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Are We Living In A 'Fame' Crisis?

05/01/2017 17:22
Andrew Hobbs via Getty Images

I was watching a really interesting interview with Simon Cowell the other day on YouTube, and the interviewer mentioned to Simon that he felt that the X Factor was deliberately exploiting people by choosing to show the worst performances on television solely for entertainment purposes.

He also accused Simon of 'hyping up' the winners, knowing full well that their careers would most likely be short-lived - with a high chance that they'd be forgotten about in a few months' time. With such a provoking statement, I was expecting a pretty brash response from Simon (he can be quite blunt at times), but I was quite surprised by his answer, and strangely, I completely agreed with what he said.

Simon suggested that the only reason the X Factor is so huge, is because such a large amount of people all over the country relate to the show and love a good ol' success story, and if they didn't, it would have been pulled off the screen years ago. So in some ways, it's all well and good blaming Mr Cowell for 'ruining' the music industry, but the every day TV consumer is also to blame.

If the humiliating scenes were removed, the programme wouldn't be as entertaining, and people like the predictability and comfort that comes with it, which is why the obvious people always win, even if they are less talented than their fellow contestants. Once again, it is the TV consumer who picked up the phone and voted these people in.

Also, contestants are fully aware of what they're getting into, so if their careers ARE short lived, either they weren't business-minded and strategic enough to exploit the opportunity that was given to them, or they weren't good enough to have a career in the music industry any way, so they certainly don't have the right to moan about it when it all goes Pete Tong...

But pushing all of that aside, like I said earlier. People relate to the modern day, working-class, 'anybody can do it' success stories that reality TV has created, but in my opinion, this has also pushed fame out of perspective, and Simon agrees that we're living in a modern day fame 'crisis,' where people enter the show just to get famous.

Have they missed the point?

Years ago, musicians typically entered the music industry because they had something to say and they used music as a vehicle to change the world for the better, and to express their emotions (just look at Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, David Bowie and Bob Marley), and fame was a SYMPTOM of their passion and talents which had been developed through years of hard graft.

But we don't have those types of artists any more, because the industry is lacking in authenticity. Now, people want to be famous for the sake of being famous even though they don't necessarily have the talent in a particular area, so the world of 'celebrityism' has been filled up with Big Brother winners and X Factor dropouts.

I don't think this is a good thing, because it signifies a generation of people that have missed the point. They haven't had the motivation and the deep-rooted passion to develop an impressive skill in life, and live a life doing what they love. Instead, they want instant gratification and a quick win.

The same can be said for some of those YouTubers who are uploading cat videos.

They're becoming just as famous as those who have dedicated their entire life to perfecting a craft, yet there's no appreciation for that any more as the barrier to entry has lowered, making it easier for people to get famous, making the real talent less recognisable.

Posting photos of your latest makeup bag on YouTube requires nowhere near the dedication, effort and hard work that is required to become an actor or a classical singer, but people want to skip the middle part and jump straight to the (not always) happy ending.

But the big question is why? Is it because they want validation? Is it because they want to be rich? Is it because they're unhappy in their life and need to do something outrageous? If so, is fame to the solution to their problems? I'll let you be the judge. But I think that we're living in a fame crisis. Fame doesn't signify great talent and achievement any more.

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