Festival of Obvious Ideas #8: We can’t all be famous
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.
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?
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