The Null Device
Danny O'Brien on the growing class of microcelebrities; people/bands/&c. who are famous within a smallish, widely distributed group:
But there are plenty more people who are what Carl Steadman first identified as microcelebrities: famous for fifteen hundred people, say. And fifteen hundred very thinly distributed people too. One person in every town in Britain likes your dumb online comic. That's enough to keep you in beers (or T-shirt sales) all year.
But is it enough? Is fame relative? The upper reaches of fame have disappeared beyond human ken - so does that mean that we're all humiliated by not being as popular as Madonna? Or is it a fixed constant? If you're liked by about-a-paleolithic-tribesworth, is that enough to keep the average person with a smile on their face?
Danny mentions a band named Groovelily, who sit in this middle class of fame; who have small groups of fans around the world willing to put them up and arrange gigs. Which sounds like a familiar story to anybody into indie music (of the DIY-CDs-sold-at-gigs variety, not the signed-to-a-label-just-outside-the-Big-4 variety).
In fact, microcelebrity seems to be the default meaningful sort of fame; the megacelebrities, the various Madonnas and Elvises of this world, are too few in number and too eroded by the demands of mass appeal to mean anything.
Thanks to Britons' love affair with Prozac, Britain's water supplies are full of yummy Prozacky goodness.
(I wonder what the drug companies think of all those Britons getting a sample of Prozac for free every time they drink from the tap. Is it a free sample to drum up business, or intellectual-property piracy on a national scale? Though at least seasonal affective disorder may be less severe.)
All joking aside, Britain's Environment Agency (which apparently isn't run entirely by polluters' representatives yet) claims that this is a "potential concern", and that Prozac in the water table may be toxic. Mind you, judging from the taste and consistency of tapwater in London, if the stuff already in it doesn't kill you, a little bit of extra Prozac probably won't make much difference.
The latest novelty: make your own Iraqi decapitation video. Bonus points if you can get al-Jazeera and/or Associated Press run it as genuine:
Mr Vanderford told the BBC World Service he did not send the video to anyone, but made it available on internet share networks. The "people of the world" did the rest, he said, and the video found its way to Arab television stations on Saturday and then a US news agency.
I suppose it beats those cheesy "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters people bring back from Wild West theme parks.