If a meteor were spotted tomorrow hurtling towards the Earth, you could bet that some shirtless Mike Sorrentino clone would spend his final minutes lip-syncing Rihanna in an attempt to rake up hits before impact.

Actually Justin, famous starts with f, not v. Pic: AP

As astronauts snapped the glowing explosion with their mobiles, old people made out on the beach and random 17-year-olds concluded their wedding vows, he would grin triumphantly. “At least I’m famous,” he would say as the television turned to static and the chanting began.

At any given moment, millions of people are sprinting toward fame, with no clue as to what they’ll do if and when they finally grasp it. Encouraged by the handful of well-publicised success stories, they cheerfully upload their auto-tuned vocals, tear-streaked rants and subway dance routines.

Well, it’s time to stop. Enough. Put away the Gumby costume and stop that ironic fire-twirling. It’s exhausting. We all know it’s not impulsive and spontaneous and nobody thinks it’s cute.

Not everyone needs to be famous, even though we’ve convinced ourselves that we all deserve to be. The lonelygirl15s and Rebecca Blacks of the world have helped peddle the idea that everyone ought to publish an outlandish video on the off chance that some drooling TV exec spies it.

People launch themselves into that great internet and reality TV vortex, which spins and spins and lifts random t-shirt designers and sexy farmers into the stratosphere before slamming them into the ground and leaving them dizzy, confused and vomiting glitter uncontrollably.

Millions of people think that if they don’t find thousands of strangers to publicly acknowledge their existence, they will permanently vanish.

Twitter and Facebook, for example, are not successful because people want to hear about their friends every minute of every day. They’re successful because people want to talk about themselves endlessly, without pause.

Fame should be reserved for the extraordinary, not bestowed upon the conveniently visible. It would be far too easy, otherwise, for the extraordinary to be lost among the muck.

Mankind already ignored the first great warning, blinded by a video of a 12-year-old innocently singing and strumming a guitar. Today, we are unable to escape the glare of that walking blend of Clearasil and conditioner we call “Justin Bieber”.

While the internet is a remarkable creation that allows people and cats to share their brightest sides, a solid percentage of it is arguably devoted to indulging irritating people.

Though it has propelled a lucky - and occasionally deserving - few into stardom, YouTube is not some magic wormhole to the Playboy Mansion. It is often a giant vat of bubbling stupidity, where creatures of all shapes gather to lap at its edges and endlessly backwash.

For every clever clip or glimmer of genius - of which there are certainly many - there is a video so eye-gougingly annoying that it makes you want to fold your brain into tiny pieces of origami and cast them into the sea.

And so, let’s resist the urge to chase those fleeting 15 seconds. Our lives are no less important or entertaining if they never appear on a stranger’s laptop screen. Let’s reserve our clicks for the truly worthy and praise with caution.

Now, who wants to buy a Gumby suit and help me turn this into a YouTube video?

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Davida says:

      06:14am | 20/10/11

      Thanks Jason.  I don’t know why,  but about three paragraphs in I started to mentally hum the 1988 “classic” When Will I Be Famous by Bros.  There goes my working day.

    • stephen says:

      07:41am | 20/10/11

      Love is a bridge, get over it, or stay underneath the radar.

    • subotic says:

      08:17am | 20/10/11

      “There goes my working day”

      Mine too. Thanks for nothing Davida

    • Aitch B says:

      09:21am | 20/10/11


      Well, according to Pat Benatar, “Love is a Battlefield”. I think I prefer your bridge…. smile

    • Anne71 says:

      12:29pm | 20/10/11

      LOL @ Davida - Same here! smile That’s showing my (our?) age… raspberry

    • acotrel says:

      06:18am | 20/10/11

      Pauline Hanson is famous, and so is Tony Abbott !

    • Damocles says:

      07:51am | 20/10/11

      Gillard, Brown, Oakeshott, Windsor and Wilkie are infamous!

    • Direct says:

      08:21am | 20/10/11

      “Infamous? What does that mean?”

      “It means, really famous!”

    • Anthony Sharwood

      Anthony Sharwood says:

      06:46am | 20/10/11

      No way, that happened to me too

    • fairsfair says:

      09:01am | 20/10/11

      I’m sure you’re wondering why but…

      I can’t answer, I can’t answer that.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:22am | 20/10/11

      The article is right, but I don’t think it identified the problem.

      It’s not just that we want to be famous, but that a lot of us are confusing fame for infamy.

      It’s the lo-rent version of “Any publicity is good publicity”, and that might be true if you’re McDonalds; it’s not so much when you’re Joe Average.

      Infamy is still infamy. Unless you’re Ross Noble, millions of people laughing at you is not a good thing.

