Striving for Anonymity
Linda Ronstadt had an interesting quote in a recent People magazine article. (Cover-to-cover, baby; I read that magazine with the same care I bring to Foucault.) When asked if she misses being a pop star, she answered, “I miss singing, but not performing. I don’t miss fame — it’s unnatural. I like having my anonymity.”
Fame is one of those things that people assume everyone wants, even though that’s not the case. It’s sort of like blog readership; people assume everyone wants a wide readership, and certainly there is enough advice floating around out there to support why people make that assumption. But there is something unnatural about your words reaching a wide audience; in speaking with people you would have otherwise never encountered. That goes for all celebrity, whether it’s reached through music as a pop star or through writing as a blogger.
I guess I know what I mean by unnatural, but I’d love to know what Ronstadt meant. Does she mean that fame taxes the system? That in an ideal world, favours and attention would be asked of and doled out to everyone on a fairly equal basis. But when fame enters the picture, too many favours are asked for a single person to deliver and too much attention is focused on a single person to feel good? Or does she think our national pastime of reading about celebrity’s lives is unnatural? (They’ll pry People magazine from my fingers when I’m cold and dead!)
With all of that, I have to admit that the recent Daniel Radcliffe article in the New York Times got under my skin and made me feel blue the rest of the day. What sort of life is that? Reading a day in his life made me feel trapped, and I’m not even living it. I don’t think anyone likes to think about how depleted we could become from fame. Most of the time when we talk about it, we only consider the advantages; the perks.
I guess I’m interested in this unnaturalness, mostly because for all the good points of blogging — bringing together people who would otherwise never meet, spreading ideas like wildfire, influencing another person’s life — there are also all the drawbacks of a person’s words reaching beyond their small community of family and friends; namely, bringing together people who would otherwise never meet, spreading ideas like wildfire, influencing another person’s life. Everything positive about blogging can be inverted into something negative about blogging when seen through a certain lens, especially when it comes to certain topics or online behaviour.
A case in point being the recent government shutdown. Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss when it comes to social media, and I wish I hadn’t read what some people think. A case in point being that gorgeous post by Blood Signs. If she hadn’t posted that, I would have never known her thoughts; been so moved by them. Without blogging, her words would have remained in her state, and I would have remained in mine. And the barrier of space would have been between us rather than a connection.