NEW COLUMN by DYLAN VOX
FAME! I’m gonna live forever! Isn’t that the way the song goes? Wouldn’t it have made more sense if it had been, “FAME! I’m gonna live forever, or at least until my fifteen minutes runs out”? OK, so maybe that’s not very melodic, but it’s sure as hell more accurate. Fame is a crazy thing that oddly enough seems to happen to crazy people. If you think about the icons that do actually make fame last forever you think about Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Michael Jackson, Cher, and others like them. They’re some of the entertainers who will be remembered forever, whereas tons of others will fall by the wayside. If you look at the people who last forever it becomes very clear that they are all freaks who were successful in a field that normal people can barely get a foot into, so I’m faced with the question of whether freaks become famous, or does fame make people into freaks.
OK, imagine Marilyn Monroe coming into an office to apply for a receptionist position. I mean, I’m not even sure the women could tie her own shoe, yet she was one of the most successful actresses of her time, and her early death made her a legend. But, come on, let’s face it, the woman was no Meryl Streep. Truman Capote was one of the most influential writers of this century; they even made a movie about him, for God’s sake. Would you hire him? If this wormy little muddle-mouth came into your office and said “I’m a great writer, hire me,” you’d thank him for his submission, hold onto his résumé for the required year, and then forget about him. He wrote for for the New York Times, wrote a few books, and reached legendary status. REALLY? I would love to have seen his first job interview.
In the 1970s, Jane Fonda won two Academy Awards, so did Glenda Jackson. Jane was nominated for four, so was Glenda. Jane made headlines as an anti-war advocate, so did Glenda. Jane retired from Hollywood in the ’80s for two decades, so did Glenda. Now, even before Jane decided to return to the big screen and star opposite the no-talent, man-hungry, 35-year-old mattress, Jennifer Hopez (not a typo), people knew who Jane was, and I think we would be very hard-pressed to find six people who could tell you a thing about Glenda Jackson.
So what does it take to succeed? We love the freaks of society because they are different and interesting. Would Bruce Vilanch really be as funny if he wasn’t a little fat gay dude with long hair and weird shirts? Who knows the answer, but the next time you find yourself obsessing over someone famous, really take a look at the freak within. Irene Cara was the woman who sang “Fame, I’m gonna live forever!” And if you are finding yourself saying “ Irene who?” then you have just made my point.
It’s always a business doing pleasure with you.
– Dylan Vox