Monday, October 4, 2010

Fame-whoring: Wherefore?

It’s funny how right Andy Warhol was when he said that in the future everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. And it’s not humorous only because he was definitely on to something – it’s because everyone’s so desperate for it. When celebrity first became a visible entity in the world, it was otherworldly. Celebrities were glamorous and godly – they were unique and out of reach. And the life of celebrity was also unattainable. The larger population was happy to accept that it was a rare calling, and they were also happy to admire celebs from their cinema seats.

That changed, both with the increasing power of celebrity and with the path towards total freedom of choice. People became increasingly aware and headstrong of their right to pursue their dreams. We no longer had ‘lots in life’, and had a choice in the matter.

That’s what’s brought us to this point, where every one in two people thinks they should be famous. Or deserves to be famous. Or even worse, thinks they have the talent that acquires fame. Along with the right to vote, the right of speech – general human rights and freedoms, came a very odd need to validate ourselves. It’s no longer good enough to make your family proud, and your friends proud – or even just make yourself proud of your own achievements. Whether it’s a promotion at your small firm, or making partner in a law firm – for some that kind of success isn’t appealing.

Our overexposure to other people’s lives has become a bit hazardous. In more ways than one – but I’ll keep on topic. We “know” all about the personal lives of movie stars and musicians. We watch them being idolised and admired by TV presenters and their peers over their clothes, their personalities and sometimes their talent and beauty (snort). And it’s created a generation of insecure lost souls. There are people who painstakingly think that they need to have their names in a magazine or on a television show in order to be successful. To “win”. To validate their lives since high school, since their last bad break-up or since they lost 30kg, they need to be famous, and prove it.

The worst thing is, they love to think they’re just proving it to themselves, and “doing what they really want to do with their lives”. But they expect that when they “make it”, all those people from school, all those ex-boyfriends and shitty friends will suck it, because they’re famusth. I’d like to chat to someone who really feels better when it all “works out”. I’d ask how it feels now – are you vindicated? Are you content? And I can promise the real answers won’t be yes. They’ll still feel empty, and unfulfilled and wanting. Because what they’re really trying to do is be happy through other people’s opinion of them.

Enter the reality TV show. People who long for fame and haven’t “made it” yet in whichever field, now have this “platform” to fame and, er, fortune. (Excuse me while I fall over and kill myself laughing.) The examples are endless and I don’t have the energy to go through what’s wrong with it – other than it makes for the most dull and pointless viewing I can imagine. How this shit makes it onto television, I have no idea. But now that we have stupid numbers of people becoming famous for absolutely no reason, it’s given more hope to the masses who are mildly aware of their lack of public appeal. Some of the dumbest most vapid people on the planet are household names. And you’d be hard pressed to give a good reason why.

But back to the root of all this need for fame. Yes, we all care what people think to a degree. We have to. We live in societal confines. It’s part of the deal. But isn’t basing your entire existence on what people think exhausting? I mean gaaaad – you’d be rethinking your every move; every sentence you utter; every outfit you wear and how you do your hair. How bloody pointless. And there will be a point reached when they’ll realise all this shit they did “for themselves” has left them with no friends, no real personality and no direction. Sad isn’t it?


  1. If I trade in all my friends, personality and direction, can I please be famous now?

    I never really liked those things anyway.

  2. In that case, you're perfect Monx ;)