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Related: cult - fame - people


A celebrity is a famous person. The etymological origin of the word is "one who is celebrated." An alternative definition of a celebrity is a person who is famous for being famous (regardless of what first brought them to fame). What it takes to be a celebrity depends on the cultural context and the historical time. The advent of mass media increased the public interest in celebrities, and has even developed into a self-substantiating circuit (the 'cult of celebrity' i.e. being famous for being famous and not for having achieved anything else). Some ordinary people volunteer to become known on television (e.g. in reality television shows) for a taste of celebrity, though celebrity from a reality show is usually called "fleeting celebrity" or "15 minutes of fame" (a term coined by Andy Warhol). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrity [Jun 2004]

A celebrity is a person who is widely recognized in a society. Fame is one prerequisite for celebrity status, but not always sufficient. For example, as "infamy" has passed out of common English usage, high-profile criminals may be considered to be famous, but they are not always celebrities. Traditionally, politicians are rarely described as celebrities, but in the era of television, some have had to become de facto celebrities. Today's celebrities are largely figures from television and movies. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrity [Jul 2005]

Examples of Celebrities

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celibrity [Jun 2004]

Movie directors vs actors

While most people go to a movie to see their favourite actor (Amazon lists the name of the movie star next to a movie, not the director), personally I have been guided in my movie choices by directors. An interesting movie on how directors choose their actors and what they desire from them is Catherine Breillat's 2003 highbrow effort Sex is Comedy.

My favourite actors include James Spader, Jennifer Jason Leigh, James Woods, Dirk Bogarde, Michael Moriarty, Christopher Walken, Karen Black, Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, Philippe Noiret, Bruce Dern, Sean Penn, ...


I've always been something of an iconoclast at heart. I've never respected someone just because I was told to respect them, or because they expected it, or society expected it. I respect people who can do things I can't, or who do things I can but better than me, or who try really hard to learn to do new things, or do things well that I already know are hard. I also know from my own humbling experiences that just because you know a lot about one thing doesn't mean you know a lot about everything (also known as the "engineer's disease").

So I've always found fame a bit of a puzzle. If I'm interested in knowing how to create, produce, and promote a blockbuster music album, then Madonna is obviously someone I should try to talk to. But why should I give what she thinks about, say, the President any more weight than I would give to any other person on the street? Who cares what Michael Jordan's cologne is? Why should I care who Julia Roberts married this week, or who Tom Cruise happens to be boinking this month? -- http://www.amcgltd.com/archives/000551.html


acclaim, acclamation, account, acknowledgment, character, credit, dignity, distinction, elevation, eminence, esteem, estimation, exaltation, favor, glory, greatness, heyday, honor, illustriousness, immortality, kudos, laurels, luster, majesty, name, nobility, note, notoriety, place, popularity, position, pre-eminence, prominence, public esteem, rank, recognition, regard, renown, rep, report, reputation, repute, splendor, standing, stardom, station, superiority, éclat


see also reputation


Prestige means good reputation or high esteem, although it originally meant a delusion or magician's trick (Latin praestigum).

Famous to 15 People

The Internet is the first global medium. Through the internet, one can reach readers, listeners all over the world. In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people.


  1. Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web - David Weinberger [Amazon US]
    David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined does not merely celebrate the World Wide Web; it attempts to make a case that the institution has completely remodeled many of the world's self-perceptions. The book does so entertainingly, if not convincingly, and is a lively collection of epigrammatic phrases (the Web is "'place-ial' but not spatial"; "on the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people"), as well as illustrations of these changes. There are intriguing assertions: that the Web is "broken on purpose" and that its many pockets of erroneous information and its available forums for disputing, say, manufacturers' hyperbole, let people feel more comfortable with their own inherent imperfections. At other times the book seems stale: it declares that the Web has disrupted long-held axioms about time, space, and knowledge retrieval and that it has dramatically rearranged notions of community and individuality. Weinberger's analysis, though occasionally facile and too relentlessly optimistic and overstated, is surely destined to be the subject of furious debate in chat rooms the cyber-world over. --H. O'Billovich for amazon.com

  2. What Price Fame? - Tyler Cowen [Amazon.com]

    See entry on Tyler Cowen

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