Friday, 22 June 2012

Margaret Atwood and Indiegogo Fame

Fame comes in many forms, I see from the June 19 issue of the Globe & Mail, which is all about the nature of fame.

British Columbia artist Emily Carr, James Adams tells us, is famous “in a Canadian sort of way”. Hmm, what might that be? It seems to involve death and apotheosis, well, not all the way. It’s “tantalizingly close, yet forever receding,” a semi-apotheosis. 

Then there is the fame of photographer Helmut Newton who is presumably famous in a German-Australian way. Or maybe it’s fame by association: Newton is buried next to Marlene Dietrich. Or fame by nostalgia. His renewed fame is due to the fact that “fashion moves stealthily toward a certain 1970s aesthetic,” Lynn Crosbie observes.

Then there is fame through Oprah’s book club. Luckily for the authors involved, that type of fame doesn’t necessarily involve death. Mortification helps (see James Frey’s apology and my blog of 5 May).

Finally there is involuntary fame, which involves legal action. That’s what happened to a graffiti artist using the moniker SLOW. He lost his anonymity through a new technology, Graffiti Tracker, as Michael Kesterton informs us.

Clearly, there are a lot of ways in which you can become famous. Not sure which method I would use. Maybe none of the above. Death is definitely out for Rummel, let me tell you. I think I’ll go for one of the lesser forms of fame: showing my teeth. ”People tend to pick out a face in the crowd more quickly when teeth are visible,” German psychologist Gernot Horstmann explains. But maybe that kind of fame works only in Germany.

Of course fame wasn’t always that easy to get. A hundred years ago you had to do more than vandalize public space or show your teeth. A hundred years ago fame/notoriety involved crowds. Public hangings & crowds. The Queen waving from her carriage & crowds. And in the 1960s: the Beatles being mobbed by crowds. Also: Politicians kissing babies and gladhanding crowds.

But that’s passé now, my friends. We live in the age of electronic celebrity, and even twitter is soo 2011. 2012 is the year of the micro-celebrity: YOU. All you have to do is go to fanado, Margaret Atwood tells us in a video on the site of Indiegogo, a funding platform.

Now try this at home. It’s really easy. You put yourself on indiegogo, tell people you want, say, $ 100,000, and if you do a credible spiel, site visitors may just hand the money to you. Voila: you are indiegogo famous. So add that to your categories: fame by funding platform.

Where but here can you get such useful advice?

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