“Fifteen Minutes of Fame” and a Lifetime of Notoriety

ACADEME BLOG

One of the effects of the rise of social media and “reality” entertainment is that we are all, in effect, in danger of becoming the topics of tabloid stories. It used to be that you had to be already famous at least to some degree for anyone to be interested in the stupid things that you said or did–whether those things resulted from a momentary lapse in judgment or a pattern of dubious behavior.

Now, if your story goes “viral,” you are tagged with it for life. In effect, your “fifteen minutes of fame” become a lifetime burden.

To some degree, of course, this has always been so.

When my mother attended her 60th high school reunion, she was surprised by how many of her classmates were still alive and able to attend. She said, “Even the three guys who dove into Lake Lincoln were there.” When I asked her…

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