Fame? No Thanks

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We have done a horrible thing, as a culture. Actually, we have done many, but the one I want to focus on is our horrific worship of any and all things famous. It’s not enough we have had a long history of idolizing famous actors, musicians, and athletes, now we have included all things attached to them. When a sporting event like the Super Bowl becomes more about the A-list people and their posing for the cameras to create an image of perfection, we have lost our way.

No matter how much we try to pretend athletes and their wives are just like us, they aren’t. They are nothing like us. However, since we live miserable existences, scratch and claw to get by in life, or lie awake at night wondering if we measure up to everyone else, we stopped living our own lives and in their place, live vicariously through those we wish we could be.

Fame comes with a huge price and most of us have no clue what it entails. Today’s flavor of the month might be Taylor Swift, but let’s not forget what fame did to the likes of Elvis, the 27 club, John Lennon, or Michael Jackson.

As the great Paul Simon once said, “Every generation throws a hero up the pop chart.” How many of those heroes make it to old age?  Those who do are often mocked for their attempt to remain relevant. How many spent a great deal of their fame in a drug induced stupor and were slaves to their image and the machinery it involved? How many are forced into singing songs, playing roles, and just being a certain way in order to remain what the public craves?

Let’s count backwards. Cher has had more plastic surgery than anyone ever imagined when she hit it big with Sony. She is twelve years older than Madonna, who at 65, has had plenty of procedures of her own. Mariah Carey is ten years younger than Madonna and has not exactly handled fame and all of its pitfalls all that well. Are the Kardashians relevant anymore? What happened to Faith Hill or Shania Twain?

This brings us to the likes of Taylor and Miley. The list is never ending because like the Eagles sang, “There’s a new kid in town.” There’s always a new kid in town no matter the line of work. However, the new kids bring their spouses and children because it’s not enough being famous, you need to be a brand. Thank Michael Jordan for that.

Men are not any different. Fame has destroyed countless rock stars, athletes, actors, and let’s not forget politicians. While I am at it, do not forget your famous preachers and their spouses, self-help gurus, and doctors who appear on TV and are touted by the likes of Oprah, despite them always having something to sell.

Taylor Swift had to fly from Japan to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. She had no choice. It was either soak up the spotlight or risk disappointing fans. What a pathetic existence. Her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, has a brother who also plays football. He had to go cheer on his brother, shirtless beer guzzling buffoon and all, in order to keep the spotlight on their perfect family. At least football players know how fleeting their careers are.

If you have ever known anyone famous and seen first-hand how it can destroy great minds and talents, you’d never wish fame on anyone. Vultures, leeches, and people who actually think you might be a regular person will come at you from every direction and they will do to you what society does to us mortals; place you into a box and try to profit off you as much as possible. If you die in the process, they will go on without you. It’s why artists like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Prince, and The Beatles still remain huge money makers.

The sad thing is if you are unable or unwilling to keep up with the demands of stardom, the corporations who back you will go on without you. You will be labeled toxic and gaslit before you know what happens. Welcome to life as a has-been. If you are lucky, you won’t care.

“Fame, I want to live forever,” sang a girl who for the life of me I can’t think of anything else she ever sang. I think she is dead. I don’t even remember who she is. All I know is scores of females have come and gone since her and most of them I can’t remember either.

“Don’t you know that you are a shooting star, yeah, and all the world will love you, just as long, as long as you are, a shooting star.”  Fame has eaten up more people than we can remember, mostly because as soon as it does, we replace them with several others. We might feel sad over their demise, celebrate their birth and death dates on social media, and then tune into their replacement without thought.

The slave sale ended centuries ago, but America is still in the business of selling people. Every sports league holds draft picks where teams buy humans to be used to make money off of their labor. Companies buy job seekers, and then proceed to work them to death only to replace them with new meat.

Fame is purchased as well, and if the recipient is compliant enough, he or she will see their children added to the list of famous.  Don’t be fooled by their glamor, smiles, or even what is sold to us as talent. They are bound and shackled to the movers and shakers who live in the shadows while offering the bright lights of fame.

If you think I am lying,  just look at the level of nepotism in the world of the arts or sports. Then again, it’s no different than any other profession. It’s just that the famous work extra hard at keeping their club as exclusive as possible. Just as slave owners learned, it is much easier to raise future famous people from the genes of those you enslaved.

We live in a culture where we are brainwashed into wanting what other people have.  If we can’t have their fame, maybe we can have their music, shoes, perfume, watches, and the endless crap they sell to keep their machine rolling while we dream of being, “just like them.”  Get over it. No matter how hard you try, you will never be like them. They want your money, but they don’t want you in their club. They are using you every bit as any other corporation uses consumers.


Why do so many in this country ooh and aah over artists whose sole job is to really make us forget what a screwed up and unjust world we live in? We have long lost respect for the people we elect and have placed artists on a pedestal built on a foundation of sand. Their fame is unsustainable and no matter how much we wish otherwise, these people have long forgotten where they came from and who they are.

Seriously, ask yourself, would you ever trade your life as an average Joe or Jane for that of Robin Williams? How about Tom Petty Amy Winehouse? Thomas Kinkade? Janis Joplin?

Go ahead and select a field where we reward fame and ask if you think they had a better life than you?  And those are just a few of the famous dead people. Think of those who can’t go anywhere without the paparazzi hounding them so they can feed whatever social media beast you are tuned into to live vicariously through someone else. How about the ones who struggle with mental health, addiction, and the worst one of all, loneliness?

The next time you don’t feel like working and you call in sick, think about that famous athlete, singer, or actor who has to show up because their fans demand it, the same fans they have grown to loathe. The ones who worship them while being clueless to who they really are.

If you do not think fame changes an individual or a group, who of my generation would have ever thought it was likely that a band as famous as U2 would do a Las Vegas residency?  Seriously. Vegas for months from a rock band that grew so famous it had to grab the money and do what their big machine told them to do. “Rock is dead.”

Don’t worry. Country music is also dead. It’s nothing more than corporate music that rewards those who play nice, lack originality, and play by the rules set by their masters. Rap too. You see, “artists” long ago sold their souls to the devil in exchange for being famous. It’s no longer better to burn out than fade away. In fact, once they are dead, just prop up their bodies and play a recording and the fans will eat it up. Better yet, just have AI produce new music from the dead.

What a great life it must have been to die sitting on a toilet before the age of 50 or choking to death on your vomit. How wonderful to know those closest to you planned for your eventual demise because of your failing mental health while profiting all they could? What a wonderful life to have to endure excruciating pain to play to sold out fans on a tour only to drop dead from an accidental overdose ten days after the tour ends because of that pain?

Still, despite all the evidence that tells us of the pitfalls of fame, our culture worships it more than any god. I am not a church goer or believer in organized religion, mainly because I think they are selling you a brand just like the famous do. However, what does religion say about the dangers of worshiping false idols?

How many rush to church services in the morning to get home in time to worship the many famous artists and athletes connected to the Super Bowl? There’s also the awards season in the performing arts. Who was and was not nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony? Oscars? Grammys? Emmys? Heck, who was employee of the year so we can talk about him or her?

We live in a sick culture, filled with people programmed to be amused, excited, and turned on by the famous while the real power brokers rob us blind. We care more about the outcome of an awards show than we do an election where one candidate wants to destroy all our nation was built on. We seek to purchase as many disposable items as we can because while we need to keep up with the Jones’, we will never become one. We fail to enjoy the moment because we are sad about what we don’t have or anxious about what to get next.

Fame can’t rest. Fame can’t go on vacation. Fame requires being on 24/7 and going to any lengths to be relevant. Vacations must be planned so you are seen. When you are taking a break, there are countless others coming after your crown. It’s yours to wear only briefly, just as the leader of any pack is only temporary.

What’s permanent is your life, your ordinary existence that is all too often ignored because you get caught up in how you are viewed instead of just enjoying life. Fame is never permanent. At best, the famous will have a career that ebbs and flows. Think of any great artist who has been around a long time and you will see periods where they were irrelevant. You will learn of their struggles with fame, addiction, and countless other issues we fail to see when the camera is showing them playing to the crowd at a ballgame. You will learn of those who left Hollywood so they could raise a family in a “normal” environment. Basically, they grew tired of being used and sought refuge away from fame.

If you want to sell your soul to the devil, then be prepared to be incinerated by the flames of fame. They will burn you alive and once there is nothing left but your ashes, there will be scores of others waiting to replace you.