Such A Kourtney

No blog with this header would be complete without a semi-regular Kardashian post! With the new season of the Kourtney and *Sister* Take The *Destination* series, in this case Kourtney and Khloé take the Hamptons currently airing, what better time is there for a new post?!

As always with my Kardashi-posts, I feel that it is important for me to state that I genuinely enjoy the Kardashian reality series. I’m largely impressed that they have managed to be this successful for this long, and find their shows mostly entertaining, with the ‘Takes..’ shows generally being better than the KUWTK series as it has less of Kris Jenner. Kourtney is my favourite as our personalities are quite similar, and you can see if you are a Kourtney too in this fun little Buzzfeed article (n.b. I feel way worse about recommending a Buzzfeed article than about writing about the Kardashians in any serious sense).

This time Kourtney, Scott and family take Khloé with them to the Hamptons for some reason. To get away from it all. Or for money. Who knows?!

Khloé has started dating French Montana which may or may not be for money. French Montana seems “fun” if not mildly vapid and annoying. Has Khloé moved on too fast? How will French feel about her saying that she wishes she was still married to Lamar? Khloé used to be the most popular Kardashian, but I’m not too sure if this would still be the case as over the years she’s become more annoying than sassy, which is a shame. Also, as with most of the Kardashians, a lot of things give her “serious anxiety.”

Kourtney and Scott are having problems again! Kourtney is pregnant with third child and Scott likes drinking. Scott takes sleeping pills and drinks and ends up in hospital then, later, rehab. I find the strangest of the Kardashian relationships is Scott and Khloés. As an only child I don’t really properly understand sibling relationships, but I would never get that close with my sister’s long-term boyfriend. And Khloé, you definitely took the wrong side.

Kourtney, though my favourite, has definitely taken a more dour turn this season. It’s not fun to be pregnant, I would expect, and it’s not fun to have a baby daddy with a drinking problem, but while I understand her attitude, for most I expect it would seem like she’s being a moody old bitch. Are they breaking up? Does she care? Who knows!

As with any reality show, authenticity is a real problem. This was filmed several months ago, so we know that Kourtney and Scott stay together, that Khloé and French break up then get back together, and that they’re altogether a well off family. Which reminds me of my favourite part of this season so far: Scott saying that rehab was too expensive having just bought a boat.

The relationships in the show really drive it, as on the surface they are not a very relatable family at all. I do not know what I would do if I was that rich or my life was so on show all the time. The beats are all there, but it’s hard to know how real it all is. I’m sure that Scott does have a drinking problem and Kourtney finds it hard to deal with, but just how real is it? They are being filmed the whole time and even after seven years they probably don’t give it all up for the camera. The storylines from episode to episode vary in quality (this is “reality” after all) and the episode where Khloé and Scott play tennis and Kourtney later locked them out of the house was clearly production-led and that’s disappointing. I am fully aware that this is not “good” television, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing when it becomes straight up lazy television.

As with the most recent season of KUWTK, the cosmetic work that Khloé, Kim and Kylie have had is very distracting and sad. Kourtney has had a boob job but I’m not sure if/what else she has had; she definitely looks more natural than the others (except Kendall who is the only one that Kourtney likes apparently). They are all attractive women and lip fillers make people look strange. I work in aesthetic medicine and of all the things, lip and facial fillers are the ones that jar with me the most as it makes people look not right. It’s hard to take people seriously who have had so much work done, just as I am sure it is hard to take me seriously for having written this article.

This is just for Kardashi-fans, those who like reality TV, or those who really like to watch a dysfunctional relationship and feel sorry for the poor, sweet children.

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An Honest Liar

I was talking to my friend who is a member of the magic circle yesterday about how I watched a documentary about The Amazing Randi and he surmised that I must have too much free time on my hands. This is true, but I didn’t watch this documentary because of this but rather because it was a Storyville pick, and Storyville sure damn well know how to curate good documentary. An Honest Liar, or Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds, follows the life and career of The Amazing Randi, a magician and debunker/truth teller.

I quite like magic. When I was young I watched The Masked Magician, and I even went to see David Blaine when he was in a box in London (not worth the journey). I had never heard of The Amazing Randi, but from the sounds of it he was quite a big deal in the magic world.

In short, the film follows his early career as an escape artist/magician/illusionist and then looks at his ‘debunking’ of religious healers, notably Peter Popoff, psychics, and University investigations into psychic powers. It then followed his relationship with his long-term partner.

People like honesty. People like to be impressed.

The reason that people go to watch magic shows is for the latter reason. Most are aware that magic is just trickery and that no real supernatural forces are being applied, but some people still choose to believe that this is the case anyway. Randi was an exceptional magician and escape artist, and without this type of talent the latter part of the film probably would have never been able to occur. Randi made a living for the first part of his life by impressing people with magic, and in the second part by being honest with people, exposing the tricksters.

None of this is real.

What is real?

Randi criticized and eventually exposed a number of psychics and faith healers but still supporters of these people chastised Randi and called him a liar. Belief is a crazy thing, and it’s mildly shocking that even when people are presented with an empirical truth they continue to believe otherwise. Some people use their ability for trickery for bad. As Randi pointed out, when it comes to faith healing you are putting people in a dangerous position as they may decide to forego their prescribed medication or not wear glasses or walk without a stick, thus putting them at risk.

Popoff was exposed as not actually having any psychic powers or being spoken to by God, instead being fed information by his wife. Still, Popoff continued to have a successful career after he was exposed, give or take a bankruptcy or two, because people wanted to believe. The same goes with Uri Geller. Randi was able to perform all of Geller’s tricks and even able to fool scientists that tested Geller by having two magicians pretend to be psychics and pass the psychic test.

The film points out over and over again that Randi was doing these things for good. Of course he was, he was trying to stop people from getting fooled. In the section with Project Alpha, the magicians posing as psychics in a university experiment, it really went to show how far people were willing to go to ‘prove’ that psychics exist. It was surprising that the scientists were willing to bend the rules in order to show that their hypotheses were correct, and the two magicians described how bad they felt about fooling these people as the time went on even if it was for the greater good. People that are successful at fooling people, whether this be by magic, psychic powers, faith healing powers, or whatever, will always be able to make a living out of it once they have reached a level of success as, frankly, people want to believe what they want to believe.

Randi ended his magic career in his 50s after he nearly died doing an escape from a sealed container filled with water. That’s just a fun fact for your enjoyment.

The other part of the documentary follows Randi’s personal life, mostly his relationship with José Alvarez. Randi came out as gay aged 81 having been in a relationship with José for 25 years. Honesty. That’s important. But then, dun dun duuun, Alvarez is arrested for identity theft. His real name is Deyvi Peña who supposedly stole José Alvarez’s identity after his student visa ran out as returning to Venezuela he would be in danger of being attacked for being a homosexual. Peña is arrested during filming, which is a happy coincidence really for the filmmakers. They then interview Randi who admits, after some coercing and promising that this footage wouldn’t be shown (titles at the end say that Randi later agreed for the showing of all interview footage) that he knew that Peña had stolen Alvarez’s identity but was willing to protect him as he would have not been well off if he was deported. In the end Peña has to serve a short jail term and do some community service. No biggy. But the real question here is: is Randi the one that was being fooled all along?!?!

7/10 – solid documentary, interesting subject. The ending dragged on a bit.