Piers Morgan, relevant cultural commentator and angry man, drew up a 10-point 'tribute' last week to the Kardashians to mark the news that their reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK), is coming to an end after 14 iconic years.
Indeed his listicle also marked the death of the listicle (there's something uniquely depressing about shouty gammon-types mirthlessly numbering their grievances), so it seems that millennial cultural monuments are dropping like flies.
Like Piers, I was shaken to my core by the news. I've never watched KUWTK, it's true, but I'm not sure that I want to live in a world without it. His first two 'terrible life lessons' from the girls were: "How to exploit a sex tape to turn you into a billionaire celebrity" and "How to make $20m out of a 72-day marriage" - sentences which were enough in themselves to send Piers off the deep end.
But read it again. Kim Kardashian is now a billionaire. After making a video of herself having sex, something thousands of people are probably doing right now and for free. Kim Kardashian made $20m out of a two-month marriage. Kim Kardashian is Rumpelstiltskin - and if this were a life lesson she could actually teach, I would be first to enrol.
I don't know what a post-KUWTK society looks like. Perhaps my trepidation is Stockholm Syndrome, but it's possible that KUWTK is a supporting wall of celebrity culture. Cast your mind back to 2007. We didn't know it but we were on a cultural precipice: the first iPhone had just been launched; Britney Spears had shaved her head; the last Harry Potter book was published and everyone thought JK Rowling was a very nice lady; the Spice Girls did a reunion tour and Victoria Beckham was in it; Brian McFadden had a No 1 hit. And an iconic and era-defining show that would change Irish lives forever was launched: Xposé. Also KUWTK.
In that time the world has changed, and the Kardashians have spearheaded most of it. They've not just taught us how to monetise the mundane, but how to contour, how to take a selfie, why to take a selfie; they've given us ath-leisure and matching family outfits. What else is 2020 but this? They've given us sponcon. They've defined the meaning of TMI for the internet generation, and birthed the momager, which will be around long after all our current reality shows have shrivelled and died.
They have welcomed 10 new babies and various spouses and partners. I suppose I thought it was too big to fail; that just as we met Kylie as a child and watched her grow up and have a child of her own, that we would see her children's children on KUWTK.
But the show began to eat itself: it did too good a job of making the media talk about it. I've never watched KUWTK because all the salient points are delivered in an easily digestible way ahead of broadcast by internet news outlets.
KUWTK was the hot fire in the engine room powering the whole machine - it was a first layer of content-creation, the quiet backdrop to the sisters' own social media pages and various businesses that gradually became the public face of The Kardashians.
It's true - no one watches it; we don't need to. The Kardashians don't need to be on our TVs because they are in our phones, on our faces, cinching in our waists and plumping our lips and squatting comfortably in our collective brain. Piers's tribute was early; he himself never surpassed being ignorant on television for a living. As Seamus Heaney would categorically not have said about this particular situation, Kris is letting the scaffold fall, confident they have built their wall.
Last week, in 'And how much did you spend to find that out?', researchers in Maynooth discovered that millennials are feeling significantly more burned out than other generations during the pandemic. According to statistics, those of us between the ages of 24 and 40 have been feeling 'lower feels of vitality' and 'lower levels of well-being' than our zoomer and boomer compatriots this global pandemic.
Of course, if they had asked about our vitality and well-being before the pandemic, they would have found we were the worst anyway - millennials are absolutely miserable. For a long time I thought that we could be redeemed, but now with the pandemic it's clear we are lost.
For Gen Z have swept in with the courage of their convictions, lifelong learning about mental health and political awareness and are just doing much better. They're on a good trajectory to do all the world-changing things that millennials promised we would get to, once we finished knitting our #FEMINIST pink pussyhats.
At this stage, having graduated into a recession and being hit with another just as we're thinking about settling down, millennials have to accept that we've been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that quite possibly we are actually The Worst - just like everyone says. And the pandemic has been uniquely stressful for us, with those wild, partying zoomers below us and stubborn golfers with George Foremans above us (all we want is the 300-person, three-day wedding of our dreams that golf-dad has already paid the deposit for). We spent much of March and all of April fielding ever wilder boomer rumours in WhatsApp forwards, and begging our parents to cop on and stay in.
Oh to be a boomer this pandemic: the vitality! The well-being! The persuasive conspiracy theories! The property booms of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s! The blithe embracing of their boomer friends!
Researchers at Maynooth were surprised at the findings as they had identified millennials as being extremely "technologically savvy". It's unclear what relationship this has to our vitality as any millennial can testify that 30 minutes of scrolling TikTok is more exhausting, draining and demoralising than skipping to the last part of Couch-to-5k because "I'm actually quite fit".
Obviously we're not using our technological savvy to connect with loved ones, deepen relationships and alleviate the unbearable lightness of being like our innocent boomer cousins.
Millennial tech savvy is finding your new boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's Finsta; it's immersing yourself in the comments section of your favourite Love Island season three contestants and falling down a six-hour rabbit hole of influencer drama.
It's not speaking to your family and friends for days while you feverishly research a cold-case you saw on a Netflix documentary; it's making memes for strangers about your terrible mental health; it's listening to Covid podcasts at 1.5 speed to fit as much fear and horror as we can into one day.
Honestly, Maynooth, it's so much bleaker than you know.