soon outdoors. Here where I feel safer, I consider the mystery of Karcashian fame. Such speculation, as it always does, puts my feet on auto-pilot and I am soon in some Starbucks or other. With my Americano in one hand and my iPhone in the other, in seven Googly minutes I discover just how famous the K-clan is!
I read of weird things, impossible things, of sudden loud marriages and louder divorces, of gender-inappropriate underwear and surgical sculptings, of burgeoning boobs and of children named Dash, of Kaynes and of Kris’s, of clubs and of cash. A lot of cash. Extraordinary amounts of cash. The only thing I do not find is any reason for their fame.
The answer given most often is that the Karcrashians, like the Hiltons, are famous because they are famous. I disagree. The answer, as I suggested earlier, lies in the nature of the zombie.
The Kardashians are what they are because they cannot be anything else. Whether by genes, greed or self-love, they are driven to the bright lights, the bank rolls, the red carpet. Trailing after them – smaller and making no noise whatsoever – are the others, their fans, the gray legions who live to stand in supermarket lines and sneer, or point, or go “tut tut”, or moan “tsk tsk.” Then, clutching their glossy purchases to their breasts, they scurry home to gaze and giggle and wish.
And of these two things that are the same, I much prefer the Kardashian brand. Excessive and crass and corrupt it may be, there’s a riotous exuberance to it, a certain tawdry sensuality, a perverse and rapacious energy that animates their gluttony. At one and the same time, they are narcissistic, incestuous and orgiastic. All who approach – the Perez Hiltons, the Kris Humphries, the Kanye Wests, the Ryan Seacrests – are taken in, used, and then ignored, and this is especially true of the gray legions. Through it all, one monstrous truth becomes clear. Some zombies munch the brains of others; most eat their own.
As my spellchecker keeps telling me – in red – whenever it comes across the word Kardashian, I have two choices. I can “Ignore” or I can “Ignore all”. I choose the second and I hope that you, Dear Reader, will do the same. After all, surrounded as we are by Kardashians and gray legions, we have no more choice than the easily frightened Montanans and what’s more, we all know why.
Because a zombie is a zombie is a zombie.