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$10 Million Buys What?

Music Suggestion: Imagine, John Lennon Drink Suggestion: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale


It has been a tough autumn for Kim Kardashian. First she was disparaged in this widely read blog (see Of Wealth and Worth) and now news of her divorce after just 10 weeks of marriage.  My heart goes to out to Kim. I cannot imagine suffering through this type of personal anguish in the public glare, and after a high-profile wedding that was rivaled in glamour and celebrity only by the royal to-do in April. How embarrassing.

The price tag of her big day again (divorce #1 in 2004) was estimated at $10 million. Even for a Kardashian – safely in the 1% club – that must illicit a wince. To be fair she did get some bang for her buck, including 3 Vera Wang wedding dresses (yes, she needed 3) that are now safely boxed away for eternity and Wolfgang Puck manning the kitchen for her 440 guests. But $10 million? With that check she could have bought this large renovated manor and its 54 hectares (133 acres) of prime land in the Cote d’Azur or Picasso’s “The Rescue.” Heck, for the $2 million Kris Humphries dropped on her engagement ring he could at this moment be tinkling the ivories of John Lennon’s piano; the one on which he composed “Imagine.” I wonder how Mr. Humphries feels about that trade-off. 72 days? I hope it was good.

The timing of the Kim’s grandiose display of wealth and entitlement in light of current world turmoil is awkward. It’s her money of course, but with rubber bullets flying in Oakland and street fires in Rome it doesn’t take an oracle to sense a dark shift in the public mood. The 99% crowd seems to be losing its awe of the affluent. And being an entertainer (let’s agree to be generous) she must pander to this public to stay relevant and loved. It is a lesson Marie Antoinette came late to appreciate. At 31 Kim is Marie’s junior by 7 years and has time to mature. I for one am rooting for her.


As you can likely tell, Kim and this wedding fiasco has been on my mind lately. It’s dinged her repute with accusations of profiteering from the gift pile and worse, orchestrating the whole thing for reality show ratings. Imagine. I see two problems here: (1) her happiness after this heart-wrenching breakup and (2) her reputation, and I may have a single solution that resolves both: a USO tour to Afghanistan. If she can afford Vera Wang gowns for herself (3, remember?) and her bridesmaids, and for her mother, surely a first class ticket to Kabul should be no problem. The family did rake in a reported $65 million last year. Khloé and Kourtney could join as well, perhaps even her gal-pal Paris Hilton. The whole shebang would make for a great episode or two of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. And perhaps most importantly, it could help move Kim to a more favorable quadrant of my Wealth v Worth diagram, shown in the fore-mentioned Postcard blog.

The tour could do wonders to dismiss the taint of narcissism trailing Kim’s over-the-top wedding setting, effectively nipping any suspicions of self-serving nuptial duplicity in the bud. There are few better ways of showing America one’s selfless side than supporting the troops. She would be in great company. Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock, 50 Cent, Robin Williams, and of course the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders have made USO treks to the region in the past few years, along with many other entertainers.

Imagine the personal positive uplift that would result from giving the troops some good ol’ American entertainment from home. The happiness gained from a gift is enjoyed most profoundly by the giver, this we know to be true. Kim has just experienced a crushing blow. Surely this would be a great start to again finding joy in her life.

Kim, if you’re reading this blog, Wayne Newton runs the USO’s talent recruiting effort – the long time role of Bob Hope – and can be contacted at http://www.uso.org/how-to-tour.aspx. Our troops need you and you need our troops right about now! Consider it.


Oh, one more thing. Did you know that $10 million can pay for:

  1. 1 million insecticide-treated bed nets for Africa, where malaria is killing a child every 45 seconds.

  2. “Eco-filter” water systems for 220 thousand homes in Guatemala, where the simple problem of contaminated water is the leading cause of death amongst children.

  3. 10 million chlorine tablets for treating drinking water in Haiti, where the world’s largest cholera epidemic is in full bloom and has infected 455 thousand people (5% of the population). It could also build 17 thousand permanent “happy homes” for Haitians remaining without shelter, now 22 months after the 2010 earthquake.

  4. School lunches for the entire year for almost all of the orphans in Zambia who have lost parents to HIV. They represent over half of the 1.2 million orphans now in the country, and most are missing an education because of the cost of the lunch program.

  5. A year’s supply of medication for 5,000 sufferers of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in the US. Without treatment, AMD can progress rapidly and cause irreversible loss of vision within weeks. Our own epidemic sadly seems to be Americans without health insurance.

Just imagine.

For more information on the charitable opportunities listed above, see GreaterGood.org, NothingButNets.net, va.gov, and the PanFoundation.org.

Bill Magill Aix-en-Provence

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