Kim Kardashian, the nation is in your debt
Families typically go into hock to throw a big wedding, but the Kardashians are not the typical family. By selling the media rights to daughter Kim's nuptials to pro basketball player Kris Humphries, the Kardashian empire generated a reported $18 million in fees.
So when news broke Monday that Kim had filed for divorce, my first thought was she's an even better businesswoman than previously believed. (My second thought was that the marriage didn't last as long as the NBA lockout. Draw your own conclusions from that factoid.) Not only does the divorce spark interest in her forthcoming reality TV show "Kourtney and Kim Take New York," but it opens up a world of future reality-TV constructs built around the soon-to-be-divorcée. I mean, which would you rather watch a married Kim at home with a second-tier NBA player, or a single, globetrotting Kim searching for Mr. Righter?
Oh, wait -- neither of those sound like must-see TV. But you get my point.
Like it or not, the Kardashian reality-TV gravy train creates jobs and opens checkbooks. Although some of those jobs (e.g., paparazzi, tabloid writers and editors) would exist regardless, the divorce adds drama to the Kim Kardashian storyline. Maybe it was a predictable development, but hey, at least the timing was a surprise.
Above all, the 31-year-old Kardashian is now free to set the wheels in motion for her next walk down the aisle. Remember, that $18-million payday was on her first try. (That is, her first try as a celebrity. She was married once before, from 2000 to 2004.)
OK, so here's where I apologize for being insensitive to Humphries and Kardashian during what is, no doubt, a very tough time. And no, I don't mean to suggest that she filed for divorce because she cares less about love than money. (She has less to worry about on that front than some others in her tax bracket; her premarital fortune is safeguarded by a prenuptual agreement, and her petition asks the court to treat all of her earnings during their time together as hers and hers alone.)
I'm just saying that this sad day for Kim Kardashian has a potential upside for the struggling U.S. economy, which needs all the help it can get. So Kim, you have our sympathy, and our thanks.
[For the record, 2:47 p.m. Oct. 31: The original version of this post said that Kardashian was 30 years old; she turned 31 earlier this month.]
-- Jon Healey
Photo: Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian in happier times, just before their Aug. 20 wedding. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press