This is a quote made quite some time ago by the famous pop artist Andy Warhol. It was prescient in a way because it was made long before the Internet came along.
What I believe he meant by this was more philosophical than actual, in that it wasn’t so much about being a star as it was about the fifteen minutes, which metaphorically described a star going nova. In other words, once in your life you do something that makes you feel like a star, but by the very nature of the act itself, it is temporary.
Nowadays that meaning has changed a bit. Because there are an incredible number of people doing, well, just about anything to get enough attention and adulation to get in their fifteen minutes.
And it’s much easier for them to do this, with cameras on every phone, and social media depending on this ego-driven mania for all the free content that attracts scores of voyeurs and allows them to jack their advertising rates higher and higher.
One obsession feeds a form of greed, because the quest for that fifteen minutes of fame is, for too many people, an obsession.
Most of it seems like harmless posing and pranking. But then again how harmless is it, when it’s been proven conclusively that the comments that come back from these ‘harmless’ activities have led to depression and in some cases even suicide, and violent outbursts, including mass shootings?
Any need that a person may possess to be noticed in the world is amplified here. One false move can trigger a good deal of hate, resentment, jealousy, and even rage.
The selfie, which sounds like a harmless little thing on the surface, is really, for a lot of people, an expression of need. The need to be noticed. The need to be complimented. The need to be adored or loved.
And because there are so many outlets for people to indulge whatever need they are satisfying by doing it, the results are not always what they expect.
All the while people are feeding their egos, looking at themselves too much, and eventually, too many of them become obsessed with themselves, and the more obsessed they become the deep the cuts of anyone criticizing can be.
They all look so happy, posting those endless selfies, working hard to look appealing to the world at large so they can have their fifteen minutes and even more.
This has all been compounded by the fact that many social media sites have opened up the floodgates, so people everywhere are seeing more of the kind of stuff they never used to see before because one of their ‘friends’ commented or rated it.
And I don’t know about you, but most of what I see really disturbs me because it’s almost all about people doing whatever they think they need to do to capture their elusive fifteen minutes of stardom.
PS: Yeah, I could turn a lot of this stuff off I suppose, but because I am a writer, I have an instinctive curiosity about the human condition, and I find this aspect of it quite interesting. Scary as hell, but interesting.