Quotes about Fame

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One of the greatest phenomena of the last fifty years seems to have been people's insatiable desire for fame, or to be associated with those that are famous. But usually, once achieved, people find fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. But for those Big Brother wannabes who want their time in the limelight, no obstacle will stop them getting their ephemeral fame:

Fame is the thirst of youth.
- Lord Byron

For Byron, the desire for fame is a notable characteristic of the young, who are desperate to make their mark and leave an impact on society, and to forge their own identity. This is probably still the case, as people either give up on their desire for fame as they get older, or get distracted by other things.

My career should adapt to me. Fame is like a VIP pass wherever you want to go.
- Leonardo Dicaprio

Leonardo comments on why fame is so attractive to many people - it is a form of power over other people. Normally there are limits as to what we can do and get away with - limits to our freedom. For the famous celebrity however, it seems that they can do pretty much whatever they like, and go wherever they want, with people looking up to and respecting them.

Even for learned men, love of fame is the last thing to be given up.
- Tacitus

And it is precisely this elevated status, this power over other people and greater freedom, that makes fame so attractive. That's why it can seem so incredibly tempting to those that don't have it. As Tacitus mentions above, the greed for fame is a powerful seducer, and is hard to give up for human beings.

Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.
- Erma Bombeck

Fame does have it's limits however, and not everyone is so convinced it is all that it's cracked up be, or that it's necessarily a sign of achievement. Certainly it wouldn't be if people get famous these days for the 'wrong' reasons - not for great advancements in science, but for kicking a football around a field or singing a song. Hence Bombeck comments on the difference between success, and fame.

In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
- Andy Warhol

This is one of the most famous quotes on fame, from Andy Warhol. Whilst for Warhol fame will be a more commonplace, it will also be more fleeting in it's nature. Fifteen minutes of fame is exactly what contestants on reality TV shows, some one-hit wonder singers and movie stars receive.

Enduring fame however is hard to come by, particularly fame beyond ones own lifetime, singing or sports playing career. And in the final analysis, those who remain famous throughout time will be those who contribute the most to society, and persist timelessly. And in those rare occasions, ephemeral fame leads to something bordering on immortality.

The final words we ponder here on the subject of fame, like the first, are those of Lord Byron, suggesting that fame just ain't all it's cracked up to be:

What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little.

Do you still want to be famous?

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