The Kiddy Pool: Kim Kardashian's Showbiz Marriage

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.

You don’t have to pay much attention to the (pseudo) news to know that Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries is over. And, if you’re like me, you’re probably not remotely surprised by this. It’s not that I’m cynical about romance in general. OK, maybe a little, at least the way the media spins it. It just never occurred to me to classify Kardashian’s wedding as romance or anything remotely related to love. Kardashian wore three different designer dresses at her spectacle and sported a 20.5 carat engagement ring; she wore $15 million worth of diamonds in an event staged for her reality television show. The two-part special aired on October 9, about three weeks before the divorce announcement. So of course I’m not alone now in speculating that a woman with no discernible talents beyond considerable skill in self-promotion (apparently, a family trait) staged the whole thing for profit and publicity.

Certainly Kardashian isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, to marry for money and power. The whole Kardashian circus reminds me how much so many of us are both working against the culture of shameless personal aggrandizement and buying into it. Celebrities like the entire Kardashian clan exist because lots of people actually want to keep up with them, and yet I can honestly say that if my little girl were in Kim’s place someday, I would be ashamed. I don’t watch their show or read tabloids, but their presence and influence is unavoidable, and no matter what example I set at home, my daughter will see the same supermarket headlines that I do. So it’s my job to surround her with more compelling narratives and people who value marriages as precious beyond any dollar value assigned to a wedding. It’s on me to teach her that her integrity and dignity are worth more than diamonds. And I think that starts with demonstrating gratitude at home, for my husband and our marriage, and compassion outside of our home, for someone like Kim Kardashian who will lose so much in this divorce regardless of the motivations or the pricetag. I can only hope that sometime before the Kardashian divorce special airs, Kim will find herself in a more compelling narrative than showbiz offers, too.

About Erin Wyble Newcomb

Erin Wyble Newcomb earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and Women's Studies from Penn State University. In addition to parenting her daughters, running marathons, and making things with glitter, she teaches in the English Department at SUNY New Paltz. Follow Erin on Twitter @ErinWyble or at

  • Erik

    I get all that, but at the same time, I feel sad for a lot of the people involved. Marriage can and should be a wonderful experience that helps both individuals grow spiritually and emotionally. Just because this may have been foreseeable doesn’t make it any less a tragedy.