There used to be a society rule that the name of a respectable person was only supposed to appear in print three times: birth, marriage and death.

When did the norm become the exact opposite?

Why have we become a society that longs to be known? Was it sometime in the sixties, when Andy Warhol stated that everyone has “fifteen minutes of fame”, or did Warhol just understand where society was headed?

Was is it about fame that makes many crave it so intensely?

Do we just want to do something so wonderful that we deserve to be celebrated? Do we want to win a big award, Oscar, Nobel, Pulitzer? Do we want to be recognized as outstanding in our field? I understand this perception: we spend twenty years studying some arcane physics principal, it’s proven correct, and suddenly we’re in Stockholm wearing fancy dress and bowing to the king. You want to be recognized for your hard work and contribution to society. To be fair though, I don’t know how many people know the names of any Nobel laureates, while many have probably heard of Oscar winners….

But what about other ways of seeking fame?

It’s been noted that some serial killers actually thrived on the press that they received. They wanted to have their monikers in bold on the front of the tabloids. Notorious strangler Dennis Rader actually gave himself the nickname “BTK”. Maybe it wasn’t his real name, but he was pretty proud to have it bandied about… I guess you could say they were trying to be recognized for work in their field, but really….Why?

What about people who push the boundaries? YouTube personality Logan Paul made headlines when he went to a spot known for suicides and actually filmed a body. He did it so that he would get publicity for his channel. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Luckily, he was called out for his antics, and issued an apology for his behavior. But the damage was already done. He did something disrespectful in the name of fame, which is just sad and horrible. Unfortunately, he probably became a hero to some. I’m sure there are people who think this is just fine, and are probably thinking what they could do to top that.

How about people that actually risk death and serious injury by performing stupid stunts for their channels? The theory being that if they do something incredibly stupid or risky, people will watch. People will know who they are. And really, isn’t that what’s most important?

Why have we become so insecure that we think people have to know who we are in order for us to matter?

When did our self worth as individuals become tied into how others view us?

Like

Please like me.

Even if you don’t like me, hit the button so I know that I’m liked on social media. Because of everyone else thinks I’m OK, then all is good with the world. Doesn’t matter if I don’t like myself because I got 500 likes on my post…

You must continue to feed the fire of fame. Society has the attention span of a gnat. You have to get your name out there again and again and again. Your name only in print three times in your life? What? That’s crazy.

Selfies. Tags. Photo bombs. Wave at the TV camera when you’re in the crowd.

Fame is acceptance.

Your name in print means you exist.

We need to prove to ourselves that we exist.

 

 

 

44 thoughts on “Birth, Marriage, Death

  1. We do need to prove that we exist.

    Maslow (had to Google his name- it’s been a long time) had his theory on hierarchy of human needs and near the top is status and esteem. Of course, the same theory is now known by various, fancier labels, but the idea remains the same. Humans move up through the basic core needs of survival and once those are met, we want to be known.
    I’ve wondered if we seek social rewards, (fame) as a way to prove that we not only exist but have also navigated life itself. But, what if we aren’t all that successful with the basic stuff–food, shelter, safety, etc.?

    I think there’s a concept in psychology now that notes those needs may get muddled up, with something like status taking precedence over and even driving us forward if basic needs haven’t been achieved. So does that mean many who are seeking fame are also dealing with unresolved aspects of their lives? What are teens lacking to pursue like after like after like? What has driven an adult to seek attention in extreme ways…
    And of course, what role does society play in fostering all this attention seeking…

    Liked by 5 people

      1. You’re welcome 😉
        I sincerely am not trying to take over your writing, this is just the way my mind works. I am full of questions that usually never lead to concrete answers! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just read Chelsea’s comment, which throws in another twist and is really interesting- the materialistic needs of young adults today. That comment made me feel very removed from reality in that I don’t necessarily view young adults in that way. At least the ones I know are much more about doing and giving outwardly to others, the world. I wonder if I’m missing something being of a different generation…?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone needs validation and to feel like he matters to another person. With the internet, our little ponds have become fathomless oceans. The breakdown of families has led to seeking support in friends and strangers. Seeing one person succeed means people feel like failures if they can’t get at least a few ‘likes.’

