Kim Kardashian shows once again that money can buy anything

Fresh off the back of her private island trip, Kim has sparked more controversy with her birthday, this time with a hologram of her late father.

by Douglas Greenwood
30 October 2020, 2:45pm

Screenshot via Twitter

If you had the opportunity to come face-to-face with a loved one who had died, would you? The idea of it is dizzying; like a strange occurrence provided only by fantasy or futuristic technology. That’s exactly what happened to Kim Kardashian West who, in honour of her 40th birthday, received a video message from her dad, Robert Kardashian, who died of cancer in 2003.

A gift to her from Kanye, the strange apparition -- which looked sort of like a mix of David Schwimmer playing her dad in American Crime Story, but in video game form -- danced to a song they both loved (“Who Put the Bomp” by Barry Mann), told his daughter that he watched over her, and how proud he was that Kim was training to become a lawyer, following in her father’s footsteps. The hologram also credited her with making the decision to marry the “most genius man in the whole world”, before it dissipated into fairy dust.

The expectations of how the super-rich spend their money are changing. While the celebrities of the early noughties were hellbent on encasing everything in gold, or sitting in private jets, it seems like the modern day version of this is achieving what may have once seemed impossible. Sports cars became space travel. Holidays in a pandemic become surprising your “closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time”, after “2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine.” Diamonds? Why not resurrect the dead? 

To those on the outside, looking in on this public display of extreme wealth through a lens of sentimentality is jarring. Is an expensive mirage of someone you love, speaking words they never spoke, any more moving than watching old VHS tapes and listening to saved voicemails? Maybe so, because it provides an answer -- albeit imagined -- to your own unanswered questions of what those you’ve lost think of your life now.

It’s common for people to live under the spectral guidance of dead relatives, making decisions based on how they may react, but we never get to hear their true feelings on our futures without them. What Kanye has given to Kim in this sense isn’t dangerous, nor is it misleading (surely all of the advice and love Robert shares with his daughter would be felt if he could actually communicate it), but it offers up the same question raised by similar holographic endeavours a la Tupac and Amy Winehouse: is it ever ethical to put words in the mouths of dead people, even if these holograms are lavishing praise upon “their” own children?

As ever, we’re all complicit in the Kardashian spectacle, the video having been viewed almost seven million times. Of course, this has always been Kim’s practise, as empress of the overshare. We, the public, both love and hate to dissect her every outrageously wealthy move. Perhaps a line has been crossed, but we suspect the artist of extravagance will live to exceed the private island birthday party and ghoulish hologram. Happy Halloween!

Kim Kardashian
kanye west