15 Minutes

Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Could anyone have guessed how close he was to the truth? The truth being that in the future, everyone will be infamous for 15 minutes. Thanks to Internet gossip sites and reality TV, countless people with no other talent than shamelessness have launched themselves into the public consciousness. I know my memory’s not what it used to be, but I would maintain these ‘celebrities’ are forgotten as quickly as they arrived. What’s more, it seems the vehicle to fame doesn’t really matter. Did you fall in a well? Get cut during Hollywood week on American Idol? Who cares? I’m famous…for now.

A guy in Detroit landed on the gossip site PerezHilton.com for driving his car through the window of a lingerie store while dressed in women’s clothing and wearing makeup. Roll your eyes all you want; I’m sure he will be able to parlay the incident into an emcee job the next Bingo night at the local drag bar.

A Florida plastic surgeon is raising eyebrows for his book to help mothers explain to their children why they are getting plastic surgery, the mothers, not the children. Billie, Mommy needs bigger breasts or Daddy is going to move in with his secretary. That’ll be a real self-esteem builder.

The problem is, there just isn’t enough ‘news’ to fill the 24/7 cable TV and Internet world in which we live. When we used to just watch the news for 30 minutes at night, every story mattered because the network had to prioritize. The president and the Pope would be a priority…the Australian man who stole a police car while handcuffed, not so much. Flooding in the Midwest, important…Nicole Richie’s travel schedule, less so.

Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz are both musicians, but would we know their names if they weren’t a high-profile couple in a constant whirlwind of pregnancy/marriage/break-up rumors? And don’t even get me started on Paris Hilton. When did fame become so desirable that someone would humiliate themselves with a sex tape just to get noticed? I’m sensing some love-me-daddy issues.

If everyone is famous for 15 minutes, the real problem starts at minute 16. Once you’ve been in the limelight, how do people cope when suddenly nobody remembers you were the guy who juggled squirrels on a Utube video? A common response seems to be drugs. Not only do they ease the pain, but because of Celebrity Rehab, they can actually get you back on television…another 15 minutes. Andy Warhol knew it when he said it, If everyone is famous, then really nobody is.

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