We dote on the famous, far too uncritically. How to develop antibodies to this disease?

One good vaccination is to be near some big wheels for a few years, to see them with all their warts ... Nobel laureates, the rich, the smart set ... gracious to their juniors but fighting with their peers ... laughing over lunch and mugging to entertain any audience ... leaving spouses for younger companions, flatterers, hero-worshipers ... remembering incidents selectively, putting themselves at the center of the universe ... pouting over slights, imagined or real.

Even better to pump up the celeb-immune system: nothing helps more than exposure to near-misses. Study brilliant people --- who are just as (or more) deserving, but who weren't in the right place at the right time, who didn't get the publicity, whose work was co-opted and made famous by greedier sorts. Those in the shadows are far more numerous than the phenoms, and are often far better human individuals. (Some are bitter; the best have passed through or around that illness.) Seek them in diverse fields --- letters, science, the arts --- and talk with them, write to them, read them, watch them, listen to their voices.

The bottom line, of course, is that celebrities are human beings. Some deserve glory; some get it by luck. A big hit in one endeavor doesn't imply wisdom in another. Many who are forgotten by the masses are more worthy. Give them the gift of attention. Learn from them.

Sunday, March 26, 2000 at 20:10:26 (EST) = 2000-03-26

TopicSociety - TopicThinking

(correlates: Financial Planning, AsimovOnPrecocity, Comments on Kubota Logo Mystery, ...)