Editor’s note: This is the first part of multi-part series which discusses our collective pursuit of fame. In a world that puts so much emphasis and interest on our desire to chase fame, we simply wanted to ask….why? This is such a puzzling yet intriguing topic. Is it the proverbial “watch out for you wish for you just might get it” or is it a rainbow of riches and adulation? Once thing is for sure, everyone has a different opinion about it which is what makes it so fascinating to talk about. Let’s get started.
“Fame itself, of course, doesn’t really afford you anything more than a good seat in a restaurant. That must be pretty well known by now. I’m just amazed how fame is being posited as the be all and end all, and how many of these young kids who are being foisted on the public have been talked into this idea that anything necessary to be famous is all right. It’s a sad state of affairs.”
Fame. We all apparently want it and we all apparently go to great lengths to get it. But why? What is it about fame that is so engaging and irresistible that we have to have it? A recent interview given by Justin Bieber made us want to look deeper for an answer. (You can read the Bieber interview here). In this interview Bieber–who is merely 19 years old–talks about isolation and depression as a musician. As he puts it, “You get lonely, you know, when you’re on the road. People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don’t know the other side. This life can rip you apart.” The Beebs concluded by saying this:
“I feel isolated. You’re in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense. When you can’t go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed. I would not wish this upon anyone.”
Logically then, why would someone want to emulate Bieber and work their whole lives–while making significant sacrifices–only to feel isolated and depressed? Indeed, consider what Van Morrison once had to say about being famous:
“Being famous was extremely disappointing for me. When I became famous it was a complete drag and it is still a complete drag.”
Editor’s note: Bieber’s reaction is not unique. In 2014, Liam Payne–one of the frontmen for arguably one of the world’s most popular bands in One Direction–Tweeted this:
Had forgotten how lonely hotel rooms are
— Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) April 25, 2014
There are varying theories and opinions on why we chase fame which have been posited by commentators. Some have argued that our desire is driven by a need to escape from our surroundings, whether they be real or imagined. Another commentator, quoting a 2012 study, found that there are 6 reasons why we pursue fame:
1) Intensity (e.g., “Very little matters to me apart from being famous”
2) Vulnerability (e.g., “I want to be famous because it would help me overcome issues I have about myself”)
3) Celebrity Life-Style (e.g., “I want to be rich”)
4) Drive (e.g., “I work hard everyday to be famous”)
5) Perceived Suitability (e.g., “I have got what it takes to be famous”)
6) Altruistic (e.g., “I want to be famous so I can make a contribution to society”).
Finally, another author has concluded that the consequences of our childhood has a direct effect on our desire for fame.
Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor