The media frenzy surrounding the Kardashians' visit to Australia reminds me of the frenzy that surrounds most Apple product launches. Right down to folks queuing up overnight in the rain. But the coverage isn't equal, and I think the tech fans are ultimately better off.
Warning: Rant ahead.
"Oh, they're queuing up to see her outside David Jones!"
That was the first thing I heard when hitting the office this morning, emanating from the lovely ladies of Sugar — who, to be fair, have jobs that revolve around this kind of thing, especially at PopSugar.
This thing happens to be the current Australian media tour of Kim and Khloe Kardashian, especially in the light of Kim's imminent divorce. I should point out straight away that no words exist to describe how little I care about the Kardashians in any respect whatsoever. Perhaps that's a lie; I suspect in 20 years they'll make a great media study in the science of being famous for... being famous?
Beyond that, I'd rather watch mould congeal on an N-Gage than watch anything Kardashian. Just making my position clear.
But the line about people queuing up to see Kim and Khloe overnight got my attention, and for one reason alone. Not to do with the Kardashians, but to do with what's seen as "socially acceptable". The Kardashians, apparently, are it. Technology, in the main, isn't. I'll happily describe myself as a gadget geek to anybody who'll care to listen, but it's still not a generally mainstream thing that's "cool" to admit per se. Personally, that doesn't fuss me too much — I decided years ago that (to borrow a line from Popeye) I am what I am, and that's fine.
At the same time, though, the wider media loves to run stories about people lining up for the latest shiny gadget with a sneer in the coverage, whether they're queuing for iPhones or Samsung Galaxy S IIs or GTA V. But for all the regular people fawning over the latest shameless media junkie, there's an even greater amount of celebrity fawning, if this morning's Sunrise interview is anything to go by. No, I didn't watch it by choice; it needed to be on for PopSugar coverage, so it was within earshot.
At least at the end of queuing up for an iPhone, you get... an iPhone. At the end of queuing up outside David Jones, you get a fleeting glimpse of the jacket that Kim's wearing, plus pneumonia. I know which I'd rather have. The next time anyone even tries to have a go at me for having a love of gadgets, I'm going to point out that mainstream culture is a whole lot more inane.
Alex Kidman is Gizmodo Australia's Editor, and is happy to point out that he's been married for more than a decade.