Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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May 31, 2014

The Kardashian industry

The rapper Kanye West and reality star Kim Kardashian didn’t get married over the weekend in Florence, Italy, so much as complete a celebrity merger. As West reportedly gushed in his remarks on the blessed occasion, evidently overcome with emotion, “The Kardashians are an industry!”

It was like he was marrying General Electric. He was right, of course, and one of the industry’s top products is weddings. There is an impeccable commercial logic to the proposition that it is better to sell two weddings than to sell one.

The last time Kim Kardashian looked stunning in a wedding gown (by Vera Wang), passionately kissed her dapper new hubby (Kris Humphries, a basketball player) and cut into a wedding cake taller than the average person (by Hansen Cakes), she made $15 million.

She released a “wedding fragrance” called, with scant regard for truth in advertising, “Kim Kardashian Love,” and got a two-part special on E! out of the wedding planning and ceremony. Her divorce filing 72 days later wasn’t quite as marketable, but every industry has its core competency, and the Kardashians still haven’t figured out how to make as much out of the end of marriages as out of their storybook beginnings.

For all that the details of the latest Kardashian wedding differ (gown by Givenchy, Kanye West as dapper new hubby, 7-foot-tall cake by Galateo Ricevimenti), the bottom line is the same: Some reports say they will make more than $20 million off it. If Elizabeth Taylor had had a similar knack for martial monetization, she might have died a billionaire.

The rehearsal dinner was at Versailles, and the wedding ceremony at Forte di Belvedere in Florence -- appropriately enough, since the Kardashians are part of a degenerate celebrity aristocracy that lacks for nothing except class, grace and enduring accomplishment.

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