    Also, doing crazy things and getting followers means $$$. This rising generation likes the idea of less-difficult work that brings them fame AND money.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Chelsea, your comment made me stop and think. The materialism you mention is not something I see personally. That doesn’t mean it’s not a part of the entire fame and esteem search though. Thanks for including that aspect and giving us something else to ponder over.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 😀 I’m probably going from watching YouTube ‘stars’ with my kids, and from reading article after article after content-writing-job description about how to get the public’s attention -all to make money.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, very interesting topic once again. I was so excited recently to be featured in a newsletter from a blogger/author friend and since he has so many more “followers” than I do it feels like my “15 minutes of fame.” Of course I am hoping that some of this exposure leads to a sales or two on my Etsy site but since my goal is to spread some happiness with my creations, is that really greed? I don’t think I need the attention for my self-esteem but maybe I do to prove that what I’m doing has a place in the world? I am happy to promote his writing on my blog as well but I didn’t do it just so he would mention me on his. The way young people use YouTube now is amazing and a bit alarming. “Social media influencer” is a term used a lot and I know that not all the influence is for the right reasons. (I’m thinking of Lori Laughlin’s daughter for one). It will be interesting to read your follow up posts on this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It used to be you were famous or infamous. I think people are tired of being just a cog in the great gear of life. They want to be noticed for their contribution to the world and if it is not very noteworthy then they strive to make themselves noticed. Kids graduate from high school trying to figure out what to do with their life to make their mark and they are faced with social media posts by people that haven’t done anything other than post “perfect” pictures. Being a normal person was a good thing, but now if you don’t strive to make millions and have loads of followers your life and time spent learning is a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A significant portion of the world’s marginalized and poor (population) live in anonymity. Ditto, the meek. Once a platform – internet – was created to self publish, promote, expose … well, there you go. Fancy Apes started clicking selfies and speaking. We’ve all whored ourselves to this later culling to some degree. I have fantasies of anytime before 1980.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It does seem that this nearly universal craving for fame is a modern phenomenon. As said earlier re: Maslow, it could be a function of a higher standard of living.

    There’s a quote attributed to Alan Alda that I like, “It’s not necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. Just rich.” 😆

    We all enjoy recognition for our accomplishments, I believe, but fame is a whole level beyond that. Some people are famous even though they’ve accomplished nothing but getting people to recognize their name or face. It’s ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I wonder whether we are seeking to fulfil a basic need for connection? The way we relate to those around us has changed – whether that’s as a result of social media or not I don’t know. Maybe if we don’t have the deep connections that we’re looking for in face to face relationships we turn to social media as a kind of substitute? I know loneliness is a killer but I guess that’s not the same issue as the seeking fame thing. Not sure – just mulling this over. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s funny, but today’s blog is sort of about this idea. I didn’t think of it as this way at first, but after posting yesterday and talking to others I wondered this same thing

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been researching Depression and one theory is that a lack of purpose and community can be a large contributor. Social media is a two edged sword. It can provide community, but it can also provide a goldfish bowl of FOMO rather than JOMO. Interesting post & great comments LA, I look forward to seeing where this goes. Good to see Maslow and his theories getting an airing too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I “like” your post and all the discussions. Are we all just looking for as many “likes” as possible, or are we just really wanting to be “loved” and “accepted” and know that we have made some positive contribution to another person’s life?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like something to show, hey, I was here and I appreciate what you do. I don’t care how many likes I get, I just like connecting with others. But there are people who will take something down if it doesn’t get enough “likes”. That’s where the problem starts…when your self esteem and worth is directly related to likes

      Liked by 2 people

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