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Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

15 Minutes of Fame

Hug-me-I-m-famous-T-ShirtJimmy Kimmel recently had a show where he featured two sisters of the KarKrashian Klan and he introduced them by saying they’d conquered the tabloids, Twitter, TV and that one could “watch them do everything and nothing at all at the same time.”  Wow.  When you put it like that, I feel very badly about the state of the nation.  And our future.

Back in the day (1968 to be exact) Andy Warhol said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  And to think that he said this at a time when there were only three television channels to choose from (unless you were wily with the VHF/UHF dial on your black and white Zenith TV, like me, and could get the bullfights from Mexico or late night roller derby in San Jose).  45 years ago a person really had to fight to get their fifteen minutes on the limited media available.  Now, one can snag those 15 minutes much easier (and from their bathroom vanity, no less) and more often.  Strike a pose and you and your duck lips go viral, being seen ‘round the world in less than fifteen seconds.  You do have to question the content, though – will it even last a quarter of an hour?  Scottish artist Momus put a much finer point on this idea by saying, “On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.”  Oh, Momus.  So obscure, yet so insightful.

What is it with us that we really DO like to watch people?  And not just people.  We watch people out there doing a whole lot of nothing, as Mr. Kimmel pointed out.  Well, nothing terribly interesting, at any rate.  Once upon a time, we liked to read about people and human nature (after all, that Jane Austen did not get her 15 month of Sundays’ fame for nothing) but now, we’re all about the Visual-Visual-Visual!!!  We pull up Twitter to see what someone had for lunch or if they have posted pictures of their cat.  We scroll through Facebook to see what products they might have recently purchased or if we are going to get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of their personal world (Ooh! Show us that wickedly well-appointed bathroom again!).  We flip on the television to see what wacky pants fashion they might show up in and where they went on vacation.  [However, on a side note: I remember 35 years ago my parents being bored to tears when family members set up a slide show to show off their exotic scuba trips.]  Sakes alive, people!  If I watched my neighbors in this same microscopic manner I’d likely be brought up on misdemeanor charges.  But… if they were to film it and distribute it electronically (and hopefully find decent product sponsors to get on board) we could transform their seemingly simple, yet complex lives (not that I’m watching that closely) into bonafide “entertainment.”  [Oh, and if MTV picks this idea up, I am telling you now – uh? SO want my 15% commission! – These days, it is a fine line (and only a few letters) between entrepreneur and voyeur).]

I’m not gonna lie and act like I’m not all for the window into other people’s lives.  People-watching is one of my most favorite pastimes, but I like to observe matters of the heart and mind, when it all comes down to brass tacks.  Human nature is exciting.  However, there is another strange and exhilarating sensation that comes over me when I stumble across things like the simple images of someone’s perfect Sunday morning treat of (and I quote) “warm pumpkin cream cheese muffins and coffee.”  WTFrench toast/roast?  Why, here I sit — still in my pajamas and nothing like that has shown up on my breakfast tray!  In fact, there isn’t a likely snowball’s chance in the oven that anybody is going to make that happen anytime soon at my house.  But, the idea that right down the road from me, someone else is having what appears to be a very sweet life for a few minutes makes me happy.  Very, very cozy and happy.  That is, until I stumble across the next on-line life, in the next 15 minutes.

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 “Don’t confuse fame with success.  Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.” ~ Erma Bombeck

“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” ~ Horace Greeley

“I want to be a woman of character, but I also happen to BE a character.  Should the two merge at some point in history and I can pay my rent with these attributes, I’ll be happy.” ~ T. Katz

FYI — Hug Me I’m Famous T-shirt available at www.spreadshirt.com.

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