8. Jezebel: Khloé Kardashian, Tristan Thompson, and the Commodification of Toxicity
There was a time when I followed Kim Kardashian. That was years ago, and I never paid much attention, if any at all, to Khloé. The Kardashians have been in the zeitgeist for over a decade now, famous for being famous and without any talents—except entertaining.
There are many ways in which the Kardashians entertain, writes Zeba Blay: “For all the people who watched their reality show or follow them on social media because they genuinely like them and think they’re cool, there is also a large contingent of people who derive pleasure from laughing at them, not out of amusement but out of pure schadenfreude. The Kardashian mode of entertainment hinges on spectacle, absurdity, dysfunction, comparison, and just plain hate.”
In many ways, Khloé and her love and family life embody this sentiment more than any other Kardashian. Most recently, this has been apparent in the unsurprising announcement by Tristan Thompson, Khloé’s baby daddy (and maybe partner? I can’t keep up), who “fathered a child with Maralee Nichols” after denying paternity (re: Bossip’s analysis “Kondomless Klown King Tristan Thompson Kries Krocodile Tears To Khloé Over Infant Indiscretion, Apologizes For Rampant Raw Doggery”).
With Thompson’s confirmation, “here was another humiliation, for both Khloé and Tristan. The history of their on-again-off-again relationship has been fraught with cheating rumors, adding to the impression that Khloé is an insecure bird and Tristan is an insecure thot,” and is emblematic of “a growing trend of toxic relationships playing out on social media and in the public eye, like soap operas in real time.” It’s also related to the commodification of toxicity: “If Khloé Kardashian has a talent, now, it’s simply riding the storm of constant public embarrassment. Like a pie to the face, every time Khloé takes another L, it generates some sympathy, but mostly a kind of glee, similar to the act of hate-watching a show you don’t like just so you can talk shit about it.”