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disclaimer: while there are certainly celebrities who are worthy of attention, I’m not speaking of individuals — but rather the culture of fame ;)
One of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life, thanks to Dennis Prager, is that the great are rarely famous and the famous are rarely great.
This single statement has had a profound impact on my life. I think I heard Prager say this some 7 or 8 years ago. Right around my entry to the 20′s (a perfect time to hear such a thing). The idea immediately took hold in my mind. So much, in fact, that it changed my perception on a huge part of life. The part of life where we look up to famous people because… well… because they’re famous!
With the recent bombardment of “pay attention to us!” celebrity awards — the Grammy’s, Golden Globes, the Oscar’s, and probably many I’m leaving out (there’s something to be said about an industry that celebrates itself so much) — I’m just reminded of this truth. That the great are rarely famous and the famous are rarely great.
It’s very tempting to be extremely interested in fame. In famous people. The celeb industry is unbelievably talented when it comes to keeping our interest, after all. But I believe these are temptations we are better off fighting. There’s no harm in a mild interest — so long as it is balanced with the understanding that these people may be entertaining, but they aren’t (necessarily) people we ought to wish to become. The idea of seeking fame shouldn’t be one we employ. It rarely brings about greatness (not to mention happiness, goodness, and so on)…
Greatness, not fame, should get (and keep) our attention. Famous people aren’t great. They are famous. And we’re the wiser to know the difference.
On an unrelated note, lately I’ve been both missing Cambodia tremendously and have been extremely grateful for my many times in that wonderful country. There is a nation filled with great people — completely lacking in fame. If any country has taught me about life, it’s Cambodia.
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