Oh, Kim… (or What Would All the Old Armenian Ladies Say)

My mother is fond of telling the story of her first meeting with my dad’s Armenian relatives. “I went to Hudson’s and bought a new outfit and new shoes,” she remembers. Since my mother has always been style conscious, I imagine her in her fashionable clothes, her stocking seams perfectly straight, her dark hair neatly brushed with a glow in her blue eyes and fair Scotch/Irish complexion.

Republic of Georgia, Armenia

“Your Dad’s mother was there, of course, and all these little old Armenian ladies,” my mother continues. “Every one of them had on a black skirt, a black blouse, and thick black stockings. They sat around jabbering away and I couldn’t understand a word. But I could tell they were talking about me, and that it probably wasn’t good!”

She switches off the remote control on the television, where we’ve been watching a story on Entertainment Tonight announcing that Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from her husband, just 72 days after their lavish multi-million dollar wedding.

“I wonder what those old Armenian ladies would say about her?” my mother asks.

I don’t have to wonder. I don’t speak Armenian, but I know what they’d say.  “Shame on you” sounds the same in every language.

I’ve never watched Keeping Up With The Kardashians, mostly because I don’t find reality shows that exploit family dysfunction very entertaining. But also because I’m Armenian myself, and I’ve always been a little ashamed of the way this family represents my nationality.  It’s not that they make much of their ethnic background on the show, for which I guess I’m thankful. But their very name proclaims their heritage – the “ian” suffix (which means “son of…”) is a dead giveaway.

Kim’s recent huge wedding, with her three original designer gowns and her two-million dollar engagement ring is reported to have cost the family over $6 million dollars, but also to have earned them $8 million dollars in endorsements, rights, and royalties. I don’t know how they divide the take on a wedding ceremony, and I don’t care. I just know that’s enough money overall to provide food and shelter to a lot of homeless people in this country. Or to send a bunch of teenagers to college. Or provide health care for a lot of sick babies.

And the fact that she threw the whole thing down the toilet after 72 days is enough to make me lose my religion.

Armenia is not a rich country. It’s a nation that’s been plagued with disaster practically since time began. My own grandfather fled the country during the Turkish genocide in the early 1900’s, and he never saw his family again. Like the majority of Armenian people in the United States my ancestors came from a small village and lived off the work of their hands. The life they were able to build here in America – even a very solidly middle class life – seemed like great wealth to them.

Obviously the Kardashian family realized the American dream in a way most Armenian families did not.  The only thing I know about their background (and this fact says a lot) is that their father, Robert, was part of O.J. Simpson’s defense team. But however they obtained it, I believe they have some responsibility to use their wealth and “fame” to represent their nationality in a positive light, not to become a symbol of outrageous behavior, wretched excess, and selfish gain.

Kim Kardashian is an extraordinarily beautiful young woman with an unusual fineness of feature. I admit to an occasional flash of envy when I see photos of her with her exquisite dark eyes and glossy straight hair. Not fair, I think, for one woman to be so lovely.

But beauty is as beauty does, my Grandmother often told me. Kim Kardashian’s behavior is neither beautiful nor justifiable.

And it’s certainly not representative of the morality or culture of the Armenian people.

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12 thoughts on “Oh, Kim… (or What Would All the Old Armenian Ladies Say)

  1. Kim Kardashian is so far away from any ethnicity except for Hollywood Hype and Selfishness.

    Her sense of entitlement and lack of respect for wedding vows is shameful, for sure.

    UGH.

    Here I am judging someone I don’t know…but I think we can ASSume plenty!

  2. We are judging her BEHAVIOR which was not good. She might be a very nice person underneath, and she could modify her behavior and show her natural goodness! lol

  3. Whoever Kim Kardashian is, her behavior doesn’t say a thing about Armenia. It speaks volumes about our country, what passes for entertainment here and the utterly weird obsession on the part of a whole lot of people to live their lives vicariously through others.

    I’d heard the name “Kardashian” floating around, but paid no attention until the divorce hit the headlines. I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup. Apparently I’ve not missed much.

  4. oh really, did her marriage end already? gosh

    I’ve actually never seen her tv shows and have always wondered where she became famous from and what she does? (after her wedding did get coverage in the European media and I was left to wonder whe the hell she is?)

  5. The idea of shame has almost disappeared from our society. Since no one is ashamed of anything they do – then anything goes- as long as it benefits them.
    There seems to be no sense of right or wrong or boundries in this society. I’m sure your Armenian ancestors and our common Scotch/Irish ancestors would be dumbfounded at the behavior that is displayed these days and is accepted as normal.
    “Aren’t you ashamed” my mama used to say when I did something wrong. Her disappointment in me was enough to make me cry. Now days kids would say “What for”???
    Amen to this posting.

    • Oh lord, the “aren’t you ashamed?” question was a killer. The last thing we ever wanted to do was shame ourselves – or at least I didn’t. You’re right – that concept isn’t recognized very much anymore!

  6. I loved this post, Becca… especially the storytelling quality of it. This is an important aspect of the Kardashian drama that needs to be addressed… how we as a society feed this terrible beast and disrespect those who work hard and live their lives with honor and integrity.

    • Thanks Angie. Not a lot of people know much about Armenia. It’s a small, relatively quiet country in the global scene. I wish the Kardashian family were better representatives.

  7. Pingback: A Kardashian of Another Color « Becca's Byline

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