15 Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol once said we would all be famous for 15 minutes. It was a statement that would come to define our current age of pop culture and instant communication. With the advent of reality shows, gossip based talk shows and the internet it seems his prophecy is coming true. Average men and women are becoming instant celebrities by living their lives in front of a camera on network tv or an internet video site, the rich become famous simply by having more money than sense, stupid people get their moments of fame solely for the depth of their stupidity. You don't have to have any special talent, ability or content, you just have to be willing to trade your dignity for attention and be able to "socially network" yourself effectively and with profusion.

It is an interesting phenomenon and one that defines the mind set of the 21st Century. Flash in the pan now speaks not just to passing fame or notoriety but the speed with which it passes by and it is in that speed of information download that a lurking danger awaits. On television the ads and program images flicker by so fast you're not sure what you're seeing. On the internet you are inundated with information coming at you with the speed of light. Images, words, and sounds are coming in so fast that no one has the time to listen, read, think or care about what those images, words, or sounds are about. They just want more - and if it's more crap they don't seem to care, just so long as it's more crap!

True content and information has given way to bling that flashes at you so fast you never really notice there's really nothing there to see. Real news has given way to infotainment, programming with value has been traded for the vicarious viewing of other peoples lives. Conversation and interaction with your fellow humans has given way to IMs, text messages and forwarded jokes masquerading as e-mail. We are in danger of becoming characatures of humanity, drones that move through life with no real thought, looking for the next addictive moment of thunderous and colorful drivel that carries a momentary thrill but no true worth. Drawn to the flame of the current celebrity of the second, lulled by the emptiness that accompanies fame without merit.

Mass Media has used the speed of modern communication to feed as much trash as possible to the greatest number of bodies available in the shortest possible time allowed. This has created an epidemic of an attention deficit disorder whose side effects are minds that cannot focus on anything long enough to form an opinion. What a boon this is to those who would control those terrible independent thoughts that are the beginnings of creativity and freedom. What a wonderful way to keep the status quo. Provide the peons with enough glitter and flash and they may never notice that you have stolen away their rights and freedoms. If you dazzle them into blindness they will not see you are creeping away in the night with their lives, hopes and dreams. Feed them the fodder of frivolous fame and they will never notice they are no longer free to think, speak or act like humans any longer. It's a good plan and all it will cost is 15 minutes of fame.