Fame Something Something Hard to Swallow

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Do you want to be famous? I do. I really hate admitting it, because it makes one seem shallow and dilettante-ish, but man, I'd love me some fame. And besides, no-one would be an actor and a photographer and a writer and a director if all they wanted was to hide their light under a bushel.

-- Kymm (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), June 27, 2000


Oh, yes, yes, yes!

Fame and glory! Definitely!

Mind you, I don't want to be famous for just anything. One can easily become very famous by diong something absolutely horrible, like becoming an assassin or taking a role in an Adam Sandler movie. That's not really the kind of fame I'm looking for.

But it'd be great to be recognized for writing, or acting, or directing, or just doing something really fun and cool that happens to be in the public eye.

-- Patrick (xingcat@yahoo.com), June 27, 2000.

I don't want to be famous. I want to represent somebody famous. As a publicist, the greatest joy is sitting in the background and watching somebody I've "handled" take the spotlight.

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), June 27, 2000.

Great, Bev, make me famous!

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), June 27, 2000.

"So little? So little did you say? Why if there's anything else there's applause! It's like waves of love sweeping over the footlights and wrapping you up."

Sorry, I'm channeling Eve Harrington, which is not something I want to become famous for.

I'm told that when I was baptized (at age two) and held up by the preacher for the congregation to see I flashed them the biggest smile. I'm sure that ever since then I've craved the adulation of the masses.

So YES, I want to be famous, but in a good way, not like Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer or Wayne Newton or Kathie Lee Gifford -- not famous in a way that I would be reviled or made fun of.

How? Writing, singing, acting? Whatever I end up doing should involve humor and compassion. The last is kinda humorous anyway, since I can be the Original Bitch when people cross me or neglect me. Go figure.


-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), June 27, 2000.

Gee, Kymm--I thought you already *were* famous!

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), June 27, 2000.

Not famous enough. I haven't given an interview in a year!

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), June 27, 2000.

Move to California. I'll get you set up. (Actually since I do this on a volunteer basis, I can only handle one person at a time, and this isn't your year to become a star. As soon as "Schalchlin" is a household name, I'll start working on you.)

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), June 27, 2000.

WHen offered a choice, "rich or famous?" there's no question in my mind... I'd pick rich any day.

If you're famous, then you probably can't walk into a grocery store without being noticed, stared at, scrutinized. I don't want to see fake (or real) gossip about me in the tabs. I have no desire to always feel eyes on me in a restaurant, whispers at events, none of that.

Funny thing is, I make a fair chunk of my living as an entertainer, and like being recognised in my work... but love going home and being a very private person.

Yeah, well, a private person with an online journal, but you know what I mean.

-- Cameron (cameron@cimtegration.com), June 27, 2000.

What is all this, 'I want to be famous, but in a good way' nonsense?!??!!! Are you mad? There is no 'good' fame! All famous people are detested and loved in equal measure. I defy you to name one famous person who is universally loved.

Fame merely brings you to the attention of a greater number of people, while diluting the extent to which they 'know' you. You will be judged without mercy. If someone dislikes your eyes, or your clothes, if you come across as arrogant in an interview, or fail to be arrogant enough, if someone disagrees with your use of lighting in a certain shot or the characterisation of your first-person narrator, then they will revile you, they will despise and hate and detest you, in a way which is only possible where famous people are concerned.

What you really want is adulation, not fame. You want to be worshipped and adored. The best way to go about that is to look out for your friends and love your family.

On the other hand, if you actually want immortality (because you're secretly terrified of death) then you will need to bear the slings and arrows of your outrageous fortune, and admit that you don't care what people think, as long as they think something.

Let's have some honesty, here ...

-- Pale Blue (paleblue@darkblue.2ndmail.com), June 27, 2000.

I wanted to be famous when I was a kid. I had very elaborate fantasies about it. I was going to have my own show, with celebrities, and I'd sing on every show. (I was heavily influenced by Merv Griffin and Dinah Shore.) When I "discovered" theatre, I wanted to win a Tony, first for acting, and then later, for writing.

