Media Whores and the Cult of Personality

Have you ever wondered what percentage of musicians and actors began practicing their craft because they wanted to meet members of the opposite sex or they craved fame and adulation?  One is probably safe in saying that it exceeds 60%.  For the last twenty-five years and perhaps longer artists try to be bigger than their art.  Their art is merely an avenue to adulation and praise, a path to the cult of personality. So many musicians move into acting following a single hit that the public quickly forgets that they had nothing to say before they had nothing to say.  Once they have achieved a modicum of fame they can slump or peacock about, style dependent, whoring endlessly on television and especially on that merchant to the lowest common denominator, MTV.

Fame is ultimately of little value, but it hasn’t stopped people from debasing themselves in a thousand novel ways to taste it.   When fame is the goal, a person’s art is attached to them like a Siamese twin, one which dies much sooner than the other.  Kenny Rogers the ex-rock, ex-pop, full time country singer was quoted as saying, “At the peak of my success I had no life” or words to that effect.   In other words your fans, your managers, your record label owns every minute of your day.  Who hasn’t heard some idiot fan pontificating on why famous person Z owes them something simply because the simpleton admired the artist.  Popular music is fashion as the cliché goes and Kenny Rogers in the nineties was the musical equivalent of designer jeans.  This, of course, permitted him to make a “comeback” never mind he never stopped recording.  Comebacks are normally nostalgia driven sales of a new record, which is sufficiently fashionable for the critics to love; never mind five years ago they couldn’t find enough hateful things to say.

Art should be separated from personality.  Fans should connect with the art not the artist.  The artist should care little whether one person reads listens or acknowledges their art.  The work is the end, not financial achievement, not public recognition.  If no one knows who you are, they judge your art on it’s own merits.  There is no need for a comeback because if you have integrity you write the best you can without false company deadlines, demands that you promote and a big advance hanging over your head.   If you want to join the ranks of media whores and start your own cult of personality remember your Siamese twin and when it dies it will probably poison you too.

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