FAME: a shroud of fashion the fabrication of which is undertaken by vested interest

Fame depends upon the focus group interest. It is a translucent fabric of notoriety which is judged to be 'good' or 'bad' according to the period vogue of the group. Thus religious groups document which of their adherents are worthy of the fame of sainthood or martyrdom whilst the rest of the universe remains entirely indifferent. Sports code worlds elevate certain performers to celebrity status and fame, entirely incredulous that most followers of theatre and the arts are virtually unaware of their existence. Within the compost community, some promoters of self-sufficiency can become celebrities simply on the basis of the size of their tomatoes. Every interest group, be it military, political, scientific, artistic or whatever, promotes individuals who... according to the mode of the times... are to be installed and mummified in their own in-house hall of fame.

Once the vestments of celebrity are basted around an aspirant by the opinions of the group's standards promoters, they are then obsequiously promulgated abroad by journalistic self interest. The swarm of media flies feed into the fame promotions, because denying or contradicting the fame assessment does nothing to enhance their circulation or promote their own fortunes. In fact, many journalists find it greatly to their advantage to take matters into their own hands and initiate proceedings themselves. They set up factories to fabricate cheap see-thru garments and then tout them out and about in the market places trying to fit them onto any who are either willing or unwary. The vestments of fame are promoted as much by the adulators of trivia as by the reviewers of excellence and yet both do so to serve ends which suit themselves as much as the wearers of the reported fame.

The famous and the promoters of fame are often mutually dependent whilst they both are living but after death any remnant costumery eventually passes to the curators of relevance. These curators cyclically rearrange the museum display to suit their interpretation of the mood of the times. The positioning of the lighting, the variable perspectives and ages of the audiences, ensure that fame and infamy become quite indistinguishable. Fame is often supposed to clothe an individual, an idea, or a tourist promotion but it is never any more than a transient translucent garment, acceptable only if the current norms of populace decorum deem it so. A military leader responsible for mass slaughter will not be famous as a hero to the group on the receiving end of the carnage. The idea of blood-letting has been displaced from the widely recognised to the infamous. The fame of a natural wonder, like a limestone cave ecosystem or a grotto of prehistoric paintings, can quickly become infamous for being destroyed by the tourist traffic promoted by the fame.

There is not much satisfaction or consolation in posthumous fame. The pomp of a state funeral... which is ostensibly a public recognition of earthly fame... is just a public display of officially promoted attitudes. It may indeed provide a focus for the citizenry to indulge their private evaluations of the deceased but the event is as much about the imposition on the living of propaganda, the promotions of authority values and the display of ceremony and resources to the world at large.

And when all the dust of time and attrition has finally settled, what point the lonely monument marking the tomb of the unknown celebrity?