In her newsletter on Thursday, free speech martyr and thought leader Bari Weiss published an interview with Kim Kardashian, which, however you feel about the ex-New York Times writer, is a big get. Kardashian’s Substack debut could say something about the degree to which the startup has entered establishment media; it could also concern the fact that Weiss and Kardashian have at least one mutual friend who, as Kardashian notes, invited them to “several dinners together.”
The subject came up when Weiss — who left the Times over its perceived lack of “intellectual curiosity” and “risk-taking” — waded into that risky, untrod topic: cancel culture. Specifically, she asked about the backlash over Kardashian’s shapewear company, SKIMS, which the influencer had initially named “Kimono.” The branding had been an “innocent name the team came up with,” Kardashian said, but a “letter from the Japanese officials,” made her take it seriously.
Still, if I worried about every last thing that someone said and I had to try to change it, then I would never be me. Anyone wouldn’t be them! That’s why I think cancel culture is the most ridiculous thing, because I really do believe—and you and I have been at several dinners together where people are discussing their thoughts on it—in rehabilitation and freedom of speech. I’ve never really been into cancel culture (emphasis ours).
Interesting. Who could be the Bari-Kim friend/s? My boss thinks it’s O.J. Simpson. She has firing power, so unless anyone emails email@example.com otherwise, I’ll go with that. But in the interest of open-mindedness, some guesses based on other details in the interview:
Kardashian’s interest in law came from enjoying the true crime genre: “I was always that girl who was really interested in staying home and watching true crime shows and listening to true crime podcasts.” Later, asked about her favorite reality shows, Kardashian cites Hoarders, but also Dateline.
Here’s a question Weiss asked:
You have 269 million followers—one of the biggest Instagram accounts in the world. Bo Burnham once sang about his torturous relationship with his audience: “A part of me loves you. Part of me hates you. Part of me needs you. Part of me fears you.” How do you feel about your audience?
“That’s such a good quote,” Kardasian replied. Maybe Kim and Bari and Bo spent some time inside, bonding over their shared love of musical comedy.
The source of Kardashian’s power, she told Weiss, was not her beauty, but her family. “I feel like my family was the power and no one could fuck with us,” she said. “It was always us together, no matter what it was. It was never using our beauty to get here or to get this or that, it was more like ‘We’re a family, and that’s how we’re going to get there.’” In this case, it could also be how they got to several dinners together to talk about cancel culture.
SARAH JESSICA PARKER
Weiss asked: “Who’s the nicest celebrity?” Kardashian answered: “Sarah Jessica Parker is the nicest celebrity on the planet.” Kim Cattrall probably disagrees, but perhaps SJP is nice enough to have Bari Weiss and Kim Kardashian over for “several dinners” to talk about cancel culture. Though it might be a spirited debate: And Just Like That’s… “w-w-woke moment” segments might not be received so well by Weiss’s crowd.
She may only be eight years old, but she is already holding court on TikTok and evidently has a commanding presence. Asked who intimidates her, Kardashian offered: “I was going to say politicians, but they don’t. Maybe just my daughter, North.”
As the North answer suggests, being a “junior” doesn’t preclude you from hosting a meal and inviting two like minds to connect over cancel culture. Carl has a ready supply of charbroiled burgers, and he and Kim go way back. When Weiss asked about the strangest thing she’d promoted, the reality star said: “I think the irony of selling diet pills and cupcakes and promoting Carl’s Jr. and Sketchers to work out all at the same time was really wild.”
PETE DAVIDSON or GOD
Weiss: Who’s your favorite SNL cast member?
Kardashian: What a setup! Bari, you know.
Weiss: Do you believe in God?
Kardashian: Of course I believe in God.
NOT TAYLOR SWIFT
In the lightning round of the Q&A, Kim could name her favorite Kanye albums (Yeezus, MBDTF), but not a Taylor Swift song. “I really like a lot of her songs. They’re all super cute and catchy. I’d have to look in my phone to get a name.”
Kardashian doesn’t like them, specifically: “feminist” or “Democrat.” She prefers “fighting for what’s right” and conservative tax policy.
Weiss: Are you a feminist?
Kardashian: I don’t really like titles. I believe in fighting for women 100%, but I just also believe in fighting for what’s right.
Weiss: Speaking of titles, are you a Democrat?
Kardashian: I believe in the rights that the Democrats want, but I believe in the taxes that the Republicans want. I’m a mix of both.
Whoever it is, the two are evidently planning to dine together again. Best wishes to their friends.
Weiss: Will you ever run for public office?
Kardashian: As of right now, no. I understand the responsibility, and it’s an extremely hard job, and I don't know if I’d ever want that.
Weiss: If you do, can I apply to be your campaign manager?
Kardashian: Absolutely. I would love that.