Andy Warhol, with Archie. (Photo by Jack Mitchell, 1973)
A popular belief is that he never said it.
One thought is that he said to a friend who had remarked on his popularity during a gathering of media at one of his exhibitions: " ... everybody wants to be famous ... " and his friend replied "Yeah, Andy, for 15 minutes." There are other ideas regarding the origin of this prediction but, regardless who said it, where, why or when ... it is a very interesting one.
Is it a prediction regarding advances in technology and media like "Facebook" or "YouTube" which enable stupid people to 'go viral' and be in the collective conciousness? "Facebook," "Twitter" or "YouTube?" Is there yet ANOTHER method, means and/or medium through which the denizens of our planet will find it even easier to "become world-famous?"
Here's what makes sense to me: We're lemmings. And the hurdles, the standards, by which the value and worth of people and their 'products' (be it art, thoughts (spoken or written)), discoveries, inventions and advancements such as electricity, the automobile, the internet, etc., have been removed.
I saw a meme on my Facebook feed today which captured what I've been thinking for a while:
Is it CNN's fault?
Should we blame Ted Turner for the fact that some idiot can now achieve national or even global attention to their call to their "Facebook" or "Twitter" followers to record themselves stomping on the American flag? And the fact that those fucktards gain notoriety and become "famous" *faster* and can spread their uselessness more widely than the attention garnered by the products given to Earth and mankind by the likes of Edison, Ford or by guys like William Yates or Mark Twain ... global recognition these true giants of history received only after years of relative anonymity? "Fame" is now achievable by any moron with an Obamaphone in less than a day?
To digress a bit, I have always harbored a bit of a sour feeling for the CNN news outlet because the organization was what I once thought a 'good idea' ... and then it went bad.
I recall watching the 1st shuttle disaster and thinking "Wow ... this event is being seen by *everyone* - it's being broadast live and as it is happening ... stuff of global significance is being seen globally and immediately."
But then the coverage they provided when "baby Jessica" fell into a well and the fire department pulled her out and I start to think "Well, this stuff is nice ... a community is coming together to do something nice, but ... is it really interesting to me? Is it worth national or global attention?" And then that's all we got ... too many news outfits and not enough news to talk about, probably.
Then, at some point over the years, I noticed that it seemed that the "standards of excellence," the "value" of all news shows and networks (network news competing with the success of CNN?) seemed to be competing and they rrrrrreally started going downhill. I gave up all hope when two correspondents on the same network were simulating a "satellite connection" with each other ... and the world discovered they were IN THE SAME PARKING LOT as a truck drove by in the background of once correspondent's headshot ... and then through that of the other only seconds later.
Most recently, an overzealous cop who drew his weapon when he shouldn't have went absolutely ballistic in less than an hour ... I first saw it on ITALIAN television! But! When the story turned out to be the nothing that they often are (like the fake satellite hook-up chat): it slowly vanished from the airwaves and from my Facebook feed ... nobody hears about it ... and all forget.
Things like this just leave me shaking my head ... Sometimes I really have no words ... not without a lot of painful and depressing thinking, anyway.
Back when I noted CNN starting to go bad -- I often lamented it as another sign of the fall, of the coming of the apocalypse (call me dramatic). The change was that we were now going to be fed and told ... and manipulated into thinking "what's important" based on what somebody else thought; Orwell's "1984" and all that ... :/
The "go to guys," the tried and true standard news guys who always had something interesting to report and for whom I stopped and paid due attention weren't on the air until they retired or died anymore, they were just disappearing.
Guys like CNN's Jamie McIntyre who, while still maintaining their "standard of excellence," were 'parting ways' and going with outfits like NPR. They were being replaced with pretty faces and boobs to which I wouldn't give the time of day ( ... well ... ) as well as other change$ in program content which adversti$ing algorithm$ likely $ay are important to implement . It's encouraging to note that some, like Mr. McIntyre, are still "doing it right." He points out: "I now work for Al Jazeera AMERICA, which is an AMERICAN network, doing AMERICAN news, for and AMERICAN audience, the AMERICAN way. And I have more freedom at AJAM to report the news as I see it than I did in my last years at CNN." -- does that tell you anything?
Lame shows like "Crossfire" (or was it "The Spin Zone?" or both) were being dreamt up and actually put on the air ... and they were actually *watched!* One good thing: someone thought it a good idea to make some of them go away ... that was nice but, probably only because someone came up with an idea even more stupid ...) and then came set-ups like FOX News ... well, let's not digress any further ...
So NOW: all we have to do is record a cop on our cellphone when he's having a bad day, post it to our Facebook page or upload it to YouTube and send the link to a moderately capable news outfit or reporter with ambition and boom: both you *and* the cop have got 15 minutes of fame.
I'd rather watch a giggling baby for 5 minutes, thanx.
How is that 15 minutes to be caluculated? Time spent in the collective conciousness of interwebs users? Total time being talked about in the smoking area or coffee lounge? Total time spent on television "news" programs and "morning shows?"
Maybe it's just a random number.
Maybe I'm asking rhetorical questions.
Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy and, while I might have been interested at one time in seeing and hearing gory details about one of my icons of sports excellence turning himself into a girl, I would now prefer such "non-news" items to be delivered more matter-of-factly ... and briefly. And only for a day or two (can't be watching or listening all the time, right?). But *I* would like to be able talk and hypothesize and think about it *for myself* and discuss *with others* rather than have what I am to think fed to me.
As I said, maybe it's just "too many news outfits and not enough news." Maybe it's because there's nothing happening on a national scale or of global importance? What *is* important on a national/global scale?! We don't know. We've lost our national standards and our collective way.
Here's another way to look at it:
What's important to us as a nation and as a planet has actually changed. But: is it because we're being TOLD what's important? Is it because we're NOT being exposed to or told/shown *other* stories from around the world? We're not being exposed to what *actually is* important and now we simply don't know what we *do* need to know?
How can we know what we don't know, right?
Last night my wife and a friend of hers were having discussion of their fondness for the music of "Genesis" and the (untrue) rumors that maybe Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins and the rest of their old band may actually reunite and tour the world or have 1 concert somewhere, blah blah blah ... and a maybe-30-year-old woman who was with them asked:
"Genesis? What's that?"
But I'd bet she knows who Kanye West is! I bet she knows who the Kardashians are!
Okay ... stream of conciousness rant over. But I close with this: perhaps someone famous should "Tweet" a new quote:
"THE FUTURE IS HERE! Anyone and everyone now has an equal "Andy Warholian opportunity" to help erode and decay our global society's standard of excellence by adding to the pile of shit that is fed to us based on algorithm$ which predict and perpetuate the drivel we are being fed.
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