Late one night, a little girl is awakened by a voice beckoning to her from inside the television. It is a voice that only she can hear.
Curious, the girl tiptoes down the stairs and into the living room.
“Five…yes…yes…I don’t know,” the girl answers whomever or whatever interrogates her from the other side of the static-speckled screen.
The following night, the little girl awakens again, only this time the voice is coming from her parents’ bedroom.
The girl is kneeling before the television at the foot of her parents’ bed when suddenly it appears: a skeletal hand that reaches for her through the screen before evaporating into a stream of silver vapor. The vapor trails through the air and disappears into the wall, generating an earthquake that wakes the girl’s family.
“They’re here,” the little girl announces.
Lately I’ve had trouble sleeping. The moment my head hits the pillow, my mind begins to race. I get hot and clammy, and unreasonably irritated by the oscillating fan’s whirring and my husband’s rhythmic breathing. Sometimes counting backwards from a thousand works, or imagining myself on a secluded beach, but most of the time I end up on the couch in the living room, which is where I was a couple of weeks ago when a photograph of Kim Kardashian in the Oval Office appeared on my 65-inch flatscreen.
In the photograph, a very serious-looking Kardashian, channeling Morticia Adams in all black, stands to the right of an almost human-looking Donald Trump, who sits with his hands folded on his desk and smiles. Kardashian was meeting with Trump to bend his ear about granting clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, an African-American woman serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense.
“Smart move,” I said to the television about the reality star. (Kim, not Donald.) Only four weeks earlier, Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, had opined to a TMZ newsroom that African Americans had chosen to be enslaved for 400 years.
West raps about Kardashian’s reaction to his outrageous comments on his latest album, Ye:
Wife called me screaming saying we’re about to lose it all I had to calm her down ’cause she couldn’t breathe / I told her she could leave me now but she wouldn’t leave / This is what they mean for better or for worse, huh?
Last summer, Kardashian told Janet Mock for Interview Magazine that she is the one her siblings always call upon to handle damage control whenever a new scandal about her family arises in the press.
“If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now, or if this doesn’t work out one day, I could so be a publicist,” Kardashian said.
Mock laughed. “You’re basically your family’s Olivia Pope,” she joked, referring to the television show, Scandal, about a ‘crisis manager’ who reps shady politicos.
“That’s the perfect description!” said Kardashian.
On June 6, one week after the photo in the Oval Office was taken, Alice Marie Johnson was free.
“I want to tell Kim, my angel, that you never gave up on me,” Johnson cried to the throng of cameras that greeted her the moment she was released from prison. About Trump, she said, “It means that someone finally saw me, someone finally heard me, someone had mercy on me — and that was President Trump.”
Kanye West’s comments about slavery, as well his support of Trump, a leading advocate of the “birther” conspiracy during the Obama presidency who just last year called an army of white supremacists “very fine people,” did not deter Americans from buying his music.
Ye is West’s eighth album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Fellow citizens, reality television stars are now running the planet.
Or, in other words: They’re here.