Are we all cut out to be famous?
Granted, nowadays we can all dream of being famous, if only for a fleeting moment, thanks to the best-ever fame enabler or accelerator the Internet.
For better or worse, we live in a fame-obsessed age. Funnily, it is rare for anyone to ever seriously criticize this phenomenon, or describe it as a civilization downfall. Perhaps because many dream of being granted access to the Pantheon someday.
Is fame a reward for talent and hard work? In a sense, I would say yes: it takes some talent and work to achieve fame, that is, if lasting fame is the goal.
Instant, unfounded, short-lived celebrity fueled by social networks has exploded in the past few years. Some people will do anything for a moment of glory, which may not be that glorious, but the candidates thereto usually do not have the mental skills to see that.
Is the question of who becomes famous still relevant or pertinent? Does one still need talent to justify becoming famous? I think that these questions probably never deserved and never will deserve to be considered because talent alone never was and never will be the catalyst for someone’s recognition, hence fame. Talent recognition is truly not what fame is about.
That is why I came to ask myself the question of who becomes famous. The why, the how, and the when are all easily mastered and only require a good marketing plan.
Let us be clear: fame alone does not have much value. It has to come with perks: money, and all that money affords, space, comfort, freedom and choice (both two-sided knives), beauty, even better health. As for the many downsides, who wants to hear about them?
Of course, one could have all the perks without fame, but everything seems to taste better with fame… Celebrity has an incredible power of attraction and fascinates the richest men and even statesmen! Why?
Fame or celebrity is a remnant of ancient times’ deification that, throughout the ages has taken on different forms. For me, it is the most fascinating form, in that it is also the least useful from the standpoint of civilization.
In my view, celebrities are today’s golden calves or deities, which in simple terms means that, right or wrong, they are considered to be unlike the rest of us. Not only do they have or are believed to have special and unique talents, even powers, but also some God-given advantages. For instance, they do not age, put on weight, get cellulite, or wrinkles. They also have beautiful babies even at a late age, and when they hit 60, they will probably still have plenty of youth and health to cope with a 15 year-old teenager, a rich teenager that will not have to worry about losing their senior, multi-divorced mother before finishing college. Celebs may actually be immortal considering that Steve McQueen and Marilyn Monroe still appear in new commercials.
I have never envied a celebrity because of the many fans and people who adore them, ready to spend the night out to catch a glimpse of their idol, spending fortunes on memorabilia, even committing suicide. I am only baffled by people’s capacity to idolize someone, anyone, but would dread to be the subject of such idolatry, or one of those adorers for that matter.
I am also fascinated with how a celeb deals with being both an image and a person on a day-to-day basis… I believe that the most cold-headed, enduring ones (think Madonna) perfectly know that they are objects (not people) of veneration, easily and eventually replaced. Hard for the ego, which is also the strongest booster of fame-hungry people.
I admit that I, probably like most people, would be curious to know what it is like to be famous from the inside, but I would never want to be a celeb.
Having all kinds of people (stylist, hairdresser, lawyers, agent, manager, house staff, etc.) take care of your every need (and not because they love or admire you), choose your clothes, advise you on everything, run your errands, etc. That is precisely the one part of the deal that I would most dislike.
What about celebrities’ responsibilities towards their fans, and the rest of us? The more influential, the more exemplary, they should be, I think. Famous people are incredibly proud to be influential but all too often cater to the dark tendencies and moral weaknesses of fans, and seldom to their sense of right and good. Maybe because they would too quickly see the limits of their influence. Ill-used power and wrongly directed influence enrage me. They can really hurt good causes. I am thinking of this French actress that has gained international renown. She happens to be a Greenpeace activist and advocate – declared that she had stopped eating a world famous hazelnut spread because it contains palm oil. Great! She is also the image of a famous French fashion house that belongs to a huge industrial conglomerate not very concerned with environmental damage. Her name is Marion Cotillard. That, for me, is how you undermine your credibility and hence discredit the very causes that you claim to defend.
Why people are not just happy performing for their families and friends seems to make sense for everyone, does it not? Well not so much for me. All famous people will say that they sought fame because they wanted to be loved. Is this not very strange? What kind of love do fans give exactly?
And speaking of love… So much for receiving – least of all, giving – love by living behind the ultra-secured high walls of a 25-room mansion. I guess that what fame really means for celebs is that they don’t have to put up with people, but that people should feel privileged to have to put up with them…
I think that the one true reason why I could never be a celeb is because I will never have a celeb’s mindset and would never want to.
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