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Fame And Infamy Are Only A Step Away From Each Other

Updated on September 4, 2009

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A Lust For Fame

Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.

-Francis Bacon-

We have all had a moment when we debated whether or not to seek fame. From an early age, we see performers and politicians getting attention and special privileges. As a result, whether we will admit to it or not, a seed of envy begins to grow within us which causes us to wonder if we have what it takes to garner the same treatment. Yet, due to repeated failure, lack of support and the inability to keep fighting to beat the odds, some people quickly realize that fame is an impossibility and gracefully come to terms with it. Still, there are others who are unable to let go of a childhood dream and decide that, if they can’t be famous, they’ll be infamous. Fame and infamy are only a step away from each other after all.

On the other hand, there are many successful people who switch sides seemingly overnight. One day they are receiving accolades for a job well done and the next day they are having their face plastered on the front page of the paper for committing a heinous crime. Obviously, something went wrong that forced them to crack. To us average people, no matter what inspired it, this behavior is seen as foolish. In other words, how dare someone who has money, power and fame do something to jeopardize their spot at the top? Without giving them a chance to explain, we instead collectively shake our heads in dismay. People who are given the world shouldn’t throw it away and expect our sympathy.

In either case, I don’t believe the people in question have voiced preference to be infamous instead of famous. On the contrary I believe they chose fame and, unable to receive it under their own terms, took infamy as a door prize. While I realize that not all infamous people fit into these two categories I argue that, for the most part, they do. Had they been given the opportunity to positively surpass expectations instead of being held back and made to feel that their continued efforts would prove fruitless perhaps they wouldn’t have resorted to crime and other acts of evil. No one can say for sure and if they can it’s only after analyzing the aftermath.

Still, as stated previously, there are people who purposely chose a life of infamy. They see themselves as righteous individuals who commit reckless acts against the innocent as a means to save the world (if only the world in their mind) from destruction from a higher power or voices too numerous to name. Their minds are chemically imbalanced and their actions are inexcusable. Unfortunately, newspapers and other media outlets will use these rare cases as a means to deepen the stigma that mentally ill people and their families already shoulder all for the sake of sensationalism. By doing so, they give people who already deny themselves care out of fear of being ostracized by society another reason to steer clear of treatment. It is a vicious cycle.

No matter how you achieve it, both fame and infamy gets your face in the newspaper which can be abundantly alluring. The prospect of one day being famous fills the young and old with a rush of adrenaline and causes one to work harder at being the best. Yet, for some people, the thing they are best at is the one thing that could bring down our society. These people need to make it into history books and the nightmares of future generations. They fear being forgotten and will stop at nothing to make sure that doesn’t happen. As their eyes are so solidly locked on their goal, they care little of the lives they will negatively affect. This lust for fame is never-ending and, the more you think about it, the scarier it becomes.


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    • LowellWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      L.A. Walsh 

      9 years ago from Lowell, MA

      I believe I answered your initial request well. Your back story questions can only fully be answered by the person you were speaking with. You should ask them to elaborate. Thanks for reading!

    • aoiffe379 profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for a hub that explores the topic. Yet it seems like the tip of an iceberg.However, you highlighted some arguments worth pondering.


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