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  • Writer's pictureTerence Culleton


Not only was April Poetry Month, but May is open season on voles, so the other day I set about cleaning my high-powered rifles, inventorying ordnance, oiling up my howitzers, de-bugging that old Kalashnikov I got for Christmas last year, whetting my de-boning knives, and testing out—one by one—those trusty zirconium mallots I’ve had since the salad days when a little boy’s life absolutely teemed with stink bugs to smash. While engaged in all this lusty pre-campaign prep work I was listening, as always, to NPR, and wouldn’t you know it but, just as I entered into some especially tricky calibrations on the release mechanism of my Korean War era “trigger spring” bazooka, what did I hear coming through my tinny little radio-alarm speaker but my favorite interviewer, Johanna Frick Von Clausen-Hausen, palavering in a “deep dive” with my favorite culture-critic, the pseudonymous Snow Sarcophagus.

Their chat, I was delighted to understand, was all about the vital importance of affording oneself a little down time now and then in the form of a smoothy-filled binge day with the Kardashians. Snow’s drift had all to do with the general sense “out there,” as she put it, that against the backdrop of Global Warming, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the rise of right wing racism and authoritarian ideologies in Europe and the U.S., Kim Kardashian’s concern over, say, a lost earring, might be considered as betraying a stupefying superficiality on her part—Kim’s, not Snow’s—not to mention, perhaps, a deep-seated narcissism such as would lend itself to being summarily condemned by people of good faith and sure ethical discernment.

To be fair, it was Johanna Frick Von Clausen-Hausen, being the dutiful interrogator that she is, who brought up this cavil, upon which Snow, all in a squall, fired back that earrings were very important, especially to women, and that taking Kim K. to task for feeling the loss of one (which is really, she pointed out, the loss of both) seriously enough to spend her whole day bewailing her putatively miserable life is akin to and, in fact, essentially the same as something she called, being a critic and all, “phallic essentialism.” Johanna, of course, agreed, although the term she preferred was “epistemological hegemony”—being a sort of a critic herself, you know? Anyway, after clarifying and calibrating their terminology, they riffed together briefly upon how much we all really need to take a little “me time” now and then to invest ourselves in the tempestuous—if, by some lights, uneventful—lives of reality show narcissists while slurping “bliss drinks” concocted of raw yogurt and various species of flesh-fruit and wilderberry mash.

And you know what? I agree with them. Why is everybody always beating up on Kim Kardashian? I’ll tell you why. It’s because they’re jealous of her for all the money she’s made just being herself, especially since just being herself has required of her hardly any moral effort.

So I wrote a limerick to celebrate the triumphal herself-ness of Kim Kardashian.

Then I went out and had a three-day battle royale with those sniveling voles.

Here’s my . . .


I think it rather endearing Kim K. finds her disappeared earring —in light of Ukraine, Covid, acid rain— a loss existentially searing.

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