Now, I have absolutely no desire to be famous. I'm content with making my mark on my little corner of the world, however small it may be.

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), June 27, 2000.

Well duh, of course nobody wants the bad parts of fame! Nobody wants the bad parts of anything!

Nobody, when looking at an adorable little kitten on the street says "O, I sure hope that this kitten grows up to pee everywhere and vomit everywhere and torture the other cats, and jump on my head while I sleep, causing a three inch long facial scar!" they just think of cute kitties purring and playing and being generally adorable. One doesn't come without the other, at least not in Baldrick's case.

I can say that, even with the extremely tiny dot of fame that I have, there are bad bits, people acting weird and saying nasty things, but the fun, cool bits greatly outshine the bad, people sending presents and writing nice notes and being in the newspapers is cool, it just is, and if it's childish for me to think so, then gimme that pacifier, I'm taking a nap in my crib.

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), June 27, 2000.

Well, if presents are involved, perhaps I wouldn't mind a bit of fame...

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), June 27, 2000.

>>One doesn't come without the other, at least not in Baldrick's case. <<

I can't believe I know two people with cats named Baldrick.

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), June 27, 2000.

Do I want to be famous? Heavens, yes! I've wanted to be famous for as far back as I can remember. But I don't want the superstar kind of fame. I want to be recoginzed, to have people come up to me and say they enjoy my work, but I don't want to be mobbed. I want to do interviews and win awards, preferably for acting or writing or painting (all of which I love to do and need to work harder if I want to achieve that fame), and bask in the limelight. Does that make me shallow? Probably, but it's the truth. Will I ever get there? I don't know, but I'm sure gonna try.

-- Carol (webgal@ordinarygoddess.com), June 27, 2000.

I'm a snob about the kind of fame I want.

I want the Tony Kushner fame as opposed to the Neil Simon. Marge Piercy over Stephen King. Jackson Pollack more than Picasso. Hope Davis instead of Jennifer Aniston. Echo and the Bunnymen way before Backstreet Boys.

I want to be the kind of "artist" that appeals to a select group of people a great deal. The kind of fame that allows you to go to grocery stores, fly on planes and shop at the mall. I want the kind of fame that doesn't get you much special recognition except ocassionally when the person taking reservations is familar with your work. I would like the kind of fame that gives more of a "cult following" than "mob crowds."

Why? I think I'd just feel cooler. Like "my public" was a great deal smarter and more culturally aware than the average Joe.

-- Jackie (jackie@jackie.nu), June 27, 2000.

I'd love to be famous! I spent most of my childhood preparing myself to be gracious with the hordes of adoring fans who would approach me as I walked down the street (or, more likely, stepped out of my limo). Hours and hours of practice to achieve just the right degree of warmth in my smile, as I accept their autograph books and scribble a witty remark that will become someone's most treasured possession.

Are you kidding? I think it would be great.

Of course, there's the small problem of requiring some form of talent for which to become famous, a talent I've not yet discovered... but I'm still hopeful that someday, it'll emerge, and I'll be able to put all those years of training to good use.

-- Dawn (amgraffiti@superplin.com), June 27, 2000.

I wonder if people really want to be famous after they are...or if they're prepared for the price of fame. My son was famous. Well, locally. He was the lead singer of a rock band that had some notoriety in California for about 10 years. When it was at its peak, he would have to hide his car when he came home because if girls knew he was at home, they would knock on the door just to giggle at him. I've heard young kids who have achieved stardom too soon who really weren't prepared for the total lack of privacy. I remember once seeing Alan Alda in a restaurant and how they took him to the back, deserted part of the place and he ate his meal hunched over with his back to the rest of the room. We all respected his privacy, but I thought how sad to know that you couldn't go anywhere and just be yourself without having to figure out how to be bothered by admiring fans.

-- Bev Sykes (basykes@dcn.davis.ca.us), June 27, 2000.

I never realised my father-in-law was famous until we'd go to a resteraunt he had been to before. They would seat us in the back, deserted part, way away from the other patrons! lol!

-- Dave (jdavid@dave-world.net), June 28, 2000.

