The week before last, reports of the arrival and all minor and major activities of the Kardashian clang bombarded the media, from the most conservative to the most liberal. Every medium spent manpower on keeping the locals in the know about their whereabouts and activities, often captured by the Kardashians themselves on SnapChat and other social media.
As someone, who admittedly has on a rare occasion found herself watching a bit of the Kardashian show when all else fails, I shouldn’t be so surprised by all the media interest in their Icelandic break, but it nonetheless stuns me to see photos of crowds waiting outside of stores and hotels where a Kardashian has been.
As a very private person, that kind of invasion into the private life is unthinkable, but I suppose it is just part of the reality television gig.
Many Icelanders are shocked by the attention the Kardashian visit got, as Iceland has been an escape of a kind for many celebrities who come to Iceland whether on business or leisure. Locals have kept their distance, letting the visitors enjoy their space and leisure time to explore, shop, or whatever they fancied doing.
When I was a teenager in the 1990s, Damon Albarn was a regular visitor in Reykjavík, both being a co-owner in a Reykjavík bar (if memory serves me right) and performing on few occasions with his band, Blur. His presence interested us, there was no doubt about that, and there were small groups of teenagers who did stand outside his hotel when the band came for the first time to perform, but the hype was far from what it is with the Kardashian visit.
Even mbl.is, a news website of the right-wing Morgunblaðið, has kept the flow of information coming to the interested readership.
Based on recent headlines, I know that the Kardashian clang went to a hot tub, shopped at Geysir, went to a glacier, dined at specific restaurants, and some other stuff. How they feel about the intimate details of their trip being known to the whole world, I don’t know, but it’s a strange universe to the likes of me.
With the world in its shrinking state despite the physical realities of geographical distances, we find ourselves sharing celebrities from one continent to another, and all of a sudden, the access to social media and any online newsroom, entertainment site, or what have you, is within grasp via your keyboard.
Personally, I doubt I would function very well in a world without Internet.
To start with, the notion of having to look for the answer to a simple question by looking it up in a book that might not be at my immediate disposal, is a little disturbing. I want to know now and no later than now. I did this as a child but from my teens onwards, I have done very little of this kind of research. All my initial research begins with a search online. My thesis topic is the result of such research.
Then of course it’s social media; curse it all you want, but it’s brought us all closer together in spite of its faults. I like social media.
Iceland, like the rest of the world, is facing rapid changes as a consequence of the fusion of cultures in the global community. We are all affected by it and the Kardashian visit is just an example of how much the world has changed. The fusion of the real and the acted, a form investigated in Jim Carey’s the Truman Show, is now reality television, a form that might just make it’s way into Icelandic media one day.
We already have reality television, such as Ísland (Iceland) Got Talent, Masterchef Iceland, and several local varieties. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until Iceland will have its own Kardashian family, albeit with the limited population and smallness of the culture, it would probably prove somewhat complicated.
Whatever we think about this sort of circus behavior surrounding a single visit, we might as well acknowledge that this is how it is, and we can either be the grumpy person barking out our discontent, or just let it be and get on with life.
I am a very private person, and will never go chasing after celebrities when they visit. Others, less private and more comfortable with the spotlight, will.
Whether we like it or not, the celebrity culture has come to Iceland and is here to stay.
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]