The Downside of Fame

by | May 30, 2021 | Social psychology, Well-Being | 1 comment

A few years back I bought a bag of carrots at a grocery store. The bag had the picture and name of the farmer who “proudly grew” the carrots. The carrots were so bitter as to be inedible. I thought about contacting the guy and giving him feedback on his carrots.

It turned out that I had better things to do, but I suspect the poor bloke heard complaints about his bitter harvest from other carrot connoisseurs. Fame can be unpleasant.  

There are movies and songs about fame. Have you seen the movie Fame, about young performers struggling to make it to the top? The movie’s theme song, sung by Irene Cara, has these words: “I’m gonna live forever. I’m gonna learn how to fly.”

Some people seek fame like addicts wanting a fix. It is extremely hard to climb up to the fame pedestal, and it is hard to stay there.

In the song Fame, Davie Bowie sings: “what you like is in the limo…what you get is no tomorrow.”

I used to want to be famous – to perform in front of 80,000 screaming fans. Then I learned what fame can lead to.

John Lennon and George Harrison both were attacked because of their fame. George survived; John did not.

The most famous individuals – like Taylor Swift, Dr Fauci, and the PM — must have guards near them at all times to protect them from attack. That could get oppressive – and awkward.

Then there are the famous individuals who suffer a bump in the career and kill themselves. A fall from high up the career and fame ladder can seem devastating. Comedian Freddie Prinze went that way.

Limitless drugs often go with fame, at least with music fame. I won’t list the huge number of great musicians who have wrecked themselves with drugs. Some have died; some have continued on, damaged.

Famous individuals face the hassle of paparazzi jumping out of bushes or using telephoto lenses. It is hard enough being photographed for a living, as models are. With paparazzi, the photographer pockets all the money, and the famous person has no schedule of when to look good.

My life in obscurity does not seem bad in comparison. You can call my view of fame being a curse as well as a blessing an example of sour grapes, if you want. I fly under the radar – I am obscure but free. How about you?


Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

1 Comment

  1. Thank you! Very interesting.

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