    • Redeker Plan says:

      11:30am | 20/10/11

      “It’s not just that we want to be famous, but that a lot of us are confusing fame for infamy.  It’s the lo-rent version of “Any publicity is good publicity”, and that might be true if you’re McDonalds; it’s not so much when you’re Joe Average.”

      Absolutely right Mahrat.  AKA Corey Worthington syndrome.  To be PROPERLY famous you require a talent, and an above average ability to apply that talent.  The vast majority of the world, including myself, simply don’t have that.  I realised back when I was 18 that try as I might, I would never be a rock star.  So I gave up, and am now a happy librarian.  If the internet had been around when I was a teenager, would I have got my boobs out on YouTube or gone out my way to root a footballer to start my modelling career?  Probably not.  Because my parents and friends would have told me I sucked and brought me back down to earth before I made a fool of myself.

      I think this syndrome ties in with helicopter parenting as mentioned elsewhere on the Punch today.  Kids today are by and large being raised to believe that they are the quintessential special snowflake, with the world just waiting with bated breath to hear from their astounding talent.  That’s how you end up with Bieber/Rebecca Black, etc, no one is allowed to pull these kids aside and tell them gently that modelling is not going to be their future and to maybe concentrate on getting educated, because any criticism might damage their self-esteem.

    • Nic says:

      04:57pm | 20/10/11

      Paris Hilton spent years pretending to be stupid.

      Now she’s got everything from fragrance to clothing lines. She was always rich but was previously just a standard heiress.

      She turned fame into infamy and you can too! Just takes the guts to get out there.

    • Fiona says:

      07:04pm | 20/10/11

      Nic, grandaddy disinherited her, so she needed to put out fragrence etc lines. She was no longer a standard heiress

    • Al says:

      07:40am | 20/10/11

      I would MUCH rather have power and NOT be famous. Then I might be able to get things done without having to worry about how it would impact on my image or popularity.

      Rule from the shadows, the power BEHIND the government etc.

    • Scarface says:

      09:27am | 20/10/11

      “First you get the money.  Then you get the power.  Then you get the women!”

      Not sure where fame fits into it.

    • egg says:

      11:19am | 20/10/11

      @scareface, you mean i’ve been collecting all this sugar for nothing?!

    • Al says:

      12:02pm | 20/10/11

      Better to not be famous, then all your well known or famous pawns get the blame when things turn to crap, not you.

      Non-accountability, beautiful.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:33pm | 20/10/11

      I prefer the approach of the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork. “He believed in ‘One Man, One Vote’. He is the Man, and he has the Vote.” wink
      I sometimes think Australia would work much better if it was run by the Patrician.

    • palone says:

      12:39pm | 20/10/11

      Al, you mean like, “Santamaria!” 
      The power behind my throne flushes my toilet, and that’s how it should be.

    • Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo says:

      01:16pm | 20/10/11

      @ Egg - brilliant.

      Where’d you get that sugar, buddy?... I knicked it, when your back was turned…

    • Timinane says:

      03:23pm | 20/10/11

      Yes but then you become the faceless villian of every coup, bad politcal decision and castrated in every ranty political post on the internet.

      I’d rather be the faceless man behind the faceless men who run the Australian way of life then I would spring forth and save the Australian way of life… oops not supposed to mention that last part.

    • TheBigMicka says:

      04:09pm | 20/10/11

      @Anne71 - it’s quite possible that posts referring to the Discworld are wasted in this forum.  I loved it though.

    • Mark G says:

      07:51am | 20/10/11

      Love the article.

      The only thing I would add is the key driving force. The same thing that drives protests like ‘occupy Wall Street’. The over inflated sense of entitlement that the present generations maintain (Gen Y being the worst so far)

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:52am | 20/10/11

      Just another symbol of the sick and narcissistic society we’re in. All style and no substance with a bunch of desperate wannabes seeking fame and fortune the easy way.

      Little do they realise that it’s better to be the puppet-master than the puppet. But the former takes work and dedication to hone their craft. The latter is a disposable piece of garbage that is painted to excite a crowd of bored simpletons with short attention spans.

    • Anna C says:

      10:22am | 20/10/11

      Too right. What is Kim Kardashian famous for? Her arse and hair I think? What does the girl actually do for a living? In the olden days people were famous for actually doing something well but not anymore. Now all it takes is a sex tape and lots of PR.

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:27pm | 20/10/11

      and don’t forget a rich daddy and a reality TV show

    • sam says:

      07:57am | 20/10/11

      Anyone else think of Love actually when they heard Beiber is doing a christmas song?

      “wouldn’t it be great if Number One this Christmas wasn’t some smug teenager, but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price? ... So if you believe in Father Christmas, children, like your Uncle Billy does, buy my festering turd of a record. And particularly enjoy the incredible crassness ”

    • redvixen says:

      08:42am | 20/10/11

      Me, too!  I love this movie!  I love this quote!