I have never thought it sounded shallow to want to be famous. Feckless, perhaps, but not shallow. I wanted to be famous for a long time, but I changed my mind. Somewhere along the line privacy became a lot more important than public adulation. I don't understand it, but I started life as a raving extrovert, and I've become positively introverted compared to my pre-teen self. I still like getting laughs and applause, I just don't seek it out anymore.

-- Lucy Huntzinger (huntzinger@mindspring.com), June 28, 2000.

James Michener said you can make a fortune writing, but not a living. All I want to make as a writer is a technical writer's income, but I want to make it writing crank-lettres, the genre I devised to get at, and witness to the truth of who I am through daily typewriting in. The marketplace doesn't know it wants crank-lettres yet, because it doesn't know what it is, and can't imagine it. One of my jobs, besides to produce a body of work, over the course of a writing life, is to make the marketplace aware of what it needs, desperately, that I am supplying.

How can it fit me into what it already knows? There's nothing new under the sun, after all. Well, there is the persona outsider. Outcast. The poete maudit, or broke-dick dog, or turd in the punchbowl.

Can I cross over to the mainstream from the underground, without selling out, compromising my integrity, in order to integrate myself into the money society, on its terms? Can I make a living writing on my own terms? Not making concessions to taste, fashion, or the legal set-up the War Heads in publishing, the media, foundations and arts agencies, and universities protect themselves, and their callow hustle from the truth with?

Why not? Charlie Parker, Jackson Pollock, and Lenny Bruce did.

They had alcohol or drug problems, lived horrible, wretched lives, and died prematurely? As did Dylan Thomas and Jack Kerouac?

Well, there is Bukowski. There is Charles Willeford.

They made a living writing. Without quitting, selling out, or turning bitter.

Marshall McLuhan ended up playing himself in a Woody Allen movie.

Woody Allen ended up playing himself.

You just go on doing what you do. Tie a kerosene-soaked rag around your ankles to keep the cutworms off and swing for the left field fence.

There's fame as the just result of strenuous effort and there's fame as a manufactured product, fame as a marketing tool, nowadays they want a writer to have a platform, of exposure, expertise, celebrity, and then comes the book contract, and the ghost writer. The tail wags the dog. That kind of fame is a whited sepulcher, built upon sand, instead of rock. Me, I have the dream and then put the brickbats under it, one book at a time. One book a month. Daily, online, as I write them. There for all the jealous midgets to ping at.

Ping away, pal. As Jerry Jeff Walker says, "Little do they know, their thoughts of me are my savior./Little do they know the beat ought to go a little faster."

-- Jack Saunders, The Daily Bugle (www.thedailybugle.com) (jacksaunders@mindspring.com), June 28, 2000.

As a reply to Bev, above.

This is something that I have thought quite a bit about, the nature of fame, and whether it's worth it, and how disrupting it is.

William Goldman, in one of his books, says that if suddenly everyone started telling him that he was the greatest writer since Dostoyevski, and they just kept repeating "You and Fyodor, Bill, that's it," after a while, he would start to believe them, that you just can't help it, even if you know better.

I believe that age makes a difference, I am not surprise when all of these world-famous twenty-year-olds act like assholes, what with everyone telling them that the sun rises and sets up their asses every day, and that there are no consequences to their actions, it's because they became famous before they knew who they were.

I have a reasonable amount of confidence that, what with me being 35 years old, ridiculous fame wouldn't change me that much, because I know exactly who I am. Of course, ridiculous fame is pretty unlikely at my age, particularly as an actor--if it hasn't started to happen when you're in your twenties, you're shit out of luck, but that doesn't stop my imagination. Of course, I don't really want ridiculous fame, I think it's probably more trouble than it's worth.

My father used to get recognized alot, I remember thinking that it was hilarious as a kid.

In terms of hiding in the back of restaurants and wearing disguises and things, I think that you have two choices with that sort of thing--you can think about it alot and worry and hide, or you can just decide to live your life and not care. I'm oblivious to my surroundings half the time, if people were whispering and staring I probably wouldn't even notice.

You can also live in New York where people are too cool to bug celebrities.

Of course, like having a baby, you can't really know what it's like until it happens to you, so I may be talking out of my ass, but I do believe that you can embrace things in life and make them work for you, or you can run from it and fear it and be miserable. This is probably more difficult when you are Monica Lewinski or Joey Buttafucco or Darva Conger and are a national punchline, but that wouldn't be me.

One hopes.

-- Kymm (kymmz1@yahoo.com), June 28, 2000.

I don't want to be famous, I want to be powerful. I'd rather head a multi-national company than appear in a film, because that way you get the perks (money, status, etc) without the downside (photojournalists tracking your every move, crazed stalkers).

Besides, I've got a business brain, not a performing brain, so I'm trying to keep my goals at least slightly attainable here!

-- Jackie (jackiec@diaryland.com), June 28, 2000.

Pale Blue, I answer your defiance by naming the late Mother Teresa as one person who is both famous and universally loved.

Your definition of fame as wider recognition coupled with lesser intimacy is right on.

How terribly clever of you to notice that I'm only interested in the good parts of fame and none of the bad. Who isn't, I ask you?! I question the mutual exclusion of fame and adulation (it worked for Mother T, after all). I believe it to be possible to combine world recognition with the the love of comrades and family. Is it necessary to split hairs so much, fame vs. adulation?

Immortality, however, is too much to ask. Death is only part of the cycle of life, and even reputations and achievements wither and fade from view.


-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), June 28, 2000.

Fame, adulation, immortality--yeah, I'll take all that.

I don't really care how I get it, as long as it's not by doing something criminal or totally stupid.

I'll even settle for fame-by-association!

-- Catherine (catcoicrit@earthlink.net), June 28, 2000.


Not to spoil your evening, but I know for a fact that even Mother Teresa is not universally loved. Christopher Hitchens, (a correspondent with Vanity Fair) hated her with the burning intensity of a super nova. He even made a film for the BBC (which I have not seen, but maybe some Brits out there can comment?) called Hell's Angel.

-- Katie (ella@webtv.net), June 29, 2000.

Well, Katie, that's what I get living without a television. I'm completely unaware of the revulsion Mother Teresa sparks in Vanity Fair writers.

Something tells me I'd better continue to remove myself from popular culture . . .

-- Robert (rbdimmick@earthlink.net), June 29, 2000.

I don't want to be famous. I think it would be scary to have people recognize me, I would feel very uncomfortable if strangers came up to talk to me, and I don't think I'd be very graceful about it. I think to be famous, you have to have a certain willingness to give up large amounts of your privacy, and I'm just not willing to do that.

Now. . . well known as a screenwriter, that might be good. Nobody ever knows what the screenwriter looks like. :)

-- Saundra (headspace@anywherebeyond.com), July 03, 2000.

See, one day I hope to win the Nobel. Or the Pulitzer. Or the Booker award. Or a Caldecott award. Or one of those literary God We're Glad You're You sorts of award things.

I'm writing a novel, and I don't think I'm writing it so it can be sold. But I can't help but daydream that a publisher sweeps it up, my book is accepted by the public with fanfare, I am universally adored for my wit wisdom and brand new, fascinating take on life, and fans swamp me at book signings, looking for my literary wit & wisdom. Hee.

However, authors aren't particularly the most recognized of the famous -- how could they be, when their image isn't part of what makes them popular? So if I really wanted adultation, wouldn't I be stuck wandering into Barnes and Noble and hanging around the L section, waiting for someone to pick up my book, look at the author bio, and eye me suspiciously?

Heh. I'd be tempted.

-- Jen (maharishe@yahoo.com), July 08, 2000.

I agree with Pale Blue. And I want adulation, but from tons and tons of people.

-- Gwen (gwenz@ev1.net), July 08, 2000.

hi, god is helping me with my life. he is planning my life now and heading me towards..............................

-- .... (famousoneday@hotmail.com), May 31, 2004.

ZZZZ BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- KATIE LILLY JONES (KAMI0930@YAHOO.COM), July 03, 2004.

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