Fame as Costume Jewelry
Eric Felten looks at the perils of modern fame:
"Fame is made up of four elements," writes Leo Braudy in his 1986 book "The Frenzy of Renown": a person, an accomplishment, immediate publicity and, as he puts it, "what posterity has thought about them ever since." Or at least that is what fame used to be. Nowadays, we have the person, but no accomplishment; we have the immediate publicity (and lots of it), but posterity will only ask "who?" Which is to say that what passes for fame now is a counterfeit. The English essayist William Hazlitt warned against just this sort of error—mistaking "a newspaper-puff" for "a passport to immortality," letting "a little echo of popularity mimic the voice of fame."