Monday, April 19, 2010


The wonderful Charlie McDonnell, charlieissocoollike on YouTube, recently (very recently) posted a video about fame, using a recent issue of the UK's Heat Magazine as his case study as he discussed, rather seriously, the idea of fame. In short, he suggests that if you only want to be famous for the sake of being famous, stop right now, because it's not all you think it is; it's walking to work and getting photographed; it's being spied upon so that your body can be used as the 'best beach bod of the year'; it's being followed by paparazi who obsess when you eat a frozen yogurt. Fame is possibly one of the worst things that can happen to someone (one of the worst things with an upside to it, I might add - illness/death/unemployment/homelessness/etc are not included, because there's not really much of an upside if any of these happen to you or someone you know).

I won't mince words; I do sometimes wonder at the idea of fame. What would it be like? Exactly how famous could I get (for being me, I might add - not how famous can I try to be)?  How long would the fame last? And when I think about fame, I always, always, think about it as something I've earned through merits, through achievement, not as a result of, say, a lotto win, or a reality television show. Fame as a result of popularity, popularity that might well be based on how you look, is one of the worst ways! The celebrity status of Big Brother winners is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen; before the show, any of those people could pass you in the street and you wouldn't care less unless they handed you a lump sum of money with no strings attached... or you knew them already. Whatever the case may be, overnight fame for a show so ridiculous is not a merit or an achievement - it's a joke to the system of deciding who's famous and who's not.

But why do we care about famous people? Oftentimes, it's because of a) an attraction to them, b) they're genuinely nice people, and we want to know them or c) we want to be them. The fame phenomenon has hit everyone at some stage; in my case, it's "whoop"ing at a Darren Shan book signing as he enters the room. I'm very loud. It's lots of fun.

Non-rhetorcial question of the day - if you were to be famous, what would you like to be famous for?


Rebecca Woodhead said...

a/I think the reason 'star' is used when famous people are mentioned is that a star is a common point of reference in the sky. Famous people are just common points of reference. You want to be one because you want to be a point of reference. It gives historical and cultural significance.

The problem with being a reference point, though, is that you can't change. Once people navigate by you, you're preserved forever as the cliche you have become. Fame sucks.

2/I never want to be famous. Interviewing celebrities when I was in my early 20s put me off fame for life. They are caged animals. I do, however want to be successful. If fame comes as a side effect of being a successful writer, I'll have to find a way to deal with it. Hopefully, though, I will avoid fame and just sell books to chums online :)

Rebecca Woodhead said...

Just realised I put a/ and 2/ D'oh! I might need some sleep. Best of luck with the book sales. :)