Monday, August 22, 2011

15 Minutes or More of Fame

Here's what gets me.

Back in 1968, Andy Warhol wrote in the catalogue for a photography exhibition of his in Stockholm, Sweden, "In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes."

What he didn't add, however, is that everyone would want to be world-famous.

How about you? Would you like to be world-famous? Now, think long and hard before you answer. I'll wait....

Are you ready with your answer? Did you consider all the ramifications of just what "famous" means? According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

famous: 1: widely known 2: honored for achievement 3: excellent, first-rate syn renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious

Now, think of some world-famous people and consider if you would really want to live like them.

Movie stars? Unless you have the looks of Julia Roberts or the talent of Robert De Niro, you aren't going to be making $20 million a movie, but you will have to work really hard for long, demanding hours and you will still be pestered in public restrooms for your autograph and you still won't be able to go shopping by yourself.

And speaking of De Niro, he once starred in a movie that really was called 15 minutes, which is about this very topic, and he dies.

Oops! Sorry, if you haven't seen the movie. Disregard that last sentence. Maybe he doesn't die. Maybe he only pretends to be dead, but he has to fight a couple of bad guys while tied to a chair, and he has to drive really fast through Manhattan and run as hard as he can through the streets of New York City, and we all know how dangerous that can be.

So, my point is, if you don't have looks or talent, being world-famous as a movie star is going to get you diddly-squat.

Politicians? What, are you crazy? Why would anyone want to be world-famous as the leader of a country? Those guys and some gals work excruciatingly long hours, they are watched every minute by someone and some of them are even killed by their enemies!

Oh, sure, obviously some minutes, President Clinton wasn't watched, but is being constantly watched and hounded by the press now as a private citizen really worth a few moments of under-the-desk sexual pleasure that wasn't really sex?

Oh, sure, President Bush was world-famous once, but would you really want to be "under the gun" (so to speak) so that every little thing you said was made fun of the following weekend on "Saturday Night Live"? Would you really want to have numerous Internet Websites devoted to just the stupid things you said and the dumb-looking, chimp-like facial expressions you made? Would you really want every aspect of your wild youth and drug-history past investigated and brought out into the open so that you have to admit all accusations by refusing to comment on them?

(Note to audience: You don't have to wait for the answers to these questions.)

Now, the reason I bring up this subject of 15 minutes of being world-famous is a story in the newspaper I read about nine local residents having the opportunity in what was called "a truly avant-garde auction" one year at the Lakewood Country Club near Denver to have "some sudden name fame."

As part of the Jefferson County Library Foundation's "Rare & Novel Night," an annual auction that sells old books, seven authors, including Clive Cussler and Tony Hillerman, had agreed to include nine winning bidders' names in their forthcoming novels. (Hillerman agreed to put three local names in his next book, which accounts for the numerical discrepancy, but which also waters down the "fame" thing, don't you agree?)

What, are these people crazy? Sure, it is all for a good cause in that all proceeds will help the foundation pay for a "traveling library center" (sounds suspiciously like a "bookmobile," don't you think?), but pay to get your name in print? Five lucky "winners" names are hidden every month in my trash-bill literature. Spot your name and get a discount on your next month's bill.

So, here is what I am proposing if you want a piece of that 15-minute world-famous action: Add a comment here on this Website and then wait for others to comment on your comment if it's clever, and you can forever crow about having had your name in print.

For free! Without being pestered in public restrooms. Without having to work long hours or put up with public humiliation.

I rest my case.

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