I was truly shocked, shaken to the core, to see that Kim Kardashian’s use of social media has left observers with the distinct impression that the reality television star, mega-celebrity and almost-billionaire might not be quite as in touch with the public mood as one might expect from a woman who famously broke the internet when she caught champagne in a glass on her bottom.
Last week, she posted photographs from her 40th birthday party on Twitter and on Instagram, where she has 190 million followers, adding in the caption that she was feeling “so humbled and blessed”. The pictures documented a trip to a private island with her friends and family, “where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time”. She ended with a concession that “for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is”.
There’s nothing so humbling as showing off about a holiday on a private island during a raging pandemic. I read that religious sorts did it in the olden days when they ran out of sackcloth. That this was thought crass by so many people shows that we really need to adjust our expectations when it comes to celebrities – was the great A-list Imagine singalong of March 2020 really all for nothing?
Of course Kardashian shared pictures of her party. She likes sharing more than socialism likes sharing. Though I can’t help but think it was the “out of reach right now” line that did for her, as if post-pandemic we might all enjoy popping off to our private islands to swim with whales.
Instead of breaking the internet this time, however, Kardashian inadvertently brought it together and made me love it again, for a brief, beautiful moment. The story turned very surreal, very quickly, as a variety of voices chimed in. At one point, musician Peter Frampton popped up to call her “insensitive”, adding that “people are going to food banks, not private islands”.
Then social media flexed its mighty wit, adding pictures of other holidays to her original post, from Jurassic Park to Midsommar, from Barry Island to the Fyre festival, each meme more enjoyable than the last. “Now that I have your attention... this is a reminder to VOTE,” Kardashian later wrote, as if it had all been part of the plan. If that was the case, surely she should have issued a humble reminder, instead?
Comedian Nabil Abdulrashid deserves his last laugh
There was no Wimbledon this year and the Euros have been postponed until next year, but a new national sport has emerged in the void: complaining to Ofcom.
Whoever had Britain’s Got Talent down as a flashpoint for the culture wars may have completed their 2020 bingo card, because, once again, the regulatory body has rejected an astonishing number of ridiculous complaints about the show.
More than 3,000 people objected to the routine of stand-up comedian Nabil Abdulrashid during the finals on 10 October. During that performance, which was both funny and moving, Abdulrashid addressed the 1,000 complaints about his performance in the semi-finals. “To be honest with you, I’m shocked that that many of them know how to write,” he said.
Having dealt with complaints about Alesha Dixon’s Black Lives Matter necklace and Diversity’s Black Lives Matter-inspired dance routine, you’ve got to wonder if Ofcom is considering putting a “BGT” filter on its inbox.
There is a serious discussion to be had about how making complaints fuels further complaints – the Diversity furore did not pick up steam until reports of a small number of objections led to a far greater number being made – but it’s hard to believe that anyone who watched Abdulrashid’s routines managed to find anything that offended them.
Ofcom agreed. “The comedian’s satirical take on his life experiences as a black Muslim was likely to have been within audience expectations,” they ruled. Abdulrashid got the last laugh, literally. When he tweeted news that Ofcom had dismissed the complaints, he added a long and deserved line of “BAHAHAHAs”.
I’m as much a novice as Jacqui Smith at Strictly
Whether she remains in the competition by the end of the weekend is looking a little shaky, but at least I can finally get involved in discussions about things like this.
I have only ever been a Strictly dabbler at most – aware of it, but reluctant to commit. In my years as a TV critic, this has felt like an egregious omission, the “I’ve never seen Star Wars” of British culture.
However, there are almost 2 million more of us watching Strictly than there were last year and now I can say with some authority that I can see why. It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s camp, which is how I like my weekends etc.
But it turns out that you can’t just dive into this type of show. “That was a decent first try?” I said to my partner, after Smith’s foxtrot last week. She tutted. “This is going to take you a bit of time,” she said, sadly, as the judges’ pointers flew by, as if in another language. I’ve decided to simply nod and say “footwork” for now.
• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist