Commentary by Terry Anker
It is a popular subject of our culture. We sing songs about it. We dedicate films and television shows to it. It seems that we even select our political leaders, in part, because of it. Fame. It is pursued and reviled in nearly equal measure. Yet, its allure is undeniable because of both the power it bestows and the very fact that it bends the rules of life to conform to those who wield it. There are no velvet ropes that cannot be moved or inconveniences that cannot be overcome. For those standing in the bright light of fame, as 1980s British rock and roll band Dire Straits memorialized in their anthem to fame – you get “money for nothin’ and chicks for free.”
We all want to be special. There is nothing innately wrong with the desire to have our peers take notice of our ability, appearance or agenda. It is good to feel loved. One might imagine it is good to have things go our way a bit more. But the reality distorting principles of fame often become a dangerous and addictive state of affairs. Too quickly one can come to believe that privileges, once imagined to be special, are now to be expected. They consider a life without first-class passage too difficult to be endured.
Can we become trapped by our own expectations? Surely. Can our understandable need to be important be tainted as we achieve the very thing that we are seeking? Probably. Kardashians, political candidates and community organizers all use fame as a tool to open doors and meet objectives. In fact, it is most impressive what can be achieved doing little more than manipulate fame. But, is being a V.I.P. enough? Is fame an end in itself? Somehow, I doubt it.