    • Woodsy says:

      11:41am | 20/10/11

      Brilliant analogy Sam!

    • acotrel says:

      08:04am | 20/10/11

      ‘Infamy is still infamy. Unless you’re Ross Noble, millions of people laughing at you is not a good thing.’

      We won’t be laughing if he becomes PM !

    • C1 says:

      08:22am | 20/10/11

      Who - Ross Noble???

      Acotrel - famous, Infamous or just special!

    • acotrel says:

      09:20am | 20/10/11

      ‘Who - Ross Noble???’
      NO - chicken brain !

    • VVS says:

      09:34am | 20/10/11

      @ acotrel

      Lol… do you even know who Ross Noble is…?

    • C1 says:

      10:11am | 20/10/11


      What is chicken brain is that somehow in an article with no definitive political link you somehow see the need to bring Tony Abott into the commentary.

      That is more than stupid, it is sad-very,very sad.

    • Steve says:

      08:17am | 20/10/11

      Too many idiots mistake notoriety for fame.

      Even worse, our brain dead media mistake notoriety for actual celebriety.

    • Kebabpete says:

      10:50am | 20/10/11

      And the same media confuse that again with News. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to watch the news or read a paper only to be bombarded with “News” about some celebrity.

    • C1 says:

      08:25am | 20/10/11

      As Judge Smail from Caddy Shack was quoted as saying:

      “Well the world needs ditch diggers to you know!

    • Ricky says:

      08:30am | 20/10/11

      I completely agree with this article and applaud you for creating such a great piece.  I, personally do not care for being famous because it would just make my life more of a hassle and I would have to care about my image more than I currently do. I think that being unknown is great and just living life how you want without a trail of people following everything you do is bliss.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      08:50am | 20/10/11

      First off, I am a republican.
      The Queen IS Famous. She is not, like all those mentioned so far, a celebrity.
      Celebrities for the most part & that includes those radio jocks, self-opinionated radio talk-back gits, TV ‘personalities, news readers’, pop singers, bad film actors, you name them they all love to be called a ‘celebrity’ are all ill-bred, loud & foul-mouthed upstarts. They think because they get paid huge sums of money they are “somebody”. No, they aren’t, they are still ‘nobodies’ with lots of money. They don’t know how to dress or speak. They have no idea about decent manners. Self-opinionated upstarts the lot of them.
      The Queen, on the other hand, is justifiably Famous. She is, whether people like it or not, A Lady, A Gentlewoman, she is well-bred, has impeccable manners, is always polite & friendly, she speaks well yet has all the human frailties the rest of us have. It is reported she is stubborn, has a fiery temper, and has incredible sense of humour which, at times, borders on the risqué!1 In other words she is a real human being doing an incredibly hard job.
      So please don’t refer to her as a “celebritý” for that is to insult her.
      Yes, the world does need ditch-diggers too but we also need people like the Queen!

    • Rev says:

      12:29pm | 20/10/11

      As a non-republican non-monarchist, well put Robert.

      Here’s to crazy ol Prince Philip as well - it has been a while since he has said something offensive, I trust he is well.

    • Sad Sad Reality says:

      08:57am | 20/10/11

      Everyone on Facebook is famous, going purely by the superficial narcissism of the status updates.

    • JamesH says:

      09:02am | 20/10/11

      I’m just waiting for his TV sitcom: “Leave it to Bieber” smile

      But seriously, this kid and so many other of today’s disposable heroes are not like the celebrities of yesteryear.  You used to have to show greater consistency or achieve something so remarkable in one go that you could ride it for a lifetime (with odds greater than being hit on the head by a random meteorite).  Why is a wooden puppet like Shia LaBouf considered a worthy actor while there are so many more talented kids working in dead-end jobs waiting for a break?  Today’s world has become all tip and no iceberg.  Things work superficially, but crumble under real scrutiny.  Just ask Hayden Christensen aka Mannequin Skywalker.

    • fairsfair says:

      09:02am | 20/10/11

      When will I see my picture in the paper?

      Yep, thanks Davida - you got me too. Tin Man - hilarious as always. Love it.

    • Lolly Legs says:

      10:35am | 20/10/11

      Remember the song “Iris”
      ” When things are made to be broken !
      my neighboursand my family   just won’t understand
      When everything’s made to be broken
      When Things are made to be broken
      I just want you to know who I am
      I just want you to know to know who I am “
      Sorry “Iris” song lovers
      I have forgotten the words. Too Muich noise here! Sorry !

    • Josh B says:

      11:03am | 20/10/11

      First time poster, long time reader. I just had to post on this one.

      I find it ironic, humorous too, that the author, Jason Tin, writes a piece about how we can’t all be famous, about how we are all striving to be famous in pathetic ways, when really, come on, who are you Jason?

