Fame is a Fickle Food

Responding to Reena’s challenge # 133 ” OUTLASTING THE FICKLENESS OF FAME.
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/reenas-exploration-challenge-133/

“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare me a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German, and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

Albert Einstein

There are millions of wonderful singers, actors, artists, writers and generally very talented people but only a very few become famous. Fame once gained must be cherished and held close with the help of public relation companies and image makers to ensure the public image remains untarnished. For fame is fickle and can be washed away in an instant by the tide of public opinion. In the Golden Days of Hollywood celebrities would bask in their public image, protected by the powerful studios, their private lives never up for debate, except for extreme circumstances. Today a YouTube video can raise an unknown personality to instant stardom, conversely a mistimed or inappropriate tweet can destroy years of building a public celebrity persona.

Social media is used by political and corporate institutions to raise new icons as the public persona of their product. Greta Thunberg as the face of the environmental movement is the most current obvious example. Steered along by a hidden committee of environmental activists she has been thrust into the limelight to expound on the dangers of climate change to a young audience who can better relate to a person from their own generation.

In today’s environment it is hard to outlast the fickleness of fame. The personal lives of famous icons from years past have been dissected in the public arena and found wanting by today’s standards. Heroes from the past should not be judged by today’s societal values. Mother Theresa walked the streets of Calcutta and noticed people dying, unnoticed, lying neglected in the streets, while people passed by. So she took them in and recruited other women to take care of these unwanted souls. She became an icon. Last year an article appeared which accused the Sisters of Charity of using unsanitary medical practices in their treatment of the poor. People find it easier to criticize rather than help move the human race forward.

Perhaps one of the greatest out pouring of grief occurred in England at the untimely death of Princess Diana in a 1997 car accident. The response to her death was truly phenomenal and she achieved cult like status in the months following her death. In her case fame was not fickle and increased exponentially after her death. I guess the answer to outlasting the fickleness of fame is to die young.

Fame is a fickle food

Upon a shifting plate

Whose table once a

Guest but not

The second time is set.

Whose crumbs the crows inspect

And with ironic caw

Flap past it to the

Farmer’s Corn—

Men eat of it and die.

Emily Dickinson

Published by lensdailydiary

Born Stepney, London, England. Emigrated to Canada. Married, two children, six grandchildren. Retired. Conservative and cultural catholic. LOVE soccer. Tottenham Hotspur. Read historical and fantasy fiction..

16 thoughts on “Fame is a Fickle Food

  1. I thought it was your poem, and then I read Emily Dickinson.

    What Diana’s death generated had an element of sympathy for her unusual life, rather than royal privilege. It takes that something extra, a connect to the masses, an appeal to popular imagination which carries one beyond the glamour of fame.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous post…and Diana remains a compelling figure. She accomplished more from the “lack” she received by those who should have loved her, pouring herself out to the forgotten in need, than she might have if she’d remained stuck in Charles empty world. I hope that isn’t blasphemy.

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    1. I found Diana a very complicated figure. She needed to be loved and wanted but seemed to be looking in all the wrong places. She was extremely photogenic with quiet charisma. I agree that she blossomed and found her own path after she left Charles behind.

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  3. All very true. Great post and thought provoking. Who do I allow that “claim to fame” on my psyche or attitudes or choices? Ironically, there seems to be for many, an almost equal conflicting desire to find an human object to worship and then to find any excuse, no matter how much hindsight or petty contrariness, to gleefully topple their human idol from his or her pedestal. One of the first poems I ever memorized:
    I’m nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
    They ’d banish us, you know
    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public, like a frog T
    o tell your name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!

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    1. So very true Jane. We make idols of celebrities and when they fail to respond as we wish we cast them down. The Nobody poem by Emily Dickinson is also well suited to the subject of fame.

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  4. This resonates deeply. I have been thinking about the hollowness of social media a great deal lately. Not WordPress – I don’t even think of that as social media – but all the rest – it has a sham temporary quality to it even though if left unclosed it exists for seemingly ever.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly Kate. I left Facebook, too much advertising and scams. I still use Twitter but in a desultory, I don’t really care kind of way. I use it more to see what’s the latest conversation going on.

      Liked by 1 person

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