It was reported at the weekend that fame is indeed fleeting. Fame however, lasts more than 15 minutes. On today’s market it lasts 71 years.
I find the ring of that 1 on the end of 70 to be strangely reassuring and so the number holds a note of authority for me. I mean, if they had done the usual and rounded it off to the nearest 5 and called it 70 I might have scoffed, but the fact that it is a solid sounding 71 makes all the difference in the truth game.
The sad news is that lasting fame, unless you are in the league of the Big Whatever, Shakespeare, or Santa Claus and the elite of the fame crowd, has decreased from 120 years to 71 years in this age of fleeting attention spans. Such is the pace of value these days!
More than once I may have somewhat inaccurately quoted some person that I have forgotten, or never known the name of, that : you live as long as the last person who remembers you survives. To me that is fame; when family and friends remember you, even when you have passed onto the Big Wherever. So in that way, my grandparents live on, as do my Dad, and family and friends. They are famous in my world, the world that counts.
The writer of the article was explaining that the likes of Stevie Wonder would be forgotten very quickly. I hazard an easy guess that if I asked any 8th grade class who poor Stevie Wonder is, that it would draw blank stares already. Fame is a generational, as well as a cultural, construct, is it not? I hope that I haven’t spoiled Stevie’s day, but I suspect that poor Stevie can console himself by phoning his accountant and requesting an update on the number of zeros on the latest balance from his bank account.
As mentioned, some identities, are timeless and cross generations as well as cultures. Take Flamingo Dancers (metaphorically speaking) for instance. A legend in my own mind, and now of course yours! Such fame is infinite. The masses love me. I don’t need anyone to say it, I don’t need my face on the cover of magazines, or be on Larry King’s last
lovefest show, for proof. We famous just know when we are famous, and we know how much the little people like you depend upon us to brighten their day. We all know how I brighten your lives, don’t we now, dahlings (no need to reply, I can feel the luv from here)?
So, as you toil through your ordinary lives, don’t fret that you will never be famous. We have proof that not only is fame fleeting, but fame is shrinking every day. Hardly even worth it. Warhol’s 15 minutes really will be the bar someday soon. Some things are eternal and should be left to the worthy – Flamingo Dancers for instance.