No, Kim Kardashian's butt did not break the Internet

kardashian-ass-paper-cover.jpgIn fact, Kim Kardashian's naked ass on the cover of Paper Magazine (and naked nipples and pubic area inside the magazine and online) did not come anywhere close to breaking anything. But you probably saw web headlines in the past 48 hours saying that her nudity did, in fact, break the Internet. Break the Internet is a clever tag for the magazine to market its biggest draw ever — completely understandable — but it was shameless trickery for the uncreative online writers who gushed with the headline on their reportage as if it were true. Yes, Kardashian's butt did inspire media chatter and web clicks galore, and analysis of the ass as the trendy American fetish this week. But that's about it. Next.

Meanwhile, Paper's actual interview with Kardashian was conducted (at the Polo Lounge) by Amanda Fortini, the freelance writer who was based in Los Angeles for several years before decamping to Montana with now-husband Walter Kirn. From the piece:

If you know nothing else about Kim Kardashian, you know that she is very, very famous….Unlike most people, she looks exactly the same in person as she does in photographs or on television, with one exception: she is smaller than she appears in images, with tiny, almost doll-like ears and feet and hands. Everything else about her seems amplified, tumescent. Her black hair is thicker than any you have ever seen, her lips fuller, her giant Bambi-eyes larger, their whites whiter, and the lashes that frame them longer. If some of this is the result of artificial enhancement -- does anyone else have eyelashes that resemble miniature feather dusters? -- none of it seems obviously ersatz. But that's not to say it looks real, either. She is like a beautiful anime character come to life….

The rap on Kim Kardashian is that she has done nothing to merit her fame. But the longer I steep myself in the ambience of her pleasantly languid manner and hologram-perfect looks, the more facile this charge begins to seem. Of course, she has cannily leveraged that fame to build, with her sisters, a beauty-industrial complex, which includes a clothing line, a makeup line, a line of tanning products and seven perfumes. (A collection of hair care implements and styling products will debut in the spring.) Her mobile app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, in which players climb their way to A-List status under Kardashian's tutelage, has earned over $43 million since its debut in June.

Yet her perceived lack of accomplishment is also, perhaps, an accomplishment in itself.

The Daily Beast put up perhaps the most appropriate response to such a big tabloid-and reality-TV celebrity going almost fully naked front and rear. That Time Kim Kardashian Freaked Out About Being Captured Nude on a Magazine Cover remembers when, way back in 2010, Kardashian objected strenuously to appearing topless in W magazine even though she sat for the photos. "Oh my God, I’m more naked than I was in Playboy!,” she reportedly sobbed to her sister Kardashians. "I’m never taking my clothes off again, even if it’s for Vogue.” The Daily Beast runs the piece under the tag hypocrisy.

Many more Kim photos and much bigger at Papermag.com. The photos are by Jean-Paul Goude.

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