Kim Kardashian West and her family have become globally famous thanks, for the most part, to their unabashed willingness to live their well-manicured lives on camera for millions to see, opening up to an unprecedented degree about their day-to-day existences—first on TV and then also on social media.
Sometimes the family seems almost normal, particularly when the Kardashian and Jenner sisters are razzing each other like, well, sisters, or when the girls give momager Kris Jenner the full-on eye-roll treatment.
But always, at the same time, they're operating on a level of extraordinary opulence.
While the money and the travel, the concerts and the clothes, the swag and the jets tend to make being a celebrity look like a most attractive proposition, the attention that would necessarily come with a certain level of fame more often than not has us shuddering, "Ick, I'm so glad I'm not a celebrity" or "I would make the worst celebrity."
And that's not just because fans are hanging on your every move. It's because perfect strangers think that they know you—and not always in the most friendly of ways.
The Kardashians obviously have the support of millions, or else they wouldn't be where they are in the pop culture universe, but that level of celebrity always comes with a flip side.
Truth be told, the family is bigger than the average definition of celebrity now. Their brand is a phenomenon that will never be matched, frankly because anyone who sets out to follow in Kim's footsteps will never shake the original's shadow. No family of 19, no housemates, no Housewife will ever match what we've seen develop over the past decade, straight out of Calabasas, Calif.
But could it be time to dial it back? Not because of anything they did, but because our increasingly interconnected world has apparently lost its sense of decency.
For starters, we're just glad Kim Kardashian is safe, because the alternative is too stomach-churning to really consider.
The mother of two was bound, gagged and robbed at gunpoint last night in Paris, two masked men making her climb into the bathtub in the pied a terre she stays at when she's in town and then making off with her jewelry.
Aside from the potentially devastating psychological effects that sort of experience could have on any person, Kim is someone who, for better or worse, has been very trusting with the public. You have to be to operate with that level of exposure. She's usually surrounded by security in public, in addition to a frequent TV crew entourage (for the record, Keeping Up With the Kardashians was not filming at the time of the robbery), but Kim opens up her world to millions via social media from everywhere, from 30,000 feet in the air to the confines of her bedroom. She's fully aware that plenty of haters are going to chime in, but in the meantime thousands more just adore her. Kim takes the bad with the good, the a-holes with the adulation.
So it wasn't that surprising that, when the news broke, Twitter was awash in more than well-wishes for Kim Kardashian West's safety. But that didn't make it any less sickening to see jokes, memes, "who cares" type of comments and intimations that she somehow deserved it making the rounds.
Therefore we ask for the umpteenth time: What is wrong with people?
There's the all-too-common canard that celebrities, and the Kardashians in particular, don't deserve privacy or should otherwise expect some level of invasion into their personal lives—this was an actual invasion.
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Earlier last week, Kim was the target of a failed ambush by seemingly ubiquitous miscreant Vitalli Sediuk, who tried to grab her rear end but was quickly deterred by her security team. And that probably had Kim and her sisters tightening ship when it came to their detail as they navigated the City of Light.
But Kim was alone indoors last night, in a supposedly safe space. A space that she was also Snapchatting from, because that is what she does.
She's already back in New York, where she reunited with husband Kanye West—who left the stage mid-song last night after being alerted to what happened. Moreover, a number of people, from her personal friends such as Chrissy Teigen to a wide range of celebs, including James Corden, Charlie Puth and Jamie Lee Curtis, to the more level-headed and empathetic souls on the Internet have tweeted and Instagrammed supportive comments her way, many of them in response to the mean-spirited comments that mocked her experience.
Kim has every right to go about her life and keep doing what she's been doing as if nothing happened. Perhaps she'll even find comfort in reaching out to her 48.3 million Twitter followers, 84.1 million Instagram followers and lord knows how many Snapchat followers, whether it's to reflect on her experience or not.
But if she chooses to take a step back, to retreat a bit from a spotlight that may as well be named after her, we'd understand that, too.
While Kim in no way brought this on herself, as some of the less savory souls on Twitter apparently took great glee in spewing out there within minutes of learning what happened, there's no denying that more eyes are on her because of her voluntary level of visibility.
In a world in which people are warned not to Facebook vacation pics while they're still on vacation, because then strangers know you're not at home, we've all been told about the dangers of social media. Some are more obvious than others, but many we don't give a second thought to because we've been online like this for going on half our lives (if not our entire lives).
We're also told to diversify our passwords and shore up our Cloud security and whatnot. And for all the tales of celebs having their Twitter or Instagram accounts or even their email accounts hacked, combined with the how-to guides all over the Internet, Kim's social media ship has been seemingly airtight since a 2011 hacking.
But sadly, while our minds have been increasingly occupied by internet security, there's still the regular kind to worry about, the kind that stands between being physically safe and potential disaster.
Surely Kim's day-to-day detail is going into DEFCON 3 mode and major changes are afoot to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. Physical safety is the clear and present priority right now.
We also can't blame Kim Kardashian if she wants to shut and bar the door into her life that she's so willingly kept open for so long. Even when public opinion seemed to turn against her (it never stayed turned for long) or she was mocked, hated on or otherwise crucified simply because she's famous, Kim never changed her social media M.O., any time she seemed to be beating a retreat instead coming back bolder than ever. But this time is different. Perhaps Kim just won't want to engage anymore, let alone be looked at and commented on by millions of strangers.
And yet we also won't be surprised if she doesn't go that route, or certainly not permanently anyway. Always proudly accessible, if she decides that she's come this far being an object of fascination for millions, it may not be being true to herself to stop now.
But whatever she chooses to do, whether she alters her lifestyle—including how much of it she shares and when—or not, it's up to her. Kim has made it her business knowing exactly what level of exposure is right for her and her family; and now, with their safety paramount in her mind, that's exactly the level she's going to choose going forward.