      I’ll tell you what you and many others on this website (which I’d have to admit is great for entertainment purposes) are. You are JOURNALISTS (bold so you take notice, shock horror) whose job it used to be to tell us the news but who now think (out of arrogance? out of a lust for money? out of both those things? out of ignorance?) it is ok for people who are educated in merely the accumlation and re-distribution of facts to feed us with opinions about how the world works and how we should behave.

      Honestly, shame on you, and many on this website. Particularly, for example, Malcom Farr, yesterday, ‘callling it’ (so to speak) on the child with Autism in the television show “The Slap”. I mean honestly, how many years training as a psychiatrist or psychologist has Malcom Farr achieved? I may be wrong but I would hazzard a guess, none.

      This would all be OK if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t take these opinions seriously, but others might. Shame on all you journalists who now feel it is OK to extoll your opinions, rather than report the news. And back to my main point.

      These journos are extolling there opinions because it increases their fame, it increase their notoriety, their popularity. And you all want that. Because, as far as I can tell, the biggest narcissits in society, are actually those associated with the media, journalists these days included (in particular).

      I do hope you print this, I’d be happy to write a Punch On about it.

    • N says:

      10:53am | 21/10/11

      Dear Josh B

      This is an opinion site, not a news site, therefore the commentators, be they journalists or otherwise, extoll their opinions. I think you’ll find they are doing so not to increase their fame, notoriety or popularity, but because it is required of them as contributors to the site. An opinion site where contributors do not express opinions would not really be an opinion site at all, would it?

      The end.

    • amy says:

      11:07am | 20/10/11

      its not just the fact that certain people are famous that bothers me

      its the fact that there must be some people out there…who actually care, I want to shake those people and scream “WHAT THE F***  IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!???”

    • PrimeLives says:

      03:12pm | 21/10/11

      Right on! Kim Karnobody wouldn’t be ‘famous’ if everyone just turned away. Girl started at my office and her facebook likes included Kim, I instantly wriote her off as having no substance and being the personification of what is wrong with the world. (PS my likes on FB include Barack obama and Mahatma Ghandi)

    • gobsmack says:

      11:29am | 20/10/11

      I have no problems with people being famous actors, pop singers, sportspeople etc..
      What gives me the shits is when these people think that because they are famous it entitles them to hold court on world poverty, climate change or earthquakes in China.  Or that they are suddenly qualified to start their own fashion line.

    • Audra Blue says:

      12:48pm | 20/10/11

      Bono, I’m looking at you. 

      As Father Jack Hackett says in the cracking good series Father Ted:  “How did that gobshite get on the television?!”

    • H B Bear says:

      11:35am | 20/10/11

      Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll (“What about Me?”) and Blair McDonough (the Big Brother dweeb from Neighbours) would have to disagree with you.

      Those Westfields aren’t going to fill themselves people.

    • Cynicised says:

      12:22pm | 20/10/11

      Why anybody would want to be famous beats me. Fame has to suck, especially if you are a bit on the shy side and just happen to be blessed with tremendous talent. The intrusions into your privacy on a daily basis by the public and the media must be incredibly galling. The expectations of fans, the demands of  maintaining an image, as others have said, cpuld drive a sensitive person nuts - UNLESS you’re a giant fame-whore, (like the stupid YTers)who for some  reason think that making an idiot of themselves is the passport to fortune. It isn’t, it’s the passport to ridicule and, as very well put above, infamy. Big difference.

    • b says:

      12:38pm | 20/10/11

      So people uploading videos of themselves singing to a website = bad but people submitting opinion pieces to a website = good? Is that the situation? Yes? Ok.

    • PW says:

      02:18pm | 20/10/11

      Famous is way overrated. Give me rich any day.

    • palone says:

      08:32pm | 20/10/11

      Last word for P.M.T.Abbott. (God forbid.)
      “Infamy!, Infamy!, everybody’s got it in for me!”
      Carry On.


      11:45pm | 20/10/11

      Hi Jason,

      Lets face the idea that we all like to be rich & famous one day!! Are we actually talking about real fame or the one that lasts only for a few seconds??  So called famous people give the others something to talk about as well as sell magazines around the world.  Which can not be all that bad for our economy!! 

      At the end of the we always tend to compare our own lives to the ones of the rich & famous.  Could we sense some kind of disappointment & misfortune in our lives??  May be a little!!  When we lower our expectations in general, somehow our disappointments are less likely to send us into a deep depression mode!!

      Lets a all take a good look a the real reasons, why we might be so interested in other people’s lives, in the first place!!  It is OK to admire others as long as it does not affect our self esteem & confidence!!  Whether it lasts or not, also let others enjoy the fame they have tried so hard to achieve!!  Best regards to your editors.


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter