Marie Antoinette: Melania or Ivanka? Neither, says Slate’s Matthew Dessem: It’s Kim Kardashian. It’s a slick piece of understandably sharp mockery. As Dessem asks, “In the long term, has anyone ever been glad they lent their celebrity to Donald Trump?”
That’s a fair question, and I’ll answer it: Kim Kardashian is glad, because Alice Johnson now has a better chance of being pardoned.
Dessem doesn’t quite get the “optics”–and is there a more cold clinical hateful way to describe the care with which a human being presents herself in search of justice for another?–of Kim Kardashian asking Donald Trump to show mercy to Alice Johnson.
There’s a lot to be said for representation and empowerment stories, whether fantastic or realistic, but when someone has spent twenty years behind bars on a bullshit charge, denying those bars’ existence doesn’t get a body out of jail.
This is a very different kind of story, in a very long tradition of those on bottom appealing to those on top for mercy. It doesn’t cast Kim Kardashian in the leading role. She has a piece of paper in her mind. She’s going to see the warden, going to free her friend.
I don’t know what was on Kim Kardashian’s piece of paper. I don’t know if it was a bail receipt, a poll result, a Kanye tweet, a well-timed insult, a Tennessee bondsman’s guarantee, a letter of recommendation, a role for Melania on TV, a gratuitous link to Formation. I expect she said whatever she had to say, just like going there to ask was what she had to do.
If you can look down on her for that, then you’re a better man than I.