I confess I do not understand why people want to be famous. I don’t mean the writers, actors, singers etc. who find fame because of their achievements. I'm referring to those individuals who want fame for the sake of fame. Many of them are not receiving recognition for anything they have accomplished, but simply because, for whatever reason, they have put themselves in the public eye. It’s a relatively new phenomenon, nurtured by the entertainment media people who highlight these so-called celebrities. The internet, too, has given birth to a different kind of fame. It seems anyone with a video camera can propel themselves into the spotlight.
But why? Vanity? Celebrity status? Money? Appearing in the press and on television? Being recognised everywhere they go?
Actually, I can’t imagine anything worse than being recognised. Particularly if I’m popping into the local shop for a carton of milk.
A few weeks ago, I was in my local supermarket, and at the checkout next to mine was someone I recognised. I had to think for a moment until I realised he was an actor in a popular soap here in England. As he made his way out of the supermarket, he was stopped by at least four different people, and others stared or pointed at him. Maybe he liked that sort of attention. I would have hated it!
I prefer to remain unknown. It allows me to live my life in the way I want to live it, and not to have everything I do noticed, or even worse, reported in the media.
As a writer, am I jealous of the J.K.Rowlings of this world? Do I wish I was E.L.James? No way. Although I would like to sell more copies of my books (wouldn’t most writers?), I’ve no real desire to become a ‘famous’ writer.
Fame comes with a price. One cost can be the lack of anonymity. Would you like to be surrounded by fans everywhere you go? I don’t mean the occasions when you choose to be on public show, but all the other times when the last thing you feel like is being charming and polite to strangers!
Another downside is no longer knowing who your real friends are. Are they genuine, or are they hangers-on, maybe looking for some kind of reflected glory through being associated with you?
And last but not least, the celebrity aspect of fame is ephemeral, and can easily turn to mockery or even outright cruelty. It seems celebrities need to have very thick skins at times.