Is Kim Kardashian Punk?

Illustration for article titled Is Kim Kardashian Punk?
Screenshot: Vogue

In a new video for Vogue, in which contributing editor Jonathan Van Meter interviewed Kim Kardashian about the last season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Van Meter boldly proclaimed that he and Lady Gaga’s publicist agree that Kim Kardashian is inherently punk. Kardashian laughed, and then agreed herself, chiming in that designer Riccardo Tisci had told her the same thing before the “punk” themed Met Gala.



In the interview, Kim “reflected” on 20 seasons of the most banal reality television show, now that KUWTK has parked itself for the last outing ever. I guess there’s a lot in this conversation, although I found myself dozing off quite a bit, having heard this woman talk near-endlessly for the last 15 years. She discussed her fashion inspirations, her experiences with the family, and now, her new “work,” which is “writing the wrongs” of the criminal justice system—though curiously, she hasn’t yet called for outright abolition, or even presented tangible goalposts... but let’s have that conversation another day.

But it’s this strange last question about punkness that really jolted me awake. Here’s the moment in full:

Van Meter: I was on the phone with Lady Gaga’s publicist the other day. We somehow decided that there was something punk rock about you. That you’re not calculated, and have a kind of fuck the haters, I dare you to look away kind of presence, that you have. You know what I mean?

Kardashian: Yeah.

Van Meter: And I just... um... but it was an interest moment of like celebrating something about you that was very specific.

Kardashian: Aw, thank you.

Van Meter: And I wondered if there’s something punk about you?

Kardashian: I think so.

Who’s going to tell her?

Seriously, though. I understand the sentiment. For 15 years, Kim Kardashian has all but refused to indulge the near-infinite criticisms lobbed at her. She continually pushes on, reinventing herself with increasingly arcane layers of blackfishing and cultural cherry-picking. In that sense, she absolutely has that “fuck the haters, I dare you to look away” presence that Van Meter described.

Kim then indulged the compliment and charged forward with that aforementioned Met Gala anecdote, in which former Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci told her practically the same thing. I’d be more bothered about the punk thing, probably, had she not wholeheartedly agreed to being “uncalculated.” Now, now, Kim; That’s the naughtiest fib I’ve ever heard.



That you’re not calculated

Did this guy beam in from Bizarro World? Kim is the most calculated, down to the nano-movement, person in popular culture by the longest of shots. I don’t even know who to nominate for second place except maybe her mom. She makes Madonna look like a pothead hippie who lives in a van.

You aren’t the reigning queen of reality media for twenty damn years—a realm that chews up and spits out its subjects at a speed so dizzying it makes modeling look staid—without being able to read every room in existence on the planet and adjust to fit it. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t do whatever she wants—see: gatherings on private islands during a pandemic—but that she manages to simply skate over all criticism and critique and simply apply more lip gloss, take five thousand selfies, and rake in the cash.