Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Daily Buzzkills: The death of karma (or, fortune favors Kevin Federline)

Though they disagree on the specifics, the through line of most religions is that our actions shape our destinies: Do kindly unto others, and they will do kindly unto you. Avoid deep-frying a sacred cow in this life, and you’ll be reincarnated as one in the next, and then millions of Indian people will yield to you in traffic and drink your piss with a smile. Blow up some greedy American imperialists today, and spend eternity taking a honey bath with your 72 virgins (or eating a bowl of white raisins, depending on which translation you prefer). In all of these philosophies, no matter which one you choose, the thesis statement is that karmic rewards come as a result of good deeds and a life well spent, particularly when it’s one marked by charity and more than a little suffering. While these teachings usually apply solely to the afterlife, the lessons are also extrapolated to our daily struggles: You reap what you sow; good things come to those who wait; don’t be such an asshole all the time and maybe others will listen to you, and you won’t have to spend your nights venting your pent-up rage on Internet comment boards just to feel superior to someone, etc. etc.

But we’re living in a post-religious age, a new Wild West where the laws of karma may as well involve not having sex with another man’s horse on Sundays for all the relevance they have to our modern mobocracy. Now that no one’s minding the store, we can punish the just for being crybaby snitches, and reward the worst among us—just to show our compassion. If you have an oopsy and accidentally send the economy spiraling backwards 50 years, well, you’ll just have to be very sternly slapped across the face with a wad of crisp $1,000 dollar bills, then bent over and reamed by our massive bonus package until you damn well learn your lesson. If you purchased an environment-destroying SUV, first the Bush administration smacked you across the wrist with a generous tax rebate, then it was the Obama administration’s turn to strap on the iron glove and beat you senseless with its “cash for clunkers” program when you finally traded it in. If you ignored all common decency and shot yourself up with enough fertility drugs to crap out a Montreal neo-folk band in one sitting, despite already taking taxpayer money to feed the kids you were neglecting back at home, you got castigated with a catchy nickname, branded with magazine covers and scalded with TV appearances, and then sentenced to a year of having your very own reality show that cruelly mocked you with the added insult of paying you $250,000. In short, karma is broken, and whoever fucked it up deserves a life sentence in the slammer, probably one with room service, free HBO, and those cushy bathrobes made with real terrycloth and velour, not that cotton waffle shit.


How do we know this? Because it’s the only possible explanation for the daily replenished garlands heaped around the increasingly tumescent neck of Kevin Federline, that’s how. Let’s recap: Federline is a ninth-grade dropout who fell ass-backwards into becoming the grottier half of one of the most famous couples in the world. From there he "paid his dues" by getting modeling and recording contracts handed to him on Axe body spray-scented platters by companies whose entire mission statements were apparently built around the credo “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” then lived off the spoils of Britney Spears’ earnings (while simultaneously ensuring those earnings decreased with every episode of Britney And Kevin: Chaotic) until he got totally bored of the trade-off of money for nothing if he couldn’t also have other chicks for free and got himself out of there. And since his divorce, yes, Federline has had to deal with the heartbreak and loneliness of being a single father—which is ameliorated only by the cold comfort of a monthly check for $20,000, preferred seating and free bottle service at Las Vegas casinos (where he’s apparently still too distraught to tip), and endless, empty days that he’s forced to fill with aimless shopping, bowling and playing golf, and consuming as much complimentary gourmet food and top-shelf liquor as it takes to close the void inside him.

Unfortunately, Federline apparently doesn’t know where that void ends and the rest of him begins, and the resultant staggering weight gain from his non-stop indulging has not gone unnoticed in the tabloids. But lest you think that the meteoric rise of “kevin federline fat” in Google Trends is some indication of karma finally getting off its sofa and putting a hold on Federline’s credit, this week comes the news that Federline’s weight gain may actually make him even richer—to the tune of $2.5 million, if he accepts a deal from the Extreme Physical Performance (EP2) supplement company. And even better, it’s all at the behest of producers who want him to lose 45 pounds for his new reality show, the aim of which is to follow Federline around as he learns to “balance being a super single dad and the chaotic life of business, fame, and fortune.” In a way, it’s the documentary equivalent of forcing Roman slaves to watch their emperor consume four fatted goats and a bucket of ambrosia, tickle his uvula with a goose feather, and then barf it all back up—and having them pay for the privilege.

Or, you know, maybe we're being a tad over-dramatic. But still, the point is that Federline’s fame and fortune was all but transferred to him via osmosis, and its recent extension—not to mention the considerable bonus of getting paid handsomely for indulging in his every wanton vice for the last year—is now officially a deliberate affront to all that you’ve ever been told about the relationship between reward and virtue. Of course, the good news for you is that karma apparently took its ball and went home some time around 2004, so you can go ahead and do whatever the fuck you want from now on. Stay stupid, be greedy, and coddle your every infantile whim; if you’re really lucky, fate might come along to punish you too.