I guess when I was growing up I wanted to be a celebrity. I'm not sure, you understand, because I was young at the time and was not taking notes. But it seems reasonable that in my Walter Mitty-esque youth I imagined myself fabulously wealthy and well known because I WAS something. Even then I knew that celebrity was not going to be earned because of an action or an ability; it would have to somehow be conferred magically basd on me. Sadly, I was also honest enough with myself to know that that wasn't going to happen.
Even when I made my immature efforts to earn notoriety (you can't spell "infamous" without "famous") I fell short. And thus, I never attained any measure of celebrity. My brushes with greatness, my 15 seconds of renown and my self-generated hype amounted to very little.
In the olden days, this wouldn't have bothered me. Seriously -- how many people really get to be famous? Movie stars, musicians, writers and artists were the cultural elite. The intelligencia was a caste higher and they were the object of the paparazzi because they somehow clawed their way up and they fought everyday to stay there. If I wasn't up there, at least I could be the madding crowd pressing myself against the TV screen for a chance to be that much closer to greatness.
The something happened, called "now."
I was sitting in the Nail Salon watching my daughter get a mani/pedi (not nearly as salacious as it sounds, and it doesn't even really sound salacious) and I realized...good god but I'm bored. So I picked up a special double edition of TV Guide and started reading it. I came away with one conclusion. Because of the proliferation of media channels (TV stations, video delivery channels, news networks, RSS feeds) everyone one in the entire world is no officially a celebrity. Except me. Hollywood has so expanded that it has used up its yearly allocation of beautiful people and is now manning its TV shows and movies with the commoners, and making entire plotlines revolve around "not being beautiful." The ubiquitous News Networks have elevated everyone with an opinion to the role of pundit. Bloggers now have TV shows based on their exploits, and twitter is a major trend setter. And here I am using my own lungs like a sucker. Too many avenues for music release means that every small band has a top hit for 2 weeks.
When everyone is famous, it could be said, no one is. The specialness of being famous is lost when there is no one on a lower level to appreciate your specialness. But if the man keeps me from being famous then he make himself feel even bigger. So with all my self-blogging and self-publication, I'm not a celebrity. Am I inferior to them? I don't think so, but I'm not the one who has 1 million followers who want to know every time I sneeze (I don't often, but when I do...wow). So technology has not fully levelled the playing field for me, though it has allowed the highs to be pulled down for a whole lot of others whom I no longer recognize.