John Wilkes Booth, at an early age, once declared to a friend, "Fame! I must have fame!" Young Booth added that to achieve that fame, he would be willing to do anything, even tear down the Colossus of Rhodes.
Booth, of course, went on to gain glory immortal, first as a matinee idol of the first rank (crowds of smitten women would tear the clothes from the dashing actor, ala Elvis), later as the first presidential assassin in our history. Booth slew Lincoln primarily from motives patriotic, but not far behind this altruistic goal lurked that "F" word--Fame!
In the past, as now, fame and fortune generally go hand in hand, as do failure and infamy. With my quota of "F" words now used up, let me say that the rules have seemingly changed. Recently, there has been a spate of shameless attempts to gain the former but which have resulted in the latter.
How about that Denver balloon fraud (oops, there's that "F" word again). Who among us was not horrified as we watched in real time those vids of that event? The thought of that little kid up there made us sick. And who among us did not want to do some serious woodsheding of those irresponsible parents when we found out the truth? If this is all found to be true in court, then it was an atrocious, rotten, reckless, clumsy, cruel, and criminal attempt to garner fame; but fairly symptomatic of any culture which sets so high a premium on fame and so little on substance.
Not all attempts to gain fame are so radical as killing a president or staging your child's near death. How about the rage for "Fast-Eating" contests (above). Have you ever stuffed yourself on the holidays or after a trip to Huge Hal's "Eat-Til-You-Burst" Buffet? Well, imagine that feeling magnified times ten. Of all the attempts to gain fame--bunji jumping, rocketing the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle, etc--an eating contest must rank as the most desperate, disgusting and deadly, IMO. An exploding stomach or vomiting on camera is the type of fame most of us can do without. Imagine a hot pepper eating contest!
TV has created a culture that compels many of our weaker-minded brethren and sistern to try and live up to its ridiculous standards. In a single night of toob watching we see hundreds of filthy rich people living it up--cars, travel, sex, freedom from bills and wage slavedom. Like monkeys we see the pictures but many of us don't truly comprehend. We see the rich and famous and many of us try to become rich and famous NOW--forget the hard work and/or crawling sycophancy most go through to get what they got. Some of us don't see that. We see the bling and the vavavoom. We are living like pigs in trailer courts, shopping at Wal-Marts, driving junk heaps, tempted by drugs and booze. No wonder many of us want what celebrities have . . . and we want it now! Instant fame is one way to get it . . . or so we think.
Scary Clown of the Day