I Found That Essence Rare
James Lileks is an excellent columnist and astute observer of the human condition. His piece today on blog celebrity contains this clever old-skool cultural insight on how if everyone is famous than nobody is famous:
Maybe it’s meant to refer to gawkers, the sort of people you can imagine standing around an accident in 1952 – pimply losers, neighborhood bullies, crass gum-snapping young ladies without breeding or deportment, the sort of urban extras who lived their lives without the expectation that they might gain notoriety or fame in some fleeting yet life-changing way. Today everyone thinks they can be famous, and consequently it means nothing to be known. Back then the gulf between the ordinary person and the big faces on the screen or the newsstands was so great that no one expected to be famous or important. So when something happened – an accident, a fire, a visiting star – you stood close, you looked, and in looking you drew a small measure of importance. That was as close as you’d ever get.