Once upon a time, people became famous as a result of something they did. Sometimes it was something great. Sometimes it was something diabolic. But it was because of something.
Today, being famous is an act in itself.
And with all due deference to Andy Warhol, he was not even close with his 15 minutes of fame prediction. Today, everyone wants and has the ability to have a lifetime of fame (albeit dubious).
It appears we have become a Jackass society overrun with media whores who will do anything and everything as a means to become and remain famous.
Back in the 1970s, novelist Tom Wolfe coined the term me decade in New York magazine to describe the new American preoccupation with self-awareness and the collective retreat from history, community, and human reciprocity. In kind, I would like to coin the 2010s as the look at me decade to describe the new American preoccupation with narcissism and the quest to be seen, viewed, heard, recognized and acknowledged for being alive.
Never before in the history of our planet have so many done so little and expected so much in return. Look at me. Follow me. Friend me. Tweet me. Text me. Blog about me. Watch me. Listen to me. Validate my existence.
We can blame it on the media – both traditional and social. We can blame it on a universal religion that deifies fame. We can blame it on an internal and natural drive to be gods. We can blame it on a globally networked yet totally disconnected society of human beings who simply want to be noticed.
I have no idea what the true cause is, but for anyone who cares, here is what the smartest man to ever walk this fine Earth (Albert Einstein) had to say about fame:
“It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”