Public attention seems good to some people. They want to be known, praised, discussed and supported. This is inevitable in politics and entertainment where the idol becomes a focus of pleasure and expectation.

Inevitably, however, there are people who disagree and fame becomes notoriety. Idolatry turns into iconoclasm, breaking down the famous image. This is the most obvious curse of fame and part of the package.

Subtly worse than outright enmity is painful loss of privacy. Even the most narcissistic person must want some time alone, some things unknown. That is increasingly impossible in a world of invasive technology.

Without public fame most people are subjected to invasive surveillance anyway. Hero and criminal both can be investigated. Public fame in this context is more intense and dangerous. Everyone can be known, as most people can know the famous.

It is no surprise that refuge in drugs and self-loathing appears in the bios of famous people. It takes great maturity and wisdom to live with intense attention. Most will suffer from it.

George Weckman

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