The Null Device

The growing middle-class of fame

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.

There are 5 comments on "The growing middle-class of fame":

Posted by: Alexander Mon Aug 9 20:21:51 2004

Question is, where do you draw the line? What defines microfame? The number of people that you reach, theinfluence you have or the size of your sales? When does it become megafame? What of those dwelling in a limbo between money-dragging, superficial, screaming-idiot-fan fame and meaningful, wholesome and influential recognition?

Posted by: blah http:// Tue Aug 10 00:15:26 2004

I think fame should be measured in units of "monkeyspheres" (or MSp).

Then you'd have some minimally poplular bloggers getting into the DecaMSp's, whereas some really famous people, like Elvis, would reach into the MegaMonkeySpheres.

Posted by: Graham Tue Aug 10 11:48:46 2004

Having a fanboy as a cow orker is - interesting. Today I was informed that "I Ate A Nyarlathotep" wasn't grammatically correct as there is supposedly only one Nyarlathotep.

Posted by: Doktor Stevedore Daark http:// Tue Aug 10 14:47:48 2004

Rubbish. N. has over 1,000 forms/avatars, so it is very wrong to say that there is only one of Him.

Posted by: Graham Tue Aug 10 15:03:57 2004

Thank you for clearing that up.

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