fame is a type of existence
September 26, 2011 8:56 AM   Subscribe

help me find personal writings of intellectuals or artists on the topic of fame

the state of fame is one few experience, however the capacities of the famous to introduce change into the world are enormous relative to the capacities of most.

there are more than a few outsider texts on the subject and these are of absolutely no interest. reason for anathema: erik eriksons daughter's essay. anyhow

it seems as if, where the isolated individual dreams of a better world nihilistically or hopelessly, that is, dreaming an existence which cannot be rationally concluded from the individual's influence, the famous may have the opposite realization. that the entirety may be changed, perhaps dramatically, that the innumerable sufferings of the world may in fact be under to some extent controllable?

anyhow sorry, point is, implications of fame are numerous, incredible, devastating perhaps, and I'd like to see what those who have lived it thought of it. sorry if any of this lacks coherency, very tired right now and experiencing the concurrent feeling of dreaminess.
posted by past to Religion & Philosophy (18 answers total)
Response by poster: oh and i have no conscious theoretical affiliations, i mean please correct me as you like
posted by past at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2011

I'm assuming that you're looking for primary texts to analyze, not theory. In that case--and I'm absolutely serious about this--an awful lot of Eminem's oeuvre is about his own rise to fame and its effects on his listeners, his detractors and himself. The Eminem Show, in particular.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2011

See also Miss Stefani Germanotta.
posted by empath at 9:16 AM on September 26, 2011

Kurt Cobain's suicide note.
posted by John Cohen at 9:16 AM on September 26, 2011

Keith Richards' biography has some interesting passages.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:40 AM on September 26, 2011

It might be helpful to recognize that there are different kinds of fame -- it's a sliding scale, and not a binary switch. So someone who is a famous thoracic surgeon is going to have a different experience from someone who is a famous literary author, and both of them will have a different experience to someone like Lady Gaga. Each of them is famous, but in different circles, and it affects their lives in different ways.

Are you interested in a more blanket kind of fame, and therefore the writings of ex. Nobel Prize winners on how their fame has affected their lives, or are you only interest in celebrity?
posted by Andrhia at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2011

Response by poster: thank you so far.

i should clarify-
i am interested in people who are more than themselves, by this i mean those intellectuals or artists whose output is fundamentally premised on a cohesive integration with the reality of their time. representatives include goethe, newton, da vinci, extremities of the type as they are. but the more general nature of their character (according to my muddled understanding) is continual interaction with the world, and most importantly, an unwillingness to allow the falsities of lazy thinking any harbor in their work.

i don't know who in today's world is like this. is it even possible, haha, does the pace of human society exceed the human evolutionary capacity? whatever that means.

anyhow, sorry to digress like that. but the artists mentioned so far, certainly worthwhile, don't seem to recognize the enormity of their state? kurt cobain, adored, with the destructive flippancy of an animal. i mean a very simple logic demanded his continued existence? at least some public charade that tries to leave a good turn upon the world, and an escape into the night?

oh my i'm sorry, i'm not feeling quite well enough to make sense of what i'm saying here, and it looks as if i have made despiseful remarks on a suicide, which i never mean to do.

very familiar with eminem but good to be reminded
posted by past at 10:13 AM on September 26, 2011

Best answer: On of the most noted bits of writing on fame (well, somewhat about fame anyway), is The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

p.s The way you write is, um, scatterbrained at best. given that your past posts and comments don't display this problem makes me think you probably should not be on metafilter at the moment.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:27 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thank you, had that lingering suspicion. i'll be back after a good night's sleep. apologies for the incoherence.
posted by past at 10:40 AM on September 26, 2011

Best answer: A recent issue of Lapham's Quarterly was entirely devoted to the topic of celebrity, with writings by people from every walk of life, from cultural critics to celebrities themselves.
posted by LionIndex at 11:44 AM on September 26, 2011

Best answer: I'll be watching this question closely since I'm going to be producing some work for a show with precisely this theme. Here's a link to the Lapham's Quarterly archive that LionIndex noted. (Thanks LionIndex!)
posted by stagewhisper at 1:50 PM on September 26, 2011

Best answer: Daniel Boorstein wrote a book called The Image where he wrote the now familiar phrase that a celebrity is someone who is well known for being well know.

Here is a This American Life about fame with contribution from John Hodgemen which has stuck with me.

For a longer term perspective you might be interested in looking into the Curus Honorum, the ranks to Counsul that a Roman man on the make would climb. I think Syme has some good stuff on this.
posted by shothotbot at 4:29 PM on September 26, 2011

but the artists mentioned so far, certainly worthwhile, don't seem to recognize the enormity of their state? kurt cobain, adored, with the destructive flippancy of an animal. i mean a very simple logic demanded his continued existence? at least some public charade that tries to leave a good turn upon the world, and an escape into the night?

Yeah, I wasn't suggesting that Cobain was a good role model for anyone, but if you read his note, it's an interesting document on the effects of fame.
posted by John Cohen at 6:55 PM on September 26, 2011

Best answer: Russell Brand gave a surprisingly well-thought out and eloquently stated (if expressed at the speed of a chipmunk on meth) interview with Jeremy Paxman about fame.

I don't like his comedy, but I have been unwillingly swayed towards liking him as a person after watching this.
posted by elleyebeebeewhy at 11:28 PM on September 26, 2011

Response by poster: Rather than attempting, as I did very poorly yesterday, to explain my conception of fame and therefore engender easy retrievals based on my defining, I'll give a few examples, both from that Lapham's Quarterly, the first the words of Dickens, the second, Faulkner,

"I have come at last, and it is time I did, to my life here, and intentions for the future. I can do nothing that I want to do, go nowhere where I want to go, and see nothing that I want to see. If I turn into the street, I am followed by a multitude. If I stay at home, the house becomes, with callers, like a fair."

On appearing on the cover of Life,

"But I am more convinced and determined than ever that this is not for me. I will protest to the last: no photographs, no recorded documents. It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago and, like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them. It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: he made the books, and he died."

The sentiments of both are reasonable but not exceptionably so, the value is in the clear complexity of the men behind the words. This last sentence of mine is not exactly what I mean to express, but it is close enough, and I don't mean to write an essay here so I'll leave off here.
posted by past at 3:07 PM on September 27, 2011

Response by poster: @ellebeebeewhy

This is almost what I'm looking for, too bad that host messes things up right at the good part- Brand expresses fame has made him into an 'extracted icon', is asked if fame has changed his his self-perception, and Brand speaks of people which provide him the support and encouragement required for him to ignore the ignorant masses which devour his media image as if it were him.

Then the host asks about a prank phone call or some shit, and squanders his opportunity, to ask if Brand truly can ignore the fact that the majority of the earth know him in a way unknown to Brand himself.

Haha - I would give a lot of (imaginary) money to ask Russell, "There is a doppelganger in the world with your very name, and in most situations people would name that doppelganger as Russell Brand - not you. They would say you are the doppelganger, how does that make you feel, to know on some level you have become the faker?" But I wouldn't be mean about it!
posted by past at 4:37 PM on September 27, 2011

Response by poster: sometimes my questions are too specific i think
posted by past at 6:07 PM on September 27, 2011

Best answer: "...two very different accounts of how folks deal with the fallout of fame." From Microkhan.
posted by shothotbot at 9:35 AM on October 1, 2011

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