Kim Kardashian shared on Tuesday that for her 40th birthday a few days ago, she rented a private island and flew in her closest friends and family to celebrate with her there. She also posted some glamour shots of herself and her guests looking like they were all having a grand old time. People on Twitter are mad about this because they think it was insensitive for (the normally spartan and frugal) Kardashian to brag about her trip in the middle of a pandemic that has ended and irreparably harmed so many lives—not to mention canceled quite a few birthday parties.
But these critics must have misunderstood Kardashian’s words. Didn’t they see that she started out by saying how “humbled” she felt about the trip? If you use any form of the word humble, nothing else you say matters. You’re in your own little humble bubble, which in this case was nested inside Kim’s kwarantine bubble. And Kim actually said she was humble twice—she was also “humbly reminded of how privileged” she is—so she should really be double-protected here.
Besides, Kim was turning 40, which is an age many people have never turned, especially while being so humble. Kardashian had the original idea to invite “some of the people who have helped shaped me into the woman I am today,” i.e., her friends and family. Most people do not think to do this. Perhaps because they are not humble enough?
In a Twitter thread, Kardashian went on to describe, vaguely, the logistics of this birthday trip: “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.” Oh, to travel to a private island to pretend things are normal for a brief moment in time! But this explanation left several questions unanswered. If Kim asked everyone to quarantine and go through “health screens,” how did she surprise them? Was a doctor supervising all of this? How much did he or she get paid? There’s at least one person in the background of the photos Kim posted who looks like he’s employed by whatever resort or living situation everyone is in—what kind of protection and testing did he get?
In truth, I do see how someone might misconstrue this breach of quarantine as yet another celebrity demonstrating how comically tone-deaf they are in the pandemic. But then the Kardashians did not create a world where money and fame grants them the ability to plan such a humble private-island getaway. What they’re doing isn’t so different from what the NBA did with its bubble. It’s true that it’s unconscionable that professional athletes have access to more resources and testing than many Americans. It’s just as unconscionable that Kardashian pulled this shit. But the failure here is with the federal government, not the athletes or the soon-to-be former reality TV heroines. The NBA bubble gave basketball fans something to watch, and in her way, Kim has provided enough fodder to get us through another day. It’s a humble job, but someone’s gotta do it.