In 1961, Daniel Boorstin defined a celebrity as someone “who is known for his well-knownness”. Fame, Boorstin believed, was no longer meritocratic, earned by talent and accomplishment; instead, it had come to accrue mostly to hype and exhibitionism. In the years since, we have seen some twists on Boorstin’s theme.
It is, for example, now possible to become well known for not being well known, as was made plain in the American Express “Do You Know Me?” television commercials of some years ago. “Do you know me?”, asked the former US treasurer Francine Neff, indicating that although her signature appeared on every US bill minted in the mid 1970s, she needed her American Express card to be recognized.
Numerous social theorists have observed since Boorstin that while celebrity may have become no more meritocratic, at least it has become more democratic, more widely distributed. Thanks to the blogosphere and YouTube, ever more of us are able to call attention to our obscurity, and use our very lack of well-knownness as a springboard to fame.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
A Thought on Blogging
A thought that I picked up from a book review, penned by Andrew Stark: