"Say...they told me you were stupid. You don't sound stupid to me." -Mr. Esmond
"I can be smart when I want to." -Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
"Whether it's Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated."
Hamm went on:
"Being a f**king idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you're rewarded significantly. Incuriousness has become cool ... It's celebrated. It doesn't make sense to me."
Kardashian took to Twitter to respond to Hamm's remarks:
I just heard about the comment Jon Hamm made about me in an interview. I respect Jon and I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that not everyone takes the same path in life. We're all working hard and we all have to respect one another. Calling someone who runs their own businesses, is a part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, "stupid," is in my opinion careless.
Hamm's remarks don't seem very careless -- they actually seem pretty thoughtful -- and he didn't say Kardashian isn't successful. Her $35 million net worth and household name status would make that a very difficult claim to defend.
The problem with Hamm's comments is that the examples he provides of so-called stupidity are both women. For one thing, there are plenty of men who would fit his definition of stupid -- see The Situation or "The Flavor of Love's" Flavor Flav. Hamm also named two women extremely shrewd at building their own brands, and as such descendants of a long line of women in entertainment who have made a mint on the ditziness they projected to the world.
The success of the film "My Week with Marilyn" and the TV show "Smash" prove that we're still fascinated by Marilyn Monroe's public persona, a mix of sexuality and immaturity that earned her the adoration of men and the scorn of feminists. Like Jean Harlow before her and Jayne Mansfield after, audiences are still clamoring for a slightly vapid-sounding "blonde bombshell" (though today, I'd argue the hair color and gender are negotiable). Hilton and Kardashian are very aware of the image they present to fans. They're wise to the exact "stupidity" Hamm criticizes, and the public's appetite for it, and milking both for all they're worth.
Follow Jessica Pearce Rotondi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessicarotondi