Saturday, July 10, 2021


This morning K was responding to an article in face-place about the most famous people she ever had a conversation with. It made us question what makes someone famous. Naturally, the first thought was of celebrities, but very quickly we agreed that it should be much more personal than that.

When I went to check online who the most famous people in the world are currently, I found that I didn't know most of them and wouldn't want to know several others. Most of them - no surprise - are men. The most famous person has a nickname (The Rock) and was a professional wrestler. My grandfather spent some time as a pro wrestler and he was famous - to me. 

There is a book that was published last year that I might purchase to further my understanding of the phenomenon of worship of fame: Celebrity Mad: Why Otherwise Intelligent People Worship Fame, by Professor Brett Kahr. 

When I think of the famous people I have been introduced to (a very small list, admittedly) I cannot imagine any that I would be able to even have a conversation with. 

So, what is fame? Why would I, or anyone, get excited about these people? Yes, I might watch a movie with them acting in it. They might be in a position to change my life by making laws that I would like or not. But why would that make them important to me personally? 

As I wrote above, my famous people are the ones who have made a difference in my life. K is famous - to me. So are my children. Seeing the face of someone who makes a difference in your life should give you a warm feeling. It might give you the shivers; I always know something I am experiencing is important and wonderful when it sends a shiver up my spine. 

Nobody on that computer-generated list gives me the shivers. One makes me shudder, but that is different. 

 “Grown-ups love figures... When you tell them you've made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? " Instead they demand "How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? " Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”  - Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince


  1. I'm not sure that I can go along with you on some of the things you say. Famous means someone who is known by many people. I don't see, therefore, how it can be made personal. In fact I think that 'famous' is a total non-word. [I would add as an aside that 'infamous' shares the same characteristics.]

    When I hear/read the word 'famous', my immediate reaction is stomach-dropping. "Oh?" says I. Who really knows that person? Who'd, indeed, want to?

    Something else I do not understand, which you allude to [ahem! to which you allude!] When one looks up a person on the internet, one of the first questions asked is, "What are they worth?" Who cares? Well some people do obviously. But why?

    I suspect the use of the word 'famous' says more about the person using it, rather than the person to which it is applied. Sad! It smacks of wannabe-itis.

    Nice hearing from you, famous person. :)

  2. My attitude is to treat friends as celebrities and celebrities as friends, meaning I celebrate my personal friends to a high level and consider famous folk to be no better than anyone else. The artificial notion of celebrity, created by the emergence of media in the 20th Century, is bizarre and, I believe, toxic to humans.

  3. The lyrics sum it up well don’t they ! Fame increasingly represents what is very well known but not always what’s talented. Like yourself i haven’t met many famous people with some unimpressive in the flesh whist others refreshingly pleasant and humble. Best wishes