Monday, April 18, 2011

Fame Is The Spur?

Some months ago I was in the pub when the subject of a local singer came up. Now, personally I really don't see her appeal - it seems to me that she just wails rather than sings. Anyway, the comment was made that this individual was known all over Crapchester, as if that proved that they were talented, or something. I indignantly pointed out that The Sleaze was known all over the world - surely that means I'm more talented? I can't deny that, in large part, my outburst was motivated by pique at the fact that somebody who spends their time ruining other people's drinking experiences by wailing in pubs, apparently gets more acclaim than someone like me, who regularly produces satirical stories which are - apparently - enjoyed worldwide. I was reminded of this incident yesterday, when I posted a new editorial over at The Sleaze, decrying celebrity culture and boldly stating that I didn't want any part of it.

Having recalled that earlier incident, I couldn't help but feel that my new editorial was a little hypocritical. Why else would I have been jealous of even a local 'celebrity', if I didn't, at some level, crave 'fame' myself? Well, I've thought long and hard about this issue. I think part of the problem here is the way in which the concept of 'celebrity' has gradually replaced the idea of 'fame'. As I mention in my editorial, when I was growing up, we didn't really have anything along the lines of modern 'celebrity'. Instead, people were 'famous' - their fame was, primarily, a recognition of their achievement in a particular field, be it acting, singing, literature, surgery or even nuclear physics. Fame had to be earned. 'Celebrity', by contrast, seems divorced from any idea of achievement. It's about notoriety, about being seen in the right places or moving in the right circles. Just being on TV can be enough to confer 'celebrity' status on someone.

What my outburst was about was my perceived lack of recognition for my artistic efforts. In the sense that I'd like such recognition, I suppose that it can be argued that what I desire is old fashioned 'fame', rather than 'celebrity'. In my defence, this goes beyond simply a personal desire for recognition. I think I was also irked by the fact that people who make an exhibition of themselves in pubs and clubs are taken more seriously as creative artists than those of us who create web content. The latter is still seen as being 'just' a hobby, and of no real importance. Despite the fact that, unlike the amateurs singing in pubs, we do have a global audience which reaches beyond our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances..



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