Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Famous Is As Famous Does ...

Jay (that's four, honey!) is in a band. (Check it out on MySpace.) We were e-mailing back and forth today about the band's upcoming gig and other things, and the following exchange happened:

Jay:
And I want to challenge you to see how many consecutive days you work me into your blog! I think it would be fun. Plus, it’s your job to make me famous. ;)

Beth:
Challenge noted. I'll see what I can do. As Hannibal Lecter said to Clarice, though, "People will say we're in love." : o ) I'm punchy today. If it's my job to make YOU famous, whose job is it to make ME famous?

Jay:
I don’t think you need anyone to make you famous. You’re on your way.

And then I went out for a walk to mail a card to a friend who called tonight with some spectacular news about a very big book deal. While I was walking, I thought about Jay's e-mail, and when I got home, I wrote to him:

Beth:
You know me: I don't talk about myself much*, but I'm intrigued. A few weeks ago, my friend Henry wrote about our high school reunion on his blog and mentioned that the two most famous people from our class weren't there: me and Ryan Baker, the sports guy on Channel 5. I wrote to Henry: "Do you have a fever? I'm not famous." But to him, I am, because of my DesignStar blog. I told the story to my friend Nat who was here for brunch a couple weeks ago. We hadn't seen each other in 20 years, but she reads my blog. And when I got to the "I'm not famous" part, she said, "To me you're a little famous." Huh? And now you've made this comment. So Beth is letting her ego take over for a moment and asking what it is you see in me that makes you say that. We never seem to see ourselves the way others see us, but it's just odd to me that this word, "famous," keeps coming up in conversations. Clue me in, please.

All of which made wonder: What is the definition of "famous"? We're a fame-obsessesd society, but where is the line? How do you know when you're famous? Are you famous if you're recognized on the street? Are you famous if people know your name from a publication? Are you famous if someone writes about you in a weekly magazine?

I, clearly, would never define myself as famous. Maybe someday – one never knows – but certainly not today.

In your mind, what makes someone "famous"?

* This blog notwithstanding, I really don't talk about myself much. If you were to go out with me in a group setting, I'd be the one talking the least.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

No, I'm the one who would be talking the least at a group setting involving me, even if you were there. I'm painfully shy, and boring to boot.

Meanwhile, as to who is famous: in today's world, I would think one marker would be if you have your own bio page on Wikipedia. And by your own, I mean one that hasn't been written by yourself.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I have always opted for the simplest measure of fame. You are famous when people who don't even know you, from places you've never been, recognise you on the street.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Mav said...

Oh, the Wikipedia thing is good.

Famous to me means that people know who you are who don't know you. Although I'm not sure how to explain that one.

11:53 PM  

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