This week, my banal musings have been seen, or at least passed over, by people from Brazil to Belarus, Ghana to Germany and Austria to Australia. Today, three people in the USA read one of my posts. In a country of 300,000,000, that's quite a lot. Well, er, no, it's not. But who cares? I like to think that my posts have a certain literary merit in that they contain very few spelling mistakes, but the bigger picture is one that occupies my thoughts: that of fame.
Since Tim Berners-Lee gave us the internet (yes, it wasn't you, Mr. Gore), it has been possible, even more than before, to be famous for, er, being famous. The concept of celebrity was only ever in a nascent form until www made it possible for anyone to become well-known. Paris Hilton is probably the best example of this: capable of nothing, known only for a lineage she had no influence over and the odd internet-posted porn video, she has become fabulously wealthy in her own right for just being known. This point was brought home forceably to me when Fingernail I gave me a roll-call of her friends' costumes for this year's school carnival: "Louise is coming as a cowboy, Pauline as a cook and Garance as a 'star'".
'What do you mean, as a 'star'?'
'That's how she's dressing'
'OK, kid, listen up. When I was not even that young any more, fame was something you earned by your efforts, regardless of how tawdry, to achieve something. A shite pop singer, an untalented artist or an attention-seeking moron jumping up and down behind a BBC Correspondent in front of the House of Commons. It doesn't matter; the main thing was that you actually DID something. Nowadays, it seems you can actually become famous without even doing anything, hence the legitimisation of 'star' as a career choice. What's she a 'star' of? Singing? Reciting Chekhov in the original Russian? Gang-banging a football team on YouTube?' (OK, I didn't say that last bit, but you get the idea)'
'Just a 'star''
'I'm very depressed. Your daddy is considering ending it all' (OK, I didn't say etc etc)
Blogs are no different; we all know of a few who've lied and navel-gazed their way to material comfort by sheer virtue of the fact enough idiots were ensnared to lend their scribblings credence; one case also being helped by a rather spurious court case (which reeked of Max Clifford, incidentally). I used to check in to that blog from time to time but was appalled by the comments; there were clearly a lot of people out there who had no life of their own, emotionally living vicariously through a human being (and her daughter) they had never met and what's more, were never likely to. It was actually quite pathetic. Still, Ms Sanderson, you made it, so the idea of being famous for no reason really worked for you. I'll have a word with Garance; next year she can go dressed as you.