Kim Kardashian's divorce: summing up just how depressing reality television culture has become.
Unless you've been living under a rock this week (or are concerning yourself with more worthy current events), you'll know that the much-publicized marriage of reality TV star Kim Kardashian and basketball player Kris Humphries has ended after a mere 72 days.
Ridiculously short marriages are nothing new in celeb-land - remember Britney's 55-hour marriage to Jason Alexander, the embarrassing outcome of a few too many drinks on a night out in Vegas? Stars have been marrying and splitting in a matter of months for decades. But with accusations flying that Kim 'n' Kris was all just one big publicity stunt, along with all the lurid details of the magazine deals, freebies and cash the wedding netted them, is all this a very sad picture of the way we treat marriage today?
I have to admit that I'm still not sure why Kim Kardashian is famous. Wikipedia tells me she featured in a sex tape - and I know that she and her family have their own reality show, which has led to an appearance in Playboy, a line of fragrances, jewellery, a clothing boutique - the works. So far, so typical of our times.
And yet all this led to a whirlwind relationship, followed by a relentlessly televised and photographed wedding that included three (yes, THREE) $20,000 Vera Wang dresses, a $15,000 cake, earrings worth $5 million, and a total of $18 million made through various media partnerships. So, you know, that's $250,000 for each day of the marriage.
The "cracks" began to show early. Just weeks after the honeymoon-themed magazine covers with quotes from Kim about looking forward to starting a family, the tabloids and gossip mags were smugly reporting, via those ever-reliable "sources close to the couple", that Kim was mapping out a future for herself "without Kris" while he was out partying, "acting like a single man".
Perhaps it was inevitable that she would file for divorce within weeks, tweeting only to promote the opening of her new store while Kris was telling the press he was "devastated" at what she had done, and the gossip websites were reporting that the couple had clashed over issues such as where to live after the wedding. Surely that's something, like being on the same page about when and if to have kids, that you discuss before getting married?
Now, when I got married, the priest announced as part of his address on what marriage is all about, that "No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly". I appreciate that not everyone is religious or sees a spiritual significance in marriage but I think those sentiments should stand true for everyone who decides to make such a big commitment to another person.
I'm also not totally ignorant of the history of marriage and so I know that in centuries gone by, it has often been about inheritance, reproduction, ensuring livelihoods, and money - rather than love. But over the past few years, we've all seen the blind items and little hints to the effect that so-and-so's relationship was carefully arranged by her management, or so-and-so's marriage was a ploy to help the careers of both people involved.
When Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt announced they were getting divorced in 2010, Spencer was quick to go on record saying that their entire marriage has been fake - a "show" and "part of The Hills". Yet when they called off the divorce shortly afterwards, he admitted that separating was a ploy to help Heidi's career - so when a deal to make a television series about the divorce fell through, they decided to get back together.
It's depressing tales such as this that make you wonder what purpose the Kardashian-Humphries nuptials were supposed to serve - and why on earth prestigious brands were apparently so willing to throw millions of dollars worth of freebies at the pair. Actually, you don't have wonder about that - it's all part of the reality TV circus. And it makes me feel a bit sick.
One comment on the week's events that's being quoted everywhere is George Takei's tweet that they're "Another example of how same-sex marriage is destroying the sanctity of the very institution." He has a point. Yesterday some websites werebeginning to report that our old friends, those "sources close to the couple", were revealing that the entire marriage was set up and that Kris was "selected" for Kim, while she "couldn't care less for him".
The real truth is probably yet to come out. I suppose it's too much to hope that all these ridiculous people would stop making so much money out of living their ridiculous, publicity stunt-driven lives. But we can hold out hope, right?
Hannah Mudge writes about all things news and feminism-themed for BitchBuzz. You can also read her blog, We Mixed Our Drinks or follow her tweets as @boudledidge.
Image via BiggerPictureImages